Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

24 February 2009

Navigating around Kings and Chronicles

Back here I wrote about finishing up 2 Kings in my morning quiet time. Right now I am working my way through its companion books, 1 & 2 Chronicles. And I have to say that even though I love history, it has been pretty hard work. It is not an easy part of the Bible to read and trying to tackle it, bleary eyed at 6:30am after too many late nights is probably not helping my cause. But I am gradually getting through it.

I have a funny memory of an earlier struggle with this section of the Bible. About fifteen years ago I was studying an Introduction to the Bible course by correspondence through Moore College. At one point it was required that you read through 1 & 2 Kings – and preferably understand what was going on.

I remember spending an entire weekend – early Saturday morning until late Sunday afternoon when it was time to go to church – going through these two books trying to get my head around what was going on. At the time I was just learning how the Bible hangs together and I certainly didn't have the resources (in my head or on my bookshelf) that I now have at my disposal for Bible study, so I just went through it over and over again and gradually got a sense of what was going on.

Ironically I recall going to church that evening and even though we weren't doing this particular bit of the Bible at the time, our minister felt that whatever it was we were covering that evening (sorry Andrew – I don’t remember the exact detail of this particular sermon) necessitated a quick tour of the history of Israel in Biblical times, including a potted history of what took place in 1 & 2 Kings! I remember thinking with a degree of despair that I could have saved myself a lot of blood, sweat and tears if had just waited until 5pm on Sunday to sort it all out!! But of course there is always a benefit for putting in the hard yards.

1 & 2 Kings is tricky, as is 1 & 2 Chronicles! But it is such an important part of the Bible as it provides a significant chunk of Biblical history. It IS tricky. But it is also fascinating and well worth the effort. I have learned a few tricks to help navigate my way round these important but difficult books of the Bible. I'd like to share my four best tips with you over the next four posts.

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