I am thinking about designing a new study Bible. I see these popular Bibles in bookstores: men’s study Bibles, women’s study Bibles, second coming study Bibles and the list goes on.
I want to put together the Alphabetical Bible, one with all the books in alphabetical order. I have seen people struggling when our pastor says, “Turn in your Bibles to the fourth chapter of the book of Jonah, verse 2.”
I’ve watched people flipping from one end of the Bible to the other so fast that it created a slight breeze across the congregation. And if our pastor ever preaches a four-week series on the book of Jude, it will take most people five weeks to find it. I think sometimes it would help if he would have all of us just turn to the Index and look up the page number for a particular book.
I also think this Alphabetical Bible would be a help to those who are unfamiliar with the books of the Bible or studying it for the first time, like new believers (or certain deacons). It would start with Acts, Amos, 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles, and when you got to the J’s, you would find Jonah, Joshua and Jude. Move on down to the last two books, and you would find Zechariah and Zephaniah. The end is a good place for them, because we Baptists don’t usually know they’re in the Bible in the first place.
However, this new Bible would probably be outlawed for all children’s Bible Drills contests. If you’re not familiar with Bible drills, they were a normal part of church life when I was a child. To start the drill, all of the children lined up. The leader called out, “Attention,” and all of the children stood straight and stiff with their Bibles at their sides. The next command was “Present arms,” and the children brought the Bible up in front of them with one hand placed firmly on top of the book and the other on the bottom. At that point, the leader called out a book, chapter and verse and yelled, “Go!” The children frantically flipped through the Bible looking for the verse. The first one to find it stepped forward and read it aloud.
On second thought, I don’t know if my Alphabetical Bible would really be an advantage to this generation of children because they know their ABCs about as well as they do the books of the Bible. I have had college students do filing for me who had to sing the ABC song to get the file folders in the right place. I’m sure that singing or humming the ABC song at a Bible drill would be forbidden.
All kidding aside, your children need to learn the books of the Bible. Not only do they need to know the order of the books, but they also need to learn that the books of the Bible are grouped into categories: Law, Historical Books, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, the Gospels, Pauline Letters and more. Within each section, every book has its own order and purpose. The Bible was not just thrown together at random, but laid out with a divine plan and direction. And the more you know why a book was written, to whom it was written and who is its author, the more you will marvel at the holy Book that contains it.
The Bible was written over a 1,600-year period by approximately 40 men. The first words were penned in 1500 BC, and the last in 100 AD. The Bible was written on three different continents in three different languages on 1,000 different subjects, yet with one central theme: God’s love and redemption of mankind from sin by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a book that will set you free. “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’” (John 8:31, 32).
Maybe it is time for you to blow the dust off your own Bible and begin to rediscover for yourself the incredible Word of God. My young grandson, Titus, is now learning the ABC song. So far he has only gotten to the C part. And don’t blame the kid for being slow; it takes his poppy an hour and a half to watch “60 Minutes.” But as soon as Titus learns his ABCs, I want to make sure he learns:
Yes, that’s the book for me.
I stand alone on the Word of God