I have a passion for God’s people to know God’s Word. In short, it’s a passion for biblical literacy. That’s not my term; you see it used often. I define it as –
A biblically literate person is able to apply the skills of language, literature, and logic to passages of the Bible, comparing one with another, so that the reader is able to accurately determine the meaning of a passage and to grasp its place in the greater story that God is telling.25 Bible Passages You Should Know, Mark Knox
There are many articles, books, and tools that can help the believer better understand the Bible. David Mathis has written an excellent one on DesiringGod.org. He’s said it so well. Read it. Share it.
I am writing a book, 25 Bible Passages You Should Know. Read about it here.
I’m writing a book.
Yeah, I know; I’m nuts. There are a million reasons why that’s a fool’s errand. But there are a few compelling reasons to give it a go. One is my passion.
I have a passion for the Bible, and particularly that God’s people know it. There is so much error about these days, and it moves so quickly. God’s people are confused, undiscerning. Apollos was “mighty in the Scriptures.” (Acts 18:24) Many today are not.
A number of years ago, I began a list to identify what I thought were the 100 Most Important Passages in the Bible. I’m pretty sure the list is incomplete, but it got me thinking on this theme. If I had to boil down the Bible to its most important parts, what are they?
Now, I know that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16) But that’s not to say that we couldn’t point someone to some of the key passages to begin our understanding. Whether it’s the “Romans Road” of the Gospel, or even a solitary verse like John 3:16, we make choices all the time to decide what to study and teach.
So, the idea for the book, 25 Bible Passages You Should Know, was born.
As I begin to work on this book (and hope to complete by the end of 2020), I want to explain some of my thoughts at the outset.
- This book is for the purpose of biblical literacy.
As I said earlier, my passion is for God’s people to know God’s Word, and many don’t. So the focus is going to be more on the content of the Bible than on the application of the Bible. Besides, I believe the better the knowledge of the content, the better the application. Too much writing in popular Christian literature today leads with application. We’ve become a Church full of Christian “How-to” books. While there will be practical implications, this is not a “How-to” manual.
- This is not a book of “favorite passages.”
One of my friends with whom I shared my idea said, “You better put in Isaiah 1; that’s my favorite passage in the Bible!” Well, that’s a great passage, but it’s probably not going to make the cut. I told my friend, maybe volume 2. There are many passages in the Bible that are personal favorites, but in choosing passages, I turned my eye toward those that would give the reader a strong historical and theological framework to understand the message of the whole.
Some of your favorites won’t be there. Some of mine won’t as well. Sorry, Hebrews 12.
- The process of selecting only 25 passages is tougher than I imagined.
Initially, I thought I might complete my mind game from earlier and include 100 passages. But as I imagined how deep I might go with each passage, 100 was just too many. I thought about 13, which is handy for teaching curricula, since 13 weeks constitutes a quarter, and this might fit well for church groups to use as a study tool. I eventually settled on just over 2 dozen as a sweet spot.
My planning board has undergone numerous changes as I move passages from the Maybe Pile or onto the Cutting Room Floor. Just yesterday, I realized that I’d omitted an extremely important passage. Even as I write, the selections will probably change.
I believe in the end I will be moderately satisfied. If Chris Bruno can write a book, The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses (2015, Crossway), I can do this.
- I am targeting this book to both new and long-time believers.
This is not a scholarly text. There will be theology, and I’m not avoiding some of the tough questions. But in my ministry with believers, I’ve found many who simply don’t have any grasp on the story and structure of the Bible. Therefore, they lack the ability to study the Word for themselves and are especially susceptible to false teaching.
Therefore, I’m targeting my book to this kind of reader. I hope that a new Christian will be able to absorb the writing without feeling overwhelmed. And I hope that a saint further along in the process will be challenged to thinking more deeply about the Gospel and the story of Jesus.
I anticipate very little analysis of original languages, only so much as is necessary. I won’t avoid theological discussion, but it won’t be every little nuance or questions.
I invite your prayers as I pursue this. I need discipline to write when I’m tired or have other things I want to do. I need wisdom to know what to say and what not to say.
As I finish here, I want your feedback. What passage(s) would you include? It will be interesting to see if yours match mine.