One night, I perused Netflix, searching for a comedy. In the mood to laugh, I wanted something light-hearted and fun. I selected a movie from the section labeled “Comedies,” and began to watch. Fast forward about an hour—I was crying on my couch. This “comedy” elicited zero laughs from me, only tears. The plot featured the death of a main character and the entire movie revolved around the other characters learning how great their friend was in life. It wouldn’t even be considered a Shakespearean comedy!
I say all of that to emphasize that genre is important. The movie I watched wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t a comedy. I would have watched it differently if the entire time I expected to cry rather than laugh. We pick out movies based on genre, and the genre we expect shapes our experiences. The same is true for what we read. We read tweets in a different way than we read a Russian novel. When picking out a new book, we may look up the author to see what else he or she has written. We know a book on food from a professional chef will read differently than one from someone who prefers to grab takeout.
This year, when we (LifeWay Women) were deciding a theme for our year here on the blog, we wanted to start with God’s Word. We believe God’s Word is alive and active. We believe through His Word, God teaches us and shapes us into His image. We believe we can best get to know who God is by reading what He inspired to be written out in the pages of Scripture. We believe it is important to know His Word, read His Word, apply His Word, and share His Word.
We wanted to focus in a little more as a plan for 2018. The most important thing we want to do is to help women get in the Bible, to know His Word. So we decided to read the Bible together in genres. (And now the Netflix rant is starting to make sense.) We have divided the Bible up into 10 sections (or genres). The Bible divides fairly neatly into those sections—you may already be familiar with these from the posters hanging in your Sunday School class as a kid.
The divisions are: Law, History, Poetry/Wisdom, Minor Prophets, Major Prophets, Gospels, Acts, Paul’s Letters to the Churches and Friends, General Letters, Prophecy.
We decided to read the Bible in these divisions because we want to renew our biblical literacy—a term that simply means that we want to know more about the Bible as a whole. Sometimes when we read a verse here and a verse there, out of its context, we forget the overarching narrative of the Bible. We forget how one verse fits into the themes of its chapter, its book, its testament, and God’s story as a whole. We’re confused by what the passage says. We apply a verse incorrectly because we fail to look at the context in which it was written. In other words, we sit down to watch a comedy and find ourselves crying.
We will read selections from those sections each month, starting in February. This month, we’re going to read about His Word and the life planted in it in Psalm 119 (you can find the reading plan for this month below). Our friends at B&H with the Bibles team have helped us with this, and we’re so excited to dive into God’s Word together with you!
Along with our reading plans, we’ll do our best to introduce the genre or section each month and provide some insight from someone reading through that section. You’ll hopefully see the division reflected in many of our posts here. We hope that helps further our knowledge of the books we’re studying and continues to emphasize the importance of Scripture.
Before we get to the reading plan, we did want to point you to some resources that we have found helpful in reading the Bible this way.
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
Read the Bible for Life by George H. Guthrie
Open Your Bible by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon Fee
CSB Study Bible
She Reads Truth Bible
Okay, here is our January reading plan. Here’s a PDF of the January Reading Plan, in case you want to print it.
We would love to hear what you’re learning as we read through His Word together. Share on social media with the hashtag #KnowHisWord18, so we can learn together!
Bonus! Here’s a PDF download of the books of the Bible separated into sections. And here’s a couple of little images for Instagram, if you’d like to share!