How the Bible Is Structured

  • March 23, 2019
Saturday 23

Psalm 119:89-96

One of the reasons we sometimes fail to understand the Bible is because we skip around as we read it. The Bible has an organized structure, and all the parts fit together as a whole. By reading through it systematically, we’ll see God’s plan of redemption clearly revealed in an orderly fashion.

The Plan. In Genesis 1 and 2, the Lord created the heavens and earth and all that fills them, but His plan of redemption through the death of His Son was already in place before creation (1 Peter 1:18-21). 

The Need. In Genesis 3, sin entered the world, but God sacrificed an animal to cover the sinners’ shame and promised to send a Redeemer. 

Preparation. God eventually chose the nation Israel, through whom He proclaimed Himself as the one true God and brought the Messiah into the world.

Redemption. The Gospels document how Jesus came as the Messiah, died as God’s sacrifice for man’s sin, was resurrected, and ascended to heaven.

Proclamation. The book of Acts tells of the growth of the church through the spread of the gospel.

Explanation. God inspired the apostles to write letters to the churches regarding the faith and instructions for spiritual growth.

Completion. The book of Revelation reveals Christ’s future kingdom, in which His followers join Him eternally in a new heaven and a new earth.

Even though God’s Word is organized in sections, do not forget that it functions as a whole. Once you understand the Bible’s outline, you can see how all the diverse elements connect to make one story of redemption.

Bible in One Year: 1 Samuel 1-3

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89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.

90 Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands.

91 They stand this day according to Your ordinances, For all things are Your servants.

92 If Your law had not been my delight, Then I would have perished in my affliction.

93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have revived me.

94 I am Yours, save me; For I have sought Your precepts.

95 The wicked wait for me to destroy me; I shall diligently consider Your testimonies.

96 I have seen a limit to all perfection; Your commandment is exceedingly broad.

18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,

19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Indeed, has God said, `You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"

2 The woman said to the serpent, From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'"

4 The serpent said to the woman, You surely will not die!

5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, Where are you?"

10 He said, I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself."

11 And He said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"

12 The man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, What is this you have done?" And the woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

14 The LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;

15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

16 To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."

17 Then to Adam He said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, `You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.

18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;

19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."

20 Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

22 Then the LORD God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"--

23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.

24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

1 Now there was a certain man from Ramathaim-zophim from the hill country of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite.

2 He had two wives: the name of one was Hannah and the name of the other Peninnah; and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

3 Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests to the LORD there.

4 When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters;

5 but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb.

6 Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.

7 It happened year after year, as often as she went up to the house of the LORD, she would provoke her; so she wept and would not eat.

8 Then Elkanah her husband said to her, Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?"

9 Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.

10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.

11 She made a vow and said, O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."

12 Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth.

13 As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk.

14 Then Eli said to her, How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you."

15 But Hannah replied, No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD.

16 Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation."

17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace; and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of Him."

18 She said, Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

19 Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.

20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD."

21 Then the man Elkanah went up with all his household to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and pay his vow.

22 But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD and stay there forever."

23 Elkanah her husband said to her, Do what seems best to you. Remain until you have weaned him; only may the LORD confirm His word." So the woman remained and nursed her son until she weaned him.

24 Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with a three-year-old bull and one ephah of flour and a jug of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh, although the child was young.

25 Then they slaughtered the bull, and brought the boy to Eli.

26 She said, Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD.

27 For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.

28 So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.

1 Then Hannah prayed and said, My heart exults in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD, My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

2 There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.

3 Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.

4 The bows of the mighty are shattered, But the feeble gird on strength.

5 Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, But those who were hungry cease to hunger. Even the barren gives birth to seven, But she who has many children languishes.

6 The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

7 The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.

8 He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, And He set the world on them.

9 He keeps the feet of His godly ones, But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; For not by might shall a man prevail.

10 Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed."

11 Then Elkanah went to his home at Ramah. But the boy ministered to the LORD before Eli the priest.

12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the LORD

13 and the custom of the priests with the people. When any man was offering a sacrifice, the priest's servant would come while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand.

14 Then he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. Thus they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there.

15 Also, before they burned the fat, the priest's servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, Give the priest meat for roasting, as he will not take boiled meat from you, only raw."

16 If the man said to him, They must surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as you desire," then he would say, No, but you shall give it to me now; and if not, I will take it by force."

17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD.

18 Now Samuel was ministering before the LORD, as a boy wearing a linen ephod.

19 And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, May the LORD give you children from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD." And they went to their own home.

21 The LORD visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the LORD.

22 Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

23 He said to them, Why do you do such things, the evil things that I hear from all these people?

24 No, my sons; for the report is not good which I hear the LORD'S people circulating.

25 If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?" But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for the LORD desired to put them to death.

26 Now the boy Samuel was growing in stature and in favor both with the LORD and with men.

27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, Thus says the LORD, `Did I not indeed reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh's house?

28 Did I not choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My priests, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to carry an ephod before Me; and did I not give to the house of your father all the fire offerings of the sons of Israel?

29 Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?'

30 Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, `I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever'; but now the LORD declares, `Far be it from Me--for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.

31 Behold, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father's house so that there will not be an old man in your house.

32 You will see the distress of My dwelling, in spite of all the good that I do for Israel; and an old man will not be in your house forever.

33 Yet I will not cut off every man of yours from My altar so that your eyes will fail from weeping and your soul grieve, and all the increase of your house will die in the prime of life.

34 This will be the sign to you which will come concerning your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas: on the same day both of them will die.

35 But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed always.

36 Everyone who is left in your house will come and bow down to him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread and say, Please assign me to one of the priest's offices so that I may eat a piece of bread."'"

1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent.

2 It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well),

3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was,

4 that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, Here I am."

5 Then he ran to Eli and said, Here I am, for you called me." But he said, I did not call, lie down again." So he went and lay down.

6 The LORD called yet again, Samuel!" So Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, Here I am, for you called me." But he answered, I did not call, my son, lie down again."

7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him.

8 So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, Here I am, for you called me." Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy.

9 And Eli said to Samuel, Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, `Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10 Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, Speak, for Your servant is listening."

11 The LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.

12 In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end.

13 For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them.

14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever."

15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. But Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli.

16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, Samuel, my son." And he said, Here I am."

17 He said, What is the word that He spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. May God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the words that He spoke to you."

18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD; let Him do what seems good to Him."

19 Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail.

20 All Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD.

21 And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.

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Publish Date March 23, 2019
How the Bible Is Structured

Recognizing the big picture of the biblical narrative is more beneficial than a piecemeal approach to Scripture.

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