Updated: Jun 29
I am a big fan of reading the Bible. However, I'm not a big fan of the Bible reading plans I've seen. They either have you start at the beginning and reading straight through or have you jumping between various sections of the Bible. They also almost always have you read the Bible in a year and I think that is a bit much for most people. Too fast. I wrote about it before so I won't repeat what I said. See Reading the Bible.
I recently came across a Redemptive-Historical Bible Reading Plan and I'm like, "finally"! This reading plan won't have you read the entire Bible - just portions that connect the Old Testament to the New Testament.
Many years ago I took a class called Bible Basics and the teacher gave us this chart. This chart goes over the historical eras of the Bible and what it does is give you the overarching storyline of the Bible. Knowing the big picture of the Bible made a significant impact on my understanding as I was reading.
As a new Bible reader I could read books of the New Testament and understand what they said. But it wasn't until I read the Old Testament that when I went back and re-read a portion of the New Testament that I would have "aha" moments. I realized the Old Testament and the New Testament are connected and intertwined in a way I had never understood before.
Many people miss the connection.
My women's Bible study group has been together for years and we are very purposeful about what we have studied, learning valuable Bible study skills, and building on theological concepts. We have been working towards making the connections between the Old and the New. They have learned so much and I am so very proud of them. Last year we studied the first 18 chapters of Exodus and the book of Psalms. I asked them to read the Pentateuch over the summer. The Pentateuch is the first five books of the Old Testament - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And all of this is leading up to us studying Hebrews this Fall. And they are READY! Did you know the book of Hebrews contains eighty-six references to the Old Testament, traceable to one hundred Old Testament passages? Having just come off Exodus, Psalms, and the Pentateuch, I can't wait to see their understanding! Many of them have read Hebrews before. But this time they are going to go "AHA"!
Look at this page of Hebrews from my Bible. Peruse this page and you'll see there are some lofty theological concepts in Hebrews. I know when I read it the first time I had not read the Old Testament and Hebrews was just over my level of truly understanding. Each subsequent reading I picked up more. But this time I am going to be blown away with how I understand it. Why? Because I just read the Pentateuch again!
Look at this chart that lists some of the allusions, citations, and quotations to the Old Testament in the book of Hebrews. Look where they are from. They are mostly from the Psalms and the Pentateuch. [Source: Old Made New; Greg Lanier; copyright 2022; Appendix 1 - affiliate link]
Look back at that page of Hebrews. You have to understand what "sanctified" means. Our group knows what it means. Jesus is the "High Priest of our confession." I asked the ladies last year what was the purpose of the priests? And one of them piped right up and said, "They were the mediators between their sin and God." Bingo! The connection made is Jesus is the Mediator between our sin and God!
"There are roughly three hundred to four hundred (or more) quotations, citations and allusions to the Old Testament in the New Testament, depending on how you count." Jesus quoted the Old Testament. The apostles did too. If you haven't read the Old Testament, you aren't really going to make those connections. You just won't.
But if you have read the Old Testament you know there is a lot of historical narrative in it. Knowing the history of Israel serves a purpose in understanding the character of God, what He expects of His people, and redemptive history. But if you want to make the theological connections to Jesus, there are certain parts of the Old Testament you really need to read. And Dr. Lanier made this reading chart so that we could make those connections!
From Dr. Lanier In his book, Old Made New, page 31-32 (affiliate link):
To gain better familiarity with the Old Testament, I encourage you to take the following three actions:
Study the NT's summaries. Two speeches in Acts (7:1-53 and 13:16-25) provide digests of the high points of the OT, helping us trace the major movements and events.
Read the OT with the big picture in mind. I have prepared a Redemptive-Historical Bible Reading Plan that curates 137 OT chapters from the key turning points in Israel's history, matched with 63 NT chapters that reflect on those chapters. ... helping the reader focus on the big picture. You can download it at www.crossway.org/OldMadeNewReadingPlan.
Read up on biblical theology. ...
I truly believe it is a worthwhile endeavor to go through this Redemptive-Historical Bible Reading Plan whether you are new to Bible reading or a mature Christian.
Go to Old Made New: A Guide to the New Testament Use of the Old Testament and download the Redemptive-Historical Bible Reading Plan. To print it off is just 4 pages. Fold it up and put it in the cover of your Bible and work on it when you can. You won't be disappointed if you do.
This reading plan "curates the key chapters of the Old Testament that help frame the flow of redemptive history (how God has worked in history to bring about His plan of salvation)." "At the end, you will have a solid grounding in the entire message of the Bible, which can then help you revisit those 1,189 chapters afresh."
Redemptive history - understanding it will make a world of difference in your life.
(And a side note - PassiontoKnowMore is an affiliate with Christianbook.com and the book Old Made New is over $4 cheaper there than on many other sites. But you don't have to buy the book to download the reading plan.)