Editor’s Note: We continue our series of blogs for those who are reading the Bible with us cover-to-cover this year. Interspersed with our thoughts on our daily reading, we want to provide some tips about reading the Bible in general. Today we are …

Exploring The Road Map Of The Old Testament!

When Melodee and I began to think about our 20th anniversary journey to Hawaii, one of the important issues was the need for a rental car.  We like to be able to travel and explore on our own.  However, since we had never been to Hawaii, there was some trepidation when it came to navigating on the Islands.

We were excited to find that on Oahu, there are only about 10 major routes on the island.  Once we had that framework in our heads, navigating these 10 routes made exploring many other things along the way easy.

In our journey through the Bible we want you to think of the Bible as two separate islands. The “Big Island” in our journey through the Bible is the Old Testament.  The “Small Island” in our journey is the New Testament.  And like every journey, we will need a map.

Major Old Testament Routes

Flying over the island of Oahu provided us with a bird’s eye view of all of the major landmarks.  It was easy to see the major routes or highways and freeways on the island as we descended.  The geography was such that these man-made ribbons criss-crossed and wrapped the island like a fancy Christmas present.  This made understanding how to travel on Oahu much easier.

As we travel through the Old Testament this year, we will stay on the major routes.  These major routes allow us to understand, follow and travel through the Old Testament with greater ease. They also provide us with the knowledge and understanding necessary to travel without getting lost.

For the moment, let’s understand these major routes. There are five major routes in the Old Testament. However, in order to understand the framework of the Old Testament, you simply need to master the first two major routes.

These first two major routes cover the entire Old Testament’s historical time line.  A good understanding of these two routes allows you the freedom to travel about the Old Testament without getting lost.

Following the Original Journey of the People of God

  • Route No. 1: Forming the first five books of the Bible. On this route we will explore approximately 2,300 years of the formation history for the nation of Israel.
  • Route No. 2: Taking a walk through the history of Israel. On this route we will explore approximately 1,000 years of Israel’s history. It will include the glory days of David and Solomon and the disaster days of Civil War and captivity.  It will end with a broken and weak remnant that is allowed to return to their conquered home in Israel. When we complete this route, we will have read the entire history of the Old Testament.

Experiencing the Original Journey with the People of God

The last three routes in the Old Testament fill in the story line provided above.  These three routes provide the culture, literature, and drama in a much more emotional method.  As you journey on each of these routes, your emotions are pulled in different directions.  Consider the following three routes.

  • Route No. 3: Enjoying the poetry of the Old Testament. On this route we will explore the imagination, hopes, and dreams of the major poets from Israel’s history. Taken from all along the journey of the Old Testament, these works are assembled into five books. Israel’s major poets work to express themselves, their relationships with God and man, their struggles and their triumphs. Truly this is the inspirational literature of the Bible.
  • Route No. 4: Listening to God’s warnings through his messengers. On this route we will explore how God tried to guide Israel on the easiest path he could provide for their lives during their history. God’s messengers here are his prophets.  Although they do not originate their messages, they did deliver them with passion for God. The primary focus of each of these messengers is the nation of Israel. Often those messages were not received well, and just as often the messenger is abused or killed for delivering the message of guidance from God. This may be where the phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger” found its earliest origins.
  • Route No. 5: Hearing God’s guidance “memos” to the disobedient. On this route we will explore how God tried to guide the countries of the Middle East on the easiest path he could provide for their history. We call these “memos” because of their length.  They are shorter warnings than those on Route No. 4, but their purpose is the same. Each memo is designed to provide clear directions back to the best possible path God has designed for them.

It is our hope that this background information helps a bit as you read on in the Bible. We will continue this series with our next installment on Sunday when we talk in detail about the “Old Testament Route Number 1.”

For daily insights into the passage we are reading together each day, you can follow Dr. Smith on Twitter and on Facebook.

You can obtain more help from the FREE Bible reading schedule on our resource page. In His Image is a daily devotional that also follows our reading schedule and expresses the Biblical truth: “God Created You to Love You.” You can find this resource on the side bar of our website.