Can you name one defining moment in your life that you could share with someone you've just met and they would be able to understand who you are; your character, your history, your hopes and dreams? Probably not. Neither can we read one verse, or one chapter, or even one book of the Bible and get the whole picture of who God is; God's character, God's role in history, God's plan for the future...
A few weeks ago, the kid's Sunday School invited me for what was the equivalent of "Stump the Pastor" with a list of really great questions they had written. The kids asked me how reading the whole Bible would help them grow closer to God. First I told them I didn't think they needed to be reading every word right now, but should continue to read and learn throughout their lives. After all it took a seminary professor in an advanced Hebrew class to teach me how to read the "begats." I did tell them I think it's important that they read the whole story of the Bible which shows us the whole arc of God's role in the world from creation to fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.
For the last couple of weeks, I've been printing a list of passages that relate to the theme of our service that week. I've been careful to include passages from both testaments, trying to show that theme across the arc of the story.
So when you open your Bible, or go to your preferred Bible website, I hope you will consider the passage you are reading as part of a greater story, a greater message of God's love and care for the world.