Sundays @ 10:00am at Dexter McCarty Middle School

GBC Bible Reading Plan Apr 28–May 4

GBC Blog (18)

Week 18, April 28–May 4: 1 Sam 8–27, Ps 57–62

  • Sun      4/28     1 Sam 8–10    
  • Mon     4/29     1 Sam 11–13   Psalm 57
  • Tue      4/30     1 Sam 14–16   Psalm 58
  • Wed     5/1       1 Sam 17–19   Psalm 59
  • Thu      5/2       1 Sam 20–22   Psalm 60
  • Fri        5/3       1 Sam 23–24   Psalm 61
  • Sat       5/4       1 Sam 25–27   Psalm 62

This week we continue our reading in 1 Samuel and Book two of the Psalms. As we read through 1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings, notice the prophets in these books. The kings often get the attention, but prophets like Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, and Elishah also play key roles in the story. In many cases, they offer a contrasting perspective and a theological critique of the kings and the Israelite people. These prophets are sometimes called the speaking prophets, while the prophets who have biblical books named after them—like, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Hosea—are referred to as the writing prophets. Later in the read thru, when we get to the books of the writing prophets, we will spend a bit more time considering the role of the prophet in OT Scriptures.


We will be spending the next several weeks in these historical narrative books of the OT. The books of Samuel and Kings tell the story from the time of the judges and then the first king in Israel all the way to the time when Israel and Judah are exiled from the Promised Land as punishment for their sin against the Lord. This is a good time to think about the different types or genres of literature in the Bible. We understand the concept of kinds of writing. We read different things differently. We don’t read a novel the same way we read a science book, and we’d be confused if we tried to read an instruction manual for a power tool as if it were a letter from a loved one. Different interpretive methods apply to different types of literature.

The same principle applies to biblical literature too. Scripture is made up of all kinds of writing. There’s narrative, poetry, prophetic writing, law, discourse, letters, and more. Each of these different literary genres has different features and should be read with those features in mind, at least generally. Later we’ll cover some basics of reading biblical poetry, but for now let’s think through some of the key elements of the narratives of the Bible.

There are four basic things to look for when reading the stories of the Bible, whether in the OT or the NT: Setting, Characters, Plot, and Patterns. The goal here isn’t to get too bogged down studying these things, but just to be aware of these features and practice noticing them as you’re reading along.

Setting – This has to do with the place and time in which the events of the story take place. Ask the questions, When? and Where? These details often seem insignificant, but they are not. Don’t feel like you need to look up every city or town mentioned in the narrative, but do notice the place names or the types of places that are mentioned. And when the author says something about the time of the events, it is also important and worth noticing.

Characters -  There are many characters mentioned in 1–2 Samuel and throughout the Bible. Some are more significant than others, and they all play different roles. But pay attention to how each is portrayed. Do they change or develop? Are we supposed to think of their actions and words as good or bad? Do they occupy key roles or offices, and if so, are they functioning in those roles as they should be? One thing unique about the Bible is that, in some sense, God is always the main character in the story. Sometimes he is working in obvious ways, and sometimes his activity is more subtle, behind the scenes. But he’s always involved and working providentially to accomplish his purposes.

Plot – Like almost all stories, the stories of the Bible typically have a discernable plotline. As events progress, some kind of conflict arises, a situation that presents a problem to the main character or characters. Tension builds until it reaches a climax, then the tension finds some kind of resolution, at least temporarily. Often the resolution comes about by a work of God. This typical plot sequence isn’t always followed exactly, but it is helpful to keep the general plot idea in mind as we read.

Patterns – Often, the stories in Scripture are shaped in such a way that recalls other biblical stories. When you’re reading and you notice something that sounds familiar or seems similar to something you have read before, pay attention to that. The biblical authors love these kinds of patterns, or echoes, and they are important to the message of the Bible. One of the benefits of cultivating the lifelong habit of regularly reading through the whole Bible is that the more we read it, the more we will notice these kinds of echoes naturally.

Keeping these things in mind will make reading more enjoyable as we see the beautiful literary design of the Bible. And it will also help us see more clearly the message the Lord has for us in his word. Again, the goal is not for everyone to become expert Bible scholars. Rather, we are simply taking seriously the notion that God has inspired the text of Scripture, and every detail that’s in there is in there for a reason. When we practice noticing these details, we are better able to understand what God, through the human authors, is trying to communicate. Then we can apply it faithfully to our lives, for his glory and for our good.