One of my favorite things I did when my daughter was young, was to start a mother-daughter book club. We met once a week during the summer, discussing the chosen book for the week. Every meeting featured crafts, games, refreshments or a field trip. The club included many of the girls in her school class and their moms.
Now I wish I had made it at least partially, if not entirely, a Bible book club. We tend to forget that the Bible is actually sixty-six separate books put together in one volume. Some books like Ruth and Esther are basically one long true story, while other books have multiple true stories within them. There is even poetry and wisdom literature.
No, there are no worms in wormwood. Fig Newtons do not grow on trees and gall is actually made from a hibiscus type plant. Have you ever stopped and thought about how many stories in the Bible refer to some sort of plant? Do you really understand the significance of how and why grape vines are pruned? It could mean the difference in how you interpret all of those verses about us being pruned like grape vines.
This summer our church planted a garden. This was not your typical garden, although there were some familiar things in it. It was a Bible garden filled with a lot of the vegetation mentioned in the Bible.
I had a lot of fun this summer leading a Bible study for a group of teen girls. At the end of the summer, I asked what they wanted to study next. Their answer surprised me. They wanted to learn the “rest of the Bible stories”.
I realized after talking with them for a few minutes that we are missing a big part of spiritual training with our children. Parents who are trying to raise their children in a Bible based environment usually make sure their children learn all of the basic Bible stories. Our children are familiar with Adam, Noah, Moses and the major stories of the Bible. When they reach the older years though, they usually start more topical studies which may or may not involve Bible stories. But what about “the rest of the story”.
My small group Bible study has been reading a book about Jewish customs during Jesus’ lifetime on earth. I found it interesting that during this time period the Jewish people used every opportunity to discuss God’s words. In fact it was not unusual for a small group of people to break away during a wedding or other celebration to talk about the Torah or other teachings. This week we even learned that one of the main focal points of meals was to use them as an opportunity to teach their children about God, the stories of the Bible and the lessons to be learned from them.
I have grown to love the Jewish holidays over the last few years. My husband and I were teaching a class of boys in Sunday School who were famous for being “a handful”. I was trying to find material that was challenging, but would keep them active and fed. Learning about the Jewish holidays turned out to be the perfect topic.
As I studied the holidays to prepare my lessons, I became enthralled. I had no idea the Jewish holidays were often looking for the Messiah as part of their celebration. Many of the holidays aligned with events in the New Testament in ways I found amazing. The more I studied, the more I appreciated how intricate and detailed God’s plan was from the very beginning.