Bible in a year: May - Articles about the Bible - Bible Society

Bible in a year: May

Fat kings, conquering kingdoms and comfort in the words of Jesus: it's all been going on for Tom during May. 

What have you been reading?

It feels like I’ve got through quite a lot in the last month. I’ve read the whole of Judges and Ruth, and I’m now stuck into 1 Samuel. I’ve also got started on John’s Gospel, as well as continuing on with Psalms and Proverbs. 

Five months in, I’ve completed 12 books in total and I’m in the middle of another four – so just another 40 to go! 

What were the best bits? 

It’s been great reading the stories of famous biblical heroes in the book of Judges. Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah are all mentioned later on in the Bible as men whose great faith helped them conquer kingdoms. 

Although there are question marks over aspects of their stories (see below!), their lives are also great encouragements and examples of how God can use you when you completely put your faith and trust in him. As it says in Hebrews 11.34, ‘although they were weak, they were given strength and power.’ 

What were the weirdest bits?  

The book of Judges is quite extreme on many levels. I was inspired by the faith of some of the key characters, but there were also bits that left me puzzled, amused and downright disturbed: 

  • The back and forth between Samson and Delilah over what makes him so strong is something I just can’t get my head around. Why did he let her keep tying him up? What right did she have to be angry at him for not giving away his secret? It’s just all very bizarre. 
  • The account of Ehud murdering King Eglon in Judges 3 is pretty gruesome, especially when King Eglon’s fat is described to have closed over the handle of the weapon. Either the weapon was very small or he was very large! 
  • The passage in Judges 11 is largely a story of incredible faith and victory, but it’s end is deeply troubling: Jephthah sacrificing his only child after returning home victorious from war. 

How have you applied what you're reading?

I’ve been finding it helpful to say the Psalms out loud recently. Because they’re so short it’s easy to skim over them. Saying them out loud helps me to take in more of what they’re saying and been a way for me to use them as prayers for my own life too. 

I’ve also found Jesus’ words in John 6.63 helpful: ‘The Spirit is the one who gives life! Human strength can do nothing.’ 

The little worries in life become obsolete in this context. At the end of the day, human strength doesn’t count for much. And in the context of Jesus and the context of eternity, our little worries in this life suddenly become less pressing. 

What's up next? 

Next up will be Acts in the New Testament, and 2 Samuel followed by Kings in the Old Testament section. 


Tom Newbold is Bible Society's Digital Fundraising Officer. 

Following a Bible in a year reading plan? Let us know how you're getting on in the comments section below. 

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