Introduction to Biblical Literature
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These are not necessarily the "15 Best Loved" of all 929 chapters into which the various documents in the Bible have been divided.
These 15 chapters may not be the "15 Most Well Known" chapters. One hesitates to even call them the "15 Most Significant" chapters.
However, these 15 chapters do contain key scriptural events and themes around which one can form a summary of the message of the Bible. At Southern Nazarene University, we think even a beginning student of the Bible should be somewhat familiar with all 15.
Key Old Testament chapters
- Genesis 1-3: Creation, Fall, first promise of a Redeemer
- "In the beginning"
- Genesis 12: Abraham's call, a giant step toward fulfilling the promise
- "Through you all peoples will be blessed" [ Was having Abraham move to the Promised Land a "strategic move" by God? ]
- Exodus 20: Giving of the Ten Commandments
- "I am the Lord your God"
- Joshua 24: The "line in the sand"
- "Choose you this day"
- Isaiah 53: The "suffering servant" passage that looks to the coming Messiah
- "The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all"
- Psalm 23: The Shepherd's Psalm
- "The Lord is my shepherd" [ Devotional thoughts on Psalm 23 ]
- Psalm 51: David's prayer for forgiveness and cleansing
- "Create in me a clean heart, O God"
- Proverbs 31: Ode to a virtuous, godly woman
- "Far more precious than jewels"
Key New Testament chapters
- Matthew 5-7: Sermon on the Mount [ Devotional thoughts ]
- "Blessed are you . . ."
- John 17: Jesus' High Priestly Prayer
- "Sanctify them" [ more info ]
- Acts 2: Holy Spirit's coming on Day of Pentecost
- "All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit"
- Acts 15: Jerusalem Council: Must one become a Jew to be a Christian?
- "He has made no distinction between them and us"
- 1 Corinthians 13: Love chapter
- "The greatest of these is love"
- Hebrews 11: Hall of fame: heroes of the faith
- "By faith . . ."
- Revelation 7: The Grand Finale
- "A great multitude that no man could count"
"Hear, O Israel."
"Hear, O Israel."
"But hear what? The Bible is hundreds upon hundreds of voices all calling at once out of the past and clamoring for our attention like barkers at a fair, like air-raid sirens, like a whole barnyard of cockcrows as the first long shafts of dawn fan out across the sky.
"Some of the voices are shouting, like Moses' voice, so all Israel, all the world, can hear. Some are so soft and halting that you can hardly hear them at all, like Job with ashes on his head and his heart broken or like old Simeon whispering, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace."1
"The prophets shrill out in their frustration, their rage, their holy hope and madness. The priests drone on and on about the dimensions and furniture of the Temple. The lawgivers spell out what to eat and what not to eat; and the historians list the kings, the battles, the tragic lessons of Israel's history.
"And somewhere in the midst of them all one particular voice speaks out. It is unlike any other voice because it speaks so directly to the deepest privacy and longing and weariness of each of us that there are times when the centuries are blown away like mist. It is as if we stand with no shelter of time at all between ourselves and the one who speaks our secret name.
"Come," the voice says. "Unto me. All ye. Every last one." — Frederick Buechner
from A Room Called Remember by Frederick Buechner. Quoted by Bob Benson in Disciplining for the Inner Life
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