My Boy Scout leader was a World War II veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient named Billy Meharg. He would tell us a long story and then say, “I’ve said all that, to say this.” Allow me to borrow the idea. To get to today’s article, the groundwork of the Bible story had to be laid. Now that we have four lessons of preparation behind us, we finally get down to what I wanted to say in the first place.
The “Landmarks of the Bible” system of navigating the Scriptures is a personal method I have and do find helpful as a way of finding specific passages in God’s word. I struggle to remember dates, numbers, and Bible verses. When I began to take my personal Bible knowledge seriously, I found it a struggle to simply remember important sections by book, chapter, and verse. In self-defense, I came up with a way to find things using the landmarks of important passages as guides to find other things.
After giving an example of this technique, I was asked to write it all down. This bulletin (and tonight’s sermon) is my attempt. So, let’s start with a few of the most important stories in Scripture
Landmarks Of The Bible:
God’s Three Promises to Abraham Genesis 12
The Ten Commandments Exodus 20 (Deuteronomy 5)
An OT Prophecy of Jesus Isaiah 53 (Psalm 22)
The Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5-7
The First Gospel Sermon Acts 2
Jesus’ Second Coming I Thessalonians 4 (II Peter 3)
I Samuel = Saul as king;
II Samuel = David as king
I Kings = Solomon as king, the kingdom divides
II Kings = Decent into Assyrian/Babylonian captivity
The Last Three Chapters Tip: The last three chapters of the first three gospels contain, the Lord’s Supper, Jesus’ Crucifixion, and his Resurrection. For example: Mark 14 = LS; Mark 15 = Christ’s crucifixion; Mark 16 = Jesus is resurrected.
Here is how this works. If I know Abraham is in chapter 12 of Genesis, where is Noah? I know he’s before Abraham and after Adam and Eve. So if I open my Bible between chapter three and twelve, guess what I find in six-to-nine? Yep, Noah. Well, what about Joseph and his coat of many colors? I know Joseph is after Isaac and Jacob, and before Israel is in Egypt. So before Exodus and after Genesis 12…sure enough, there’s Joseph in Genesis chapter 37.
I know Moses did not enter Canaan, so the book of Joshua must detail the conquest of the promised land. Where can I find the story of Israel and Judah’s captivity? I know to look in II Kings. I you think about it, this has to be toward the end. Sure enough II Kings 17 and 25.
In the New Testament, the Sermon on the Mount marks the start of Jesus’ ministry. So where on earth would I find a story about Jesus’ birth or John the Baptist? Before Matthew chapter five is the answer. Now I have narrowed Matthew down from 28 to 17 chapters. It becomes easier to find, Jesus naming the twelve apostles (ch10); the Transfiguration (ch17), and Jesus’ triumphant entry to Jerusalem (ch21) because I know a couple of landmarks.
Is this a perfect way to learn God’s word? Nope. There is no substitute for time spent reading the Bible. That is how you come to learn to know the story in the first place! But it helps me and I hope it is of service to you. May God bless our reading of his word!
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