I have been taking a course through the Simeon Trust (www.simeontrust.org) called “First Principles” (of Bible Study). It sounds fundamental but it’s not just typical Bible study tips. These Bible teachers (including one of my favorites, Nancy Guthrie) share the most practical information (and at the risk of sounding like an infomercial, the courses are only $19!)
Anyway, one of the “first principles” is: “Every book of the Bible has a unique melodic line.” In other words, each book of the Bible makes a unique contribution to the overarching story of the Bible. It’s kind of like identifying the theme or main idea of the book, but then you try to state it in a way that identifies that book’s uniqueness in Scripture.
How do you use “melodic line” as you read Scripture?
- Come up with a provisional melodic line statement (after reading the book or skimming through, or after reading the beginning and ending sections of a book). You can adjust this later if it doesn’t seem to reflect the book accurately.
- As you read through the book, ask yourself how particular passages relate to that melodic line.
When you come across passages that you’re not quite sure how to interpret, attempting to relate the passage to the melodic line is one strategy to help yourself stay on track and out of the weeds.
So, with that in mind…
Old Testament readers have just finished Ezra and we’re nearly finished with Nehemiah. New Testament readers are working through the book of Acts.
How would you state the melodic line of each book? (Since we’ve just started Acts, try reading the beginning and end of Acts and coming up with a provisional melodic line.) Use this to check yourself with each day’s reading. If you have several days that don’t seem to fit, you may need to adjust your melodic line.