How to Read the Bible Backwards

20 Nov

Do you know anyone that wakes up in the morning thinking, “Today, I’m going to settle for less!”  Yeah, me neither.  And yet it happens everyday.  Why?  And how can we prevent ourselves from settling for less?

What if I said the answer comes from reading backwards?


Ma-Bible (Photo credit: rimabek)

One of the things I love to do in Bible reading is read backwards (no, not literally… but read a verse, then the one before it, etc..).  Why?

Because the solutions to life’s problems in the Bible are often listed in a cause and effect pattern.  Or said another way, cause and result.

It can be a good result (Rahab hid the spies because she feared God… result? Entire family spared!).  Or it can be a bad result (Moses struck the rock in anger… result?  No entry into the Promised Land for Moses!).

You know a result is coming when certain key words are used.  Here are some words that signify warning flags when they’re used: So… therefore… because… as a result… and maybe you can list others.  Why are these words important to me?

Because I’m better at seeing results (effects) than causes.

So when I find a result in Scripture that I can relate to, I’m pretty sure I can also find a cause somewhere in the story.  And if I can find a cause, I can try to imitate that “cause” in my life if the result is good, or I can try to eliminate that cause in my life if the result would be bad.

Let’s experiment in reading backwards.  I notice a result in Romans 1:25.

“Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents” (Rom 1:29–30 NLT)

Sound familiar?  I can see aspects of these things in my life.  But what caused it?  And is that something within my control?

“And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Rom 1:23 NLT)

So, it sounds like I’m worshipping the wrong thing.  Is that the cause?  Or can I trace it back even further?  Keep reading (backward!).

“Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.” (Rom 1:22 NLT)

Maybe it’s my pride… do I think I’m smarter than God?  Am I at the root cause yet?

“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.” (Rom 1:21 NLT)

Ah… there it is!  Not valuing God above all things and failing to give thanks starts a chain of events that leads to sin, greed, hate, envy, and the list goes on….

Or said simply, every day I fail to value God and give thanks, I’m settling for less.

Good thing there’s a whole day this week devoted to giving thanks in America.  Now if I could just make it a lifestyle!

If it’s been a while since you’ve been thankful to God, what’s holding you back?  Where else have you “read the Bible backwards?”  Join the conversation via the comments!


Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Group Discussion


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4 responses to “How to Read the Bible Backwards

  1. LubbyGirl

    November 20, 2012 at 7:54 am

    never thought of reading backwards to gain insight. now I need to give that a go myself!

    • billhogan77

      November 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

      Let me know if you uncover any great insights! It works best for me when something resonates as a result that I see in my life. Then I start reading backwards until I find the root cause (not the first cause).

      Can’t wait to see what insights you uncover!
      Be blessed!

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