On May 11, 2007, I sat down to do my regular Bible reading that morning, when something “coincidental” happened. For some period of time, I had been having the thought that I should probably read through John’s Gospel again, but I simply had not yet done so. But that morning, when I opened my Bible, it opened to the first page of Johns Gospel. Since I didn’t have anything else planned for that day, I decided to just go ahead and read the entire book as I’d been intending to do anyway, even though it’s longer than I d usually read in a sitting. I had no other reason for doing what I did then that.
The next morning then when I opened my Bible, I had no reason to expect it to open to the first page of Acts, but it did. Thinking something like “Wow! First pages two days in a row,” I sat there and read the whole Book of Acts.
On the third morning, my Bible opened to a first page again, this time in the Gospel of Mark. The “coincidence” seemed rather funny, but also a little unnerving. So I thought that maybe I had better read the entire book of Mark, so that’s what I did. On the fourth morning, I found myself opening my Bible to the first page of Luke. So I sat there and read all of Luke’s Gospel, also.
This streak of opening my Bible to the first page of books was so remarkable that I first told my husband and then later my cell group that evening. Both times I smiled as I told them my story about what had been happening.
But after our cell group had gone home that night, I was once more surprised. For when I sat down on our sofa and picked up my Bible, I then opened it to see the first page of Ephesians. After a few moments of unclear thinking, I shouted to my husband who was a room away, a statement that must undoubtedly be the greatest understatement that I’ve ever made. It went like this: “God must be trying to tell me something!” But even after I sat and read all of Ephesians, I still couldn’t have been too clear-headed about the “message” that I wasn’t getting.
Right now, I couldn’t even begin to tell you about whatever I thought that I knew that evening. But what I can tell you, without any doubt, is this: I knew a whole lot less that night than I ever had any right to think that I knew in the first place.
The next morning my husband was still sleeping when I awakened. So I quietly got out of bed, went downstairs, and poured myself a glass of orange juice. Then going over to sit on the sofa, I never gave a thought to what it was T did next. I reached down with one hand and flipped open my Bible that I had left sitting on the ottoman after I had read Ephesians. As I saw it fall open to the first page of Ezekiel, I heard myself exclaim two words quite loudly in a house that was otherwise totally quiet. “Oh, no!” were the only words I could say.
At that moment, any and all humor in the situation completely escaped me. What remained was an awesome, reverential fear of God, as well as a healthy respect for His Word. It became very clear to me in that moment that I knew very little about either One. I did, though, know one thing with certainty: Right there in our living room, God Himself was interacting with me.
Immediately I stood up and distanced myself from my Bible, for I realized the power of God that is in every word that God Himself had put into the Bible. For most of that day, I looked at my Bible from across the room every time that I passed by, aware that I was afraid to touch it. But eventually that day, in realizing that I needed to read al of Ezekiel before I went to bed that night, I worked up the courage to dare to pick up my Bible again. But as I sat down to read, I knew that I was reading from a different perspective. No longer was I the one whose hand was opening my Bible, but the Hand of God that was doing it. If I ever had any illusions about being in control of any situation in this world, I didn’t then. God is the Head, and I am the tail. He has the ability to control everything in the world He created, and I didn’t doubt it one bit.
I need to verify for the reader that there is nothing about the way that my Bible is structured or put together which causes it to have a tendency to open to the first pages of the books that are in it. I have been using this Bible since 1999 when my husband gave it to me as a gift that Christmas. It did not happen prior to this event, nor can I make it happen that way now. If you are mathematically inclined, there are 1,939 numbered pages in my Bible, plus more than 130 additional pages in the concordance, etc. You do the math. That is one humongous “coincidence.”
The so-called “coincidences” continued to grow even greater, though, as God continued to open my Bible to the first pages of the books that are in it thirty-nine successive times. Thirty-nine! Though I had no idea at the time about why God was doing this, I was thrilled and even comforted in some ways while it lasted. I was also a little disappointed when it eventually ceased. By that time, I was suspecting that the count might go to forty—a common Biblical Hebrew number. But no matter how many times I recounted, the number that I came up with was still thirty-nine. Only later did I remember that Jesus supposedly took thirty-nine stripes on his body for me, to free me from the consequences of sin.
After I’d then finished the thirty-ninth reading, I didn’t know what to do next. So I started back at the Bible’s beginning and read straight through, from front to back, each of the books that hadn’t been included in those thirty-nine readings. But since one of those thirty-nine Bible openings had taken me straight to the New Testament’s title page, I could only conclude that I was to read all of the books in the New Testament before I moved on; and that’s what I did. In the end, the amount of reading I’d done came to reading the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice.
But in addition to those Bible readings that I was doing alone at home, I was also participating in a women’s Bible study that was reading one book of the New Testament each week. Then, when the study group decided to break for the month of December, I decided to use that time to finish reading the New Testament books, that we hadn’t read yet in the study. That means that in just seven months, I had read the Old Testament once and the New Testament three times. Never think even for a moment that you can’t read through the Bible in a year. It’s more than a doable goal.
If you are wondering what God’s purpose might have been in doing this, I am going to ask you to hold your thoughts until the end of the next chapter. Then you will have an opportunity to personally see what I saw.
Beyond that, I know with certainty that I am forever changed by my time that has been spent with God in His Word. What I have been most freely given in my acceptance of God’s Truth is eternal fellowship with God Himself— the three persons of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Who could ask for anything more than that?
An ordered listing of the completed readings of the Bible’s books.
|1. John||14. 2 Timothy||27. Zechariah|
|2. Acts||15. New Testament||28. 2 John|
|3. Mark||16. 1 Timothy||29. Thessalonians|
|4. Luke||17. Romans||30. 1 Timothy|
|5. Ephesians||18. Malachi||31. Deuteronomy|
|6. Ezekiel||19. Revelation||32. Judges|
|7. Haggai||20. Jude||33. 2 Kings|
|8. Jeremiah||21. Genesis||34. Haggai|
|9. Nahum||22. Song of Songs||35. 2 John|
|10. Jonah||23. Leviticus||36. Proverbs|
|11. Obadiah||24. Numbers||37. Jeremiah|
|12. Haggai||25. Mark||38. Haggai *|
|13. Ephesians||26. Joel||39. 2 John|
*To be as accurate as possible, a particular situation regarding the Book of Haggai arose during the readings listed above. My Bible had opened so many times to the Book of Haggai that one day I felt led by God to stop recording those readings. Even after the thirty-nine Bible readings had concluded, my Bible was still regularly being opened to the book of Haggai. I estimated that I had read Haggi at least 20 times. At first, I checked to see if any of the dates in Haggai were of any special significance, but I couldn’t find any indication that that might be the case. So then I prayed on a more personal level to see if it might actually be about my husband and I building a new home, which we were contemplating doing at the time. But fhat didn’t seem to be the case either. So as I continued to reread Haggai, I continued to pray for personal revelation. Was the rebuilding of the Temple about the universal church or my local church? Neither, as it turned out. While the emphasis in Haggai is on the rebuilding of God’s temple, the rebuilding of our individual temples (our bodies) is what God wants to be restored in His wholeness, and He was telling me that I needed to start doing so immediately. After that, my Bible immediately stopped opening to the first page of Haggai. Read Haggai and pray about it. See what God says to you.
A listing of the final 22 Bible books that were read after
“The Openings” stopped.
|1. Exodus||9. Ezra||16. Lamentations|
|2. Joshua||10. Nehemiah||17. Daniel|
|3. Ruth||11. Esther||18. Hosea|
|4.. 1 Samuel||12. Job||19. Amos|
|5. 2 Samuel||13. Psalms||20. Micah|
|6. 1 Kings||14. Ecclesiastes||21. Habakkuk|
|7. 1 Chronicles||15. Isaiah||22. Zephaniah|
|8. 2 Chronicles|