Promise Box Syndrome

➡ Average Reading Time: 2 minutesWhen I was a kid, reading the Bible was reduced to the Promise Box just like the one on the right. My mom made sure that we picked a different color every day and read the promise. I still have that artifact today in my library to help me remember what not to do when reading Scripture. The directions on the box were:


This box contains 200 Precious Promises with accompanying appropriate bits of verse. These cards may be read at every meal, during social gatherings, in study groups, etc. Use these cards to memorize the rich portions of God’s Word.

Promise BoxNot only did the small cards have verses on them, but some only had “bits of verses” on them. They were all colored coded for no apparent reason except to look nice in the box.

We haven’t moved too far from that reading mentality. We still treat verses as the root way of reading, memorizing, and quoting the Bible. Even the “Read through the Bible in a Year” campaigns use a fragmented method. Usually, the reader is invited to read a passage from the First Testament and then a passage from the Second Testament. Our penchant to think that we can better order the interior of the books of the Bible is part of the curse of reductionism in Modernity. We may have come close to making “bible verses” our new idols and we worship at their feet as we affix them in different orders, usually to prove a point that we presuppose is correct.

We can correct this fashion of reading by reading the Bible in a way that gives prominence to the books of the Bible’s own structures.

Dr. Chris Smith, a contributing editor to The Books of the Bible™, and author of The Beauty Behind the Mask: Rediscovering the Books of the Bible, says, “It’s easy to forget that we’ve had the Bible for much longer without chapters and verses than we have had it with them. Chapters and verses make the Bible look as if the authors wrote numbered sentences and then gathered them into groups. We’ve become used to these things in our Bibles that were not originally there—the numbers, the divided books, and the added notes.” He adds, “Why force people to read past all this interference to find the text itself? Just present the books as they are-the poetry, the stories, the oracles of the prophets, all of it.” I have suggested in my book God’s EPIC Adventure that the antidote to reading the Bible in a fragmented way is reading it as a story.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.

Jesus Followers


There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.


(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)