Bible Book Usage

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Scripture above touched my heart a couple of years ago after I had been blogging for about a year.  I had not written a lot of posts by that time, and since I like creating spreadsheets for every silly thing, why not make a spreadsheet for something that might be significant?

I took the Scripture at the beginning of my posts, usually one bit of Scripture, but sometimes 3-4 references.  I created a spreadsheet and I eventually color coded it to indicate how many chapters there were in each book of the Bible.  With maybe less than 200 Bible references at the time, I saw that without even thinking about it, I had quoted from more than half of the books of the Bible.  What I had quoted started out as an idea, and then I might ask what Scripture relates to that idea.  Okay, sometimes, I started out with the Scripture because that sparked several ideas.  It all depends on the origin of the idea for an essay.

At that point, I was determined that I would not force the issue, but I confess that I almost did so when I was down to two books of the Bible, Amos and Obadiah, having never quoted from either.  But on one fateful day, I searched for verses that went with a certain theme (which escapes me at the moment) and both popped up, and the words matched what I was wanting to write about.  I could have used other references, but I chose those.  It was a perfect fit, but my subconscious was saying that I had quoted from every book of the Bible, sorta, kinda cheating to squeeze in Amos and Obadiah – you know, proud and guilty at the same time.  That bothers me a bit, because still today, that is the only time that I have quoted from dear old Obadiah.  Shortest book in the old testament aside, there must be more there.  In fact, Obadiah is the only book in the Bible that I have only referenced once.  That may change when I Sunday school class reaches Obadiah around the end of the year.

As for each chapter of each book, I am far from getting that done.  I still want it to be “organic,” what I need for that day opposed to trying to complete some artificial goal.  But then again, if my present series on the Latter Epistles expands to include all of Scripture, I may, if I live long enough, quote every verse of the Bible.  That just does not seem fair, yet the case for 1 Timothy 1.

But looking at the Gospels, there is only one chapter in the four Gospels that I have never used, Luke 13.  I want to fix that tomorrow, or at least soon.  This past Sunday, we had just finished (at the time that I wrote this) the book of Hosea.  It had taken the class nearly a year, but there were circumstances.  Our Sunday school teacher was one of those who wanted everything to be read.  If a study guide had ten verses in the footnotes that related to a single verse in what we were studying, you could count on him to have someone read every one of those other verses.  But then he got sick and I took over, using his technique, not wanting to forge forward too quickly.  There was hope of him returning.  Then the COVID lockdown shut down Sunday school and a few weeks later our beloved Sunday school teacher passed away from Hodgkins Lymphoma, from being a little sick to being gone in seemingly no time at all.  The lockdown only lifted partially in July and Sunday school was not encouraged until mid-September.  Thus, what we started in mid-January, the minor prophets and specifically, Hosea, we finished in October, and I sped up over the past month or it would have taken a month or more longer to finish.

Why bring that up, as it relates to Luke 13?  At the end of Luke 13, Jesus laments about Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets.  As we were finishing Hosea, one person in the class said that they were tired of the minor prophets, as if they were ready to kill a prophet or at least kill the idea of “Repent for the end is near!”  They recanted later on, but I was thinking of the Luke 13 Scripture and I did not have the Scripture at my fingertips.  I knew it was somewhere in the Bible about how the people of Israel and Judah killed the prophets.  Then I read someone else’s post recently of how we, in our modern society, especially in Washington, DC, would lustily kill the prophets if they returned today.

So, within a couple of days, I will have quoted from every chapter of the four Gospels.

This is not a brag.  This is not a humble brag.  This is a testament to the truth of the Scripture above.  The Apostle Paul may not have considered his letter to Timothy as being Scripture.  He was thinking more of the Old Testament Scripture.  Even then, I have wondered what great Biblical truths can come from the first ten chapters of 1 Chronicles, ten chapters of genealogy, page upon page of fathers and sons.  Even so, several books were spawned from one obscure verse in 1 Chronicles 4, something about an obscure character named Jabez.

If I did not think of tracking Bible usage until now, I would have to catalogue 1300 posts.  I simply would shrug my shoulders and hope I had used the right Scripture and that Paul was right about all Scripture being useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.  But I think that truth is why I got a little nudge early on, so that I could share this concept, to show the truth within the Truth.  I will continue to log in the Scriptures as I use them.  Maybe one day reporting having used every chapter of every book.

The photo above shows the New Testament.  You can see that Matthew and John are heavily used books, but the Matthew references may explain why I have not gotten Luke 13 covered, since the same stories in Luke 13 have been copied from Matthew and Mark.  Overall, I quote from the New Testament more often than the Old Testament, but even that has evened out in the past year.

The Bible is God-breathed and useful for instruction.  And the only way to be sure of hearing God’s voice is to have Jesus and the Holy Spirit within us, and to continue reading the Bible – which is God-breathed – for as long as WE have breath.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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