To say that the Bible makes for a fantastic retirement companion would be an understatement. With all the richness, truth and variety available throughout the Word of God, it's a consistent source of hope, joy and peace for older adults who study it regularly. If you're in between devotional studies right now and wondering which book to delve back into next, here are a few ideas of some books you might consider revisiting alone or with neighbors in your assisted living community.
This option may seem a little too cliche or obvious, but if you've never truly taken the time to sit down and indulge in an in-depth study of Genesis, there's no better time than the present. As an adolescent or young adult, Genesis may seem monotonous and grueling at first glance; the revolving door of characters and lengthy genealogies may be unappealing to the youthful, impatient mind. However, Genesis ages like a fine wine along with you and is a treasure trove overflowing with history, inspiration and foreshadowing that can be easily overlooked upon your first few reads. It's truly full of surprises, and you're bound to catch a beautiful detail that eluded you previously.
One of the most beautiful aspects of Genesis — especially in light of the fact that it's the origin point through which the rest of God's Word and the story of salvation unfolds — is that it introduces you to God as a Creator God, indescribable and infinitely powerful beyond the reach of our simple words and ideas. The deeper you delve, the more you find. From the sublime idiosyncrasies of the Hebrew language from which the book is translated to the colorful depictions of early Mesopotamian civilization, Genesis presents you with a glimpse into man's relationship with God and condition before him.
Most biblical scholars maintain that each of the four gospels paints Jesus in a different light. Because Matthew's testimony is written from a predominantly Jewish perspective, it portrays Jesus as the Sovereign King, the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah and awaited for centuries. Meanwhile, Mark's depiction of Christ as the suffering servant illustrates him as a man of great sorrow who bore the heavy burden of sin for all mankind. Luke, a physician, presented Jesus as the Son of Man: compassionate, merciful, forgiving and, above all else, human.
Of the four gospels, however, perhaps none is more poetic right from the beginning than John. Through the eyes of John, you can finally experience Jesus as the great I AM in all his power and wisdom, the one and only Son of God. Through his interactions with everyday people (such as the Samaritan woman at the well), his healing of the afflicted and possessed and his constant struggle with stiff-necked Pharisees and Sadducees, you come to see Jesus in a whole new light as the Light. You see the totality of God's Word adorning flesh, walking among the people of Israel and Judah, sowing the seed of the Holy Spirit and the Truth of the new covenant wherever he and his disciples roam.
If you're a history buff, you may find revisiting the book of Daniel to be an absolute treat. Taking place during the Babylonian captivity following the fall of Judah's monarchy, King Nebuchadnezzar reigns supreme over the land. When he begins experiencing strange dreams that he feels may carry significance or deeper meaning, he becomes "anxious to understand" them (Daniel 2:3) and finds insight through Daniel, who is able to unravel the historical prophecies contained therein.
Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, rife with symbolism and imagery, illustrate the unfolding of history itself, weaving through empire after empire and conquest after conquest. Daniel touches on many topics, including the fall of Babylon, the subsequent rise and fall of Persia, the conquest of Alexander the Great and the blossoming of Greece and Rome as global superpowers. Stuffed from front to back with historical predictions and classic Bible stories like Daniel in the lion's den, the book of Daniel is a great option to consider revisiting in your older years.
Esther also takes place during the Babylonian captivity and centers around the convergent stories of Esther and Mordecai, their righteousness before God in the face of persecution and death, and their rise to political power and national respect because of their faithfulness. When the capricious and fickle Haman — right-hand man to King Ahasuerus — is caught in his own webs of deception and executed on the same gallows he had prepared to kill Mordecai on, you can feel the triumphant overcoming allotted to those who hold true and steadfast to their belief in the one true Lord.
Regardless of your age and how many years you've spent studying Scripture, there is always something new to find. Continuing to immerse yourself in the light of God's Word opens your eyes to lessons you may have missed previously and opens your heart and soul to the Holy Spirit more with each passing day.