The Story


Not long ago one of the beloved members of my congregation came to me with a request.  In his nineties, he doesn’t quite remember things like he used to remember them.  (Neither do I, and I don’t have age to blame.)  So, I wasn’t surprised by his request.  He wanted another copy of a great little resource called “Know Your Bible” published by Barbour Publishing, 2008.  It’s a simple enough little book.  It outlines, just a page or two for each, all 66 books of the Bible.  A couple of years ago, I had made this book available to all the Dads in my congregation as an inexpensive Father’s Day gift.

So, I decided to not only get another copy of this little book for my dear old friend, but also get another twenty copies for anybody who would want one.

I’m happy to say that they were quickly snatched up by congregational members and visitors alike, of all ages, men and women, boys and girls.

It looks to me that a simple, “back to basics” approach to study and devotional reading is in order.

So, I plan to begin a new sermon series in my congregation Sunday – one I have been thinking about anyway – now that we have completed our Easter celebration.

It’s back to the beginning – of, well…everything, come to think of it.

I am going to be working through all 66 books of the Bible, step by step, and I will be writing blog posts along the way with some additional thoughts that I can’t fit in on Sunday morning.  I am going to trust that God’s Spirit will lead us all through a fresh look at some very old material.  God willing, it won’t be too dry or “familiar” so that hearers and readers “tune out” prematurely.

I’m pretty confidant that won’t happen.

Not because I am such a wonderful speaker or writer but simply because the material is that good.  After all, the stories of the Bible have been, metaphorically speaking,  on the “best seller list” for quite some time now – say 3,400 years or so.

I hope  you will join us on this journey – wherever it leads.




By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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