Ever feeling the itch to read the Word, but don’t know where in the great big beautiful Book to start? Ever get a little suspicious of yourself favoring certain parts of the Bible while avoiding others and want to take your own will out of the equation to make room for His? That’s been me more than once, especially when in between my cover-to-cover reading cycles, so being the nerdy solitaire player that I am, I whipped up this little card game version of “casting lots” to help me more randomly and objectively select a Scripture reading when feeling the need to.
Step 1: making/designing the cards
a standard 52 card deck with jokers is used
a book of the Bible is written on the top and another is written on the bottom, so that whichever one is not upside down when you draw the card is the one you will read from. the list below shows how I marked my books and pictures you can paste on your cards for more relevant decoration:
joker 1 — Job/Revelation/open book, joker 2 — Joshua/Proverbs/trumpet, ace of diamonds — Daniel/Ezekiel/skull, two of diamonds — Baruch/Zephaniah/music notes, three of diamonds — Obadiah/Jude/angel, four of diamonds — 1 John/Colossians/church, five of diamonds — 1 Peter/2 Peter/crosier or staff, six of diamonds — 2 John/3 John/quill, seven of diamonds — Ephesians/Jonah/whale, eight of diamonds — Galatians/James/horse with bit, nine of diamonds — Philemon /Jude/sword, ten of diamonds — Ruth/Amos/sandal, Jack of diamonds — Nehemiah/Ezra/brick, queen of diamonds — Esther/Ecclesiastes/crown, king of diamonds — 1 Maccabees/2 Maccabees/Hanukkah menorah, ace of hearts — Malachi/Colossians/star of David, two of hearts — Habakkuk/Hagaii/eye, three of hearts — Micah/Nahum/vineyard, four of hearts — Titus/Joel/holy name of Jesus monogram (IHS), five of hearts — 1 Thessalonians/2 Thessalonians/dove, six of hearts — 1 Timothy/2 Timothy/triangle, seven of hearts — 1 John/Philippians/laurel wreath, eight of hearts — Jonah/Ruth/boat, nine of hearts — Song of Solomon/Lamentations /palm tree, ten of hearts — 1 Peter/2 Peter/mitre or rock, Jack of hearts — Amos/Song of Solomon/lily, queen of hearts — Baruch/Ruth/barley, king of hearts — Philippians/James/flame, ace of clubs — Genesis/Exodus/bitten apple, two of clubs — 1 Kings/2 Kings/scepter, three of clubs — 1 Chronicles/2 Chronicles/throne, four of clubs — 1 Corinthians/2 Corinthians/scroll, five of clubs — Isaiah/Jeremiah/crown of thorns, six of clubs — Mark/Acts/cross, seven of clubs — Luke/John/chalice, eight of clubs — Revelation/Psalms/scarred lamb, nine of clubs — Isaiah/Jeremiah/lion and lamb, ten of clubs — Psalms/Matthew/lyre, Jack of clubs — Leviticus/Hebrews/burnt offering, queen of clubs — Deuteronomy/Numbers/donkey, king of clubs — 1 Samuel/2 Samuel/sling and stones, ace of spades — Sirach/Wisdom /arched rainbow, two of spades — 1 Maccabees/2 Maccabees/mountain, three of spades — Tobit/Judith/fish, four of spades — 1 Kings/2 Kings/bread, five of spades — Job/Ecclesiastes/wine, six of spades — Romans/Joshua/tower, seven of spades — Judith/Zechariah/gem, eight of spades — Tobit/Hosea/coins, nine of spades — Matthew/Luke/ox, ten of spades — Mark /John/eagle, Jack of spades — Genesis/Acts/fig leaf, queen of spades — Deuteronomy/2 Kings/Ten Commandments tablets, king of spades — Exodus/Judges/parted sea.
underline, or write in a different color, the books that have less than ten chapters. you will find these books on all the red cards except the royal diamonds (10, J, Q, K) and diamonds that are multiples of three. mark a cross or asterisk next to each book that has only one chapter. these are on the three, six and nine of diamonds. (or you can write these books in a different color than the rest.) all the other books can be left in regular print.
on the royal cards (A, J, Q, K) mark the following digits next to the letter on both top and bottom: A — 1, J — 03, Q — 01, K — 07. Leave the ten cards as they are. mark the jokers with a zero next to their symbol in each corner.
Step 2: using the cards to select a Scripture passage
pray to the Holy Spirit and ask the intercession of His spouse the Virgin Mary, then shuffle the cards. draw a card for the book. the one not upside down will be the one you read.
if the book has only one chapter, marked by a cross or asterisk, just read the whole book.
if the book has less than ten chapters (underlined), draw one card for one digit. the number on the card will be the chapter you read. if you draw a ten, draw again. royal cards will be the number written by their letter.
if the book has less than a hundred chapters (all the rest except Psalms), draw two digits’ worth of cards. Jack has two digits “03”, so that card will be chapter 3. the joker has one digit “0”, and the five card has one digit “5”, so those two cards will be the fifth chapter. ace has one digit “1” and the three card has one digit “3”, so those two cards will be the thirteenth chapter. the ten card has two digits “10”, so that card will be the tenth chapter.
if the book is Esther, then you should regard the chapter number as an ordinal number and drawing the number one will be the first chapter, which in some translations will be chapter “A” rather than chapter “1”.
If the book is Psalms, draw three digits’ worth of cards as explained above. joker “0”, three “3” and ace “1”, will be 31. joker “0”, ace “1” and joker “0”, will be 10. joker “0” and ten “10” will also be 10. ace “1” and Jack “03”, will be 103.
if the number doesn’t make sense, draw again until it does.
if the chapter feels too long, draw two digits’ worth of cards (or three digits for chapters with a hundred or more verses) for the verse, then read ten verses or the rest of the chapter starting with that verse.
if you are using an unmarked deck of cards, you can draw two digits and use that as an ordinal number to find the book. number 11 would be the 11th book of the Bible.
trust God’s Word in the passage you are led to, even if it doesn’t seem like what you think you need to hear.