Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Join me, won't you?

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 8:31-32

Many a university has the latter part of this passage inscribed on buildings: "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." But there is a HUGELY significant "IF" at the beginning of the thought. "IF you abide in my word..." Other translations read "If you remain in my word..." Don't read the conclusion without the premise...don't focus on the "then" without the "if".

And thus, the challenge: Will you join me in faithfully & regularly reading the Bible this year?

I offer this with great humility as a fellow traveler who is flawed and imperfect. And who has experienced HUGE blessings from those times when I have faithfully & regularly read the Bible, including in 2009.

To make it easy, I commend to you >>this site<< . It has multiple options available.

The one I'm reading in 2010 is the "Chronological" plan that sets the books & chapters of the Bible in the order in which they occured. In 09, Lisa & I used the "One Year Tract Bible Reading Plan" at the link; that one takes you through the Old Testament once & the Psalms & Proverbs twice throughout the year. The site offers a brief description of the multiple choices there.

My challenge & encouragement to you is to make reading the Bible a priority in 2010!

The link above includes multiple options, and also includes the ability to add the plan to your Google calendar or to your Outlook, along with the ability to subscribe via RSS. You can get them emailed to you each day, and you can even listen to each day's readings. And of course, you can them online. In other words, the ESV site has utterly eliminated the vast majority of excuses.

Here's another plan that has readings from three different places a day.
This is the plan John Piper uses regularly. Through the whole Bible; only 25 days per month scheduled, which has built in catch-up or additional study time.
This site has 13 different reading plans.
This one has 5 different plans.
Here's one with 4 different plans, including a 2-year plan to read through the whole Bible.
This one goes from Genesis through Revelation in a year.
This one goes through the whole Bible in 2 years, alternating an Old Testament passage on one day with a New Testament passage the next.
And here is a 3-year plan with weekly readings, and a 3-year plan with daily readings.

Some words of encouragement & reminders, all of which are based on experience:

A huge temptation, especially as 2010 draws to a close & you find that you've been faithful.

If the enemy of souls can't make you cocky, he'll try to put you under the pile: "see, you knew you couldn't finish; why bother, you loser..." (etc.) Do NOT fall for this.

--If you're wondering if you're able to achieve whatever Bible reading goal you set for yourself, find an accountability partner.
Howard Hendricks says that the ideal accountability partner is someone who loves you but is not impressed by you. (great description!) Find someone who will hold your feet to the fire without slapping you around. Someone who--ideally--is sharing your Bible reading goal. And someone who loves you but is not impressed by you...

--Humbly ask the Lord to speak to you through His Word.
He will likely not do so every single morning...but it's a virtual lock that He will speak throughout the year.

--Get a notebook or journal & capture what He says.
I'm about to read back through my 09 journal rt now. Huge blessings from looking back & seeing what He has taught you.

I find great encouragement and challenge, along with some badly-needed reproof, correction, & training in Scripture. And a systematic approach helps me avoid proof-texting, wherein I select the verses I love that I know what they say & build my whole theology on those...thereby ignoring what theologians call "the whole counsel of God."

As I say, join me, won't you?

Looking forward to the journey,

1 comment:

Ken said...

I'm in --- I've read it through a couple of times but never enough. Marissa read it cover to cover at the age of 12 ---- hmmmm.......
Leslie McGill