A New Bible Reading Plan!

For the past six years (or so, give or take), several of my friends, and their friends, and their friends’ friends, have been reading the Bible every day together. We read (or listen to) about 7 chapters of the New Testament together every day and text out that we did our reading to the large group via a Google Hangout we setup.

Now, because we read the same chapters for 30 days, we’ve read the NT some 60 times in the span of about 6 years. And it’s been great! But it is also time for something new.

FEEDBACK: One piece of feedback I got over the past few years was how cool it would be if we integrated some Old Testament reading. So some in our group started reading through the OT each day (about three chap per day) in addition to the NT reading. But it was a LOT of reading to do every day, and if you missed a day or two, you found yourself having to read 9 chapters of Leviticus and another 7 of the NT to catch up!  We also heard that while the NT repetition was helpful, reading 6-7 chapters for 30 days got a little stale, and my own personal issue with this was that it didn’t allow a more devotional posture of reading, where one could spend a few minutes really thinking over a smaller section of Scripture.

So…with the help of my good friend, Pastor Dennis Lankford, and the feedback of friends Derek and Parris, we’ve created a new reading plan.

You can download the plan here: Daily NT OT Combined List

Here’s how the reading is laid out: We will read the same 1-3 chapters in the New Testament for one week, and then move on to the the next few chapters on Monday of the each new week. The same goes for the Old Testament, but the readings will be shorter. The OT passages are select passages, and not the entire OT. The idea is to be able to spend 15 or 20 minutes in the Word every day, and if you miss a day or two, you won’t fall behind. After about a year and a half you will have read through the key passages in the OT, and the whole of the NT 7 times.  Here’s an example of what the plan looks like:

Reading Example

There’s a real impact – a lasting impact – from reading the Bible frequently. Paul describes this in 2 Corinthians 3:18 when he likens the reading of the Word to being exposed to the glory of God, and how that will permanently change us:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

If you want to take part in the reading, you’ll need to join Google hangouts (it’s best to just download the App). Next, message me and I will invite you to the Hangout. Finally, start reading and letting everyone else know how its going!

Ferguson on Abiding in Christ

Great little post out today from Sinclair Ferguson on Abiding in Christ. Check it out:

What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?
Posted: 01 Feb 2013 03:00 AM PST

The exhortation to “abide” has been frequently misunderstood, as though it were a special, mystical, and indefinable experience. But Jesus makes clear that it actually involves a number of concrete realities.

First, union with our Lord depends on His grace. Of course we are actively and personally united to Christ by faith (John 14:12). But faith itself is rooted in the activity of God. It is the Father who, as the divine Gardener, has grafted us into Christ. It is Christ, by His Word, who has cleansed us to fit us for union with Himself (15:3). All is sovereign, all is of grace.

Second, union with Christ means being obedient to Him. Abiding involves our response to the teaching of Jesus: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you …” (John 15:7a). Paul echoes this idea in Colossians 3:16, where he writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” a statement closely related to his parallel exhortation in Ephesians 5:18: “be filled with the Spirit.”

In a nutshell, abiding in Christ means allowing His Word to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. In other words, our relationship to Christ is intimately connected to what we do with our Bibles! Then, of course, as Christ’s Word dwells in us and the Spirit fills us, we will begin to pray in a way consistent with the will of God and discover the truth of our Lord’s often misapplied promise: “You will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7b).

Third, Christ underlines a further principle, “Abide in My love” (15:9), and states very clearly what this implies: the believer rests his or her life on the love of Christ (the love of the One who lays down His life for His friends, v. 13).

This love has been proved to us in the cross of Christ. We must never allow ourselves to drift from daily contemplation of the cross as the irrefutable demonstration of that love, or from dependence on the Spirit who sheds it abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). Furthermore, remaining in Christ’s love comes to very concrete expression: simple obedience rendered to Him is the fruit and evidence of love for Him (John 15:10–14).

Finally, we are called, as part of the abiding process, to submit to the pruning knife of God in the providences by which He cuts away all disloyalty and sometimes all that is unimportant, in order that we might remain in Christ all the more wholeheartedly.

This post has been adapted from Sinclair Ferguson’s book, In Christ Alone.