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!

Why Read the Old Testament?

In the coming days, a group of people in my church and friends from around the country will be starting to read through the Old Testament together again, and it’s sure to be a very interesting and encouraging experience.

But why would you want to do this?  Why take all that time to listen to, or read through the OT texts? Isn’t it good enough to be reading the New Testament in our devotions? The short answer is, as you might guess, “No!”  This isn’t about meeting a quota, or doing what is “good enough”, that’s certainly NOT the point. But what IS the point? Here are a few good reasons why you should consider reading the Old Testament devotionally every day…

First, the OT gives us the context for the New Testament (NT). We can understand the redemptive nature of NT history better if we know the history leading up to Christ’s incarnation and earthly ministry. As we get a sense for the context in which Christ came, we grow to appreciate God’s control over history even more.  Unlike most eastern thought, Christians believe that history is linear – God is driving toward a point.

David Murray puts it this way, “Many history books simply relate the what, when, where, and how of each event. Not many attempt to answer the “Why?” question, and those that do usually prove laughably unreliable. In contrast, biblical history has a clear purpose: it is a progressive revelation of the mind and heart of God for the benefit of needy sinners. God is the subject and the hero of the Bible.”

Second, once we become familiar with the OT, we begin to see how Christ is the fulfillment of types and shadows, and the epicenter of redemptive history and the story of humanity. Our story is really HIS story.  Seeing typology fulfilled in Christ only comes when you have studied and read the OT.

Sam Storms says, “In most cases the Old Testament type finds a deeper realization or expression in some aspect of the life of Jesus, his redemptive work, his judgments, or in his future return and reign. The correspondence is based on the premise that god controls history.”

Finally, but not by any means “lastly”, as Christians we believe that ALL Scripture is profitable for renewing our minds. Paul reminds Timothy of this, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

This means that as we read the Old Testament, the words of God are literally renewing our minds, and changing our hearts.  They are equipping us to serve and enjoy God better, because we can help others understand the Scriptures more clearly, and we can appreciate and love God for all that He is and has done as our context is widened.

In conclusion, there are so many reasons to read the whole Bible, and I’ve just scratched the surface here, but needless to say, it is a very profitable exercise, and if you’d like to join a reading group and get to know the OT a little better, feel free to send me a message!