I resolve (by God’s Grace) to read the Bible every day...
Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 06:16PM
TAP

A conferee walks past Road Map-NIV by Nathan Chang during the 2006 Refresh! Conference at Wycliffe College in Toronto. Chang’s work contains all the pages of the New International Version of the Bible. (Photo: Sue Careless)

By Sue Careless

PERHAPS AMONG your New Year resolutions you are considering reading a portion of the Bible daily. We all have our favourite passages, like the twenty-third psalm, the Beatitudes and the Christmas story, and it is easy just to keep rereading them. But to do so is to shut out the fullness of God--He has far more to reveal.

Christians need to draw daily from both the Old and New Testaments. If you are a seeker looking into the faith or a new convert, it might be best to start by reading just a chapter from one New Testament Gospel and a psalm portion each day, before attempting the whole Bible.

The Gospel of Mark is short and easy to read, and is often suggested first. Others recommend the Gospel of John, which is more mystical and introspective. Matthew and Luke include the Christmas narrative, which Mark and John omit.  

The outline below is just a very general sweep. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians with only six chapters is considered a condensed version of his magnificent Letter to the Romans (19 chapters), but you may prefer to read his monumental work instead. This reading plan will help you get started and give you a general framework for understanding God’s history of salvation. When we truly commit our lives to Christ, we begin to see how our own personal stories read best within God’s story.

 

 

A Brief History of Salvation

This reading plan adds up to a total of from 72 to 84 chapters, depending on which Gospel you choose to read.

In 2018, there are 90 days from New Year’s Day to Easter, which falls on April 1st. So, following this outline and reading a chapter (or psalm) a day, you could read all the chapters and ten psalms by Easter, even if you fall behind a bit.

 

Genesis Chapters 1-3      In the beginning, the Creation

                                    & the Fall

 

Exodus Chapters 12-14    Passover & the Exodus

 

Exodus Chapters 19-20    The Ten Commandments

 

Psalms 22, 23, 27, 34, 51 A sampling of ten prayers

Psalms 84, 91, 103,

107, 139                       

 

Isaiah Chapter 1              Rebellion & forgiveness

 

Isaiah Chapter 6:1-8        A look into heaven

 

Isaiah Chapter 40                        Comfort for God’s people

                                    (with shepherd image)

 

Isaiah Chapter 43:1-13     A Saviour foretold           

 

Isaiah Chapter 52:13-15   The Suffering Servant (Jesus)

Isaiah Chapters 53, 55     Promise of Pardon                                  

Joel Chapter 2                Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

 

A Gospel (Matthew, Mark All about Jesus

Luke or John) 

 

Acts Chapters 1-9                       The outpouring of the Holy Spirit

 

1 Corinthians                  The gifts of the Spirit; Love

Chapters 12,13

 

Galatians & Ephesians      The fruit of the Spirit;

                                    God’s mercy and grace 

 

Revelation Chapters 1-3   A peek into heaven & God’s word

                                     to the churches

 

Revelation                      The war in heaven, the Devil

Chapter 7:7-12               cast out 

 

Revelation                      The end of the story, heaven         Chapters 20-22               opened

 

One reason that we see Jesus Christ as the key to salvation is that he fulfils both the law and the prophets. Jesus fulfils the law, in that he obeys perfectly all that God specifies as necessary for holiness, including the Ten Commandments.  Jesus also fulfils the prophets, in that all that was predicted about him centuries earlier came to pass. You can check this out for yourself. After you have read a gospel account of the crucifixion, read the “Psalm of the Cross,” Psalm 22, as well as Psalm 34:20 and Psalm 31:6. And the coming of the Holy Spirit is foretold in Joel, chapter 2.

The Bible is an indispensable library of books. Christians need to immerse themselves in the full flow of God’s Word. But although the river flows from Genesis to Revelation, we can easily get swamped if we simply try to read the Bible from cover to cover, book by book. There are 66 books in the Bible, and they appear in order according to their subject matter, as if they were stacked thematically on library shelves.   

There is a risk of getting bogged down if we focus on any one of the shelves. After all, the Old Testament opens with five books of law*, then 12 books of history followed by five poetry books and it concludes with 17 books of prophecy. If we look at the shelves in the New Testament there are 5 books of history (the four Gospels and Acts) then 21 letters and a final book of prophecy set within a letter (Revelation). It’s better to alternate law with letters, say, or poetry with history. The change in style will be refreshing and more stimulating than reading from one shelf, as it were, at a stretch.

Remember that we need the whole counsel of God. Every Christian should aim to read through the whole Bible eventually, and mature Christians should try to read through the whole Bible regularly. But a good place to begin or to take a refresher course, might be with this suggested outline.   

Godspeed!   TAP

 

* “Law” is a conventional description. Genesis, Exodus and Numbers are mostly history, but the oldest statement of Jewish law appears in this group of books, because the law was given in the context of history.  

Adapted from Discovering the Book of Common Prayer: A Hands-On Approach Volume I: Daily Prayer by Sue Careless. It is available through St Peter Publications, as are Volumes II & III. See  http://www.stpeter.org/DBCP.html

 

 

Article originally appeared on The Anglican Planet (http://anglicanplanet.net/).
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