Two year bible reading plan

IF YOU LOVE JESUS YOU WILL LOVE HIS WORD

It is a sad reflection on the state of evangelical Christianity that few Christians regularly read the Scriptures and even fewer have read through, even once, the entire Bible. Let me not sound sanctimonious, I know that there are parts of the Scriptures, especially in the Old Testament that are tough going, but even in these parts, if we prevail, we will find nuggets of encouragement.

A familiar little chorus, as I was growing up was ‘read your Bible pray every day if you want to grow.’ And that was certainly a sound maxim for Christians if they want to go towards maturity in their walk with God. Even in our pulpits there is a trend to minimise reading the Scriptures to a few verses that is then preached on. That differs from days gone by when it was usual for both an Old Testament and a New Testament reading in our worship services - sometimes the only authentic part of the service!

As we stand at the beginning of a New Year please let me encourage you to grasp the importance of daily Bible reading and commit yourself to reading the Bible through over two years. It can be done over one year but it is a major undertaking and it is more important to move slowly and take in what we are reading. I would also suggest that you read the Bible chronologically and that will help it make more sense! One two-year chronological plan I can recommend is: http://www.ppcnet.net/files/BibleRead2-chronos.pdf. I know some of you will not have access to an iPad, laptop or a smart phone but I am sure your pastor will gladly print you off a hard copy.

The Psalmist put a major emphasis on the importance of knowing God’s word. I have stored your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11. A wonderful example of this is in the temptations of Jesus when with each temptation Jesus warded the devil off with a quotation from Scripture. The Psalmist acknowledged that God’s word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, Psalm 119:105.

The canonical Scriptures of the two Testaments are the interpretive and applicatory record of God’s redemptive programme in history, the programme that has now climaxed in the life, death, resurrection, enthronement and present heavenly ministry of the Lord Jesus and in the ongoing Pentecostal ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is vitally important that as God’s children we familiarise ourselves with the great truths of Scripture, remembering it is not a menu from which we can pick and chose but that: ALL Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work, 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Let us consider the exhortations given to us by the hymnwriters of the past ages. William Henry Baker wrote:

Lord thy word abideth, and our footsteps guideth;

Who its truth believeth, Light and joy receiveth;

Who can tell the pleasure who recount the treasure

By thy word imparted to the simple-hearted? Word of mercy giving succour to the living;

Word of life supplying comfort to the dying

Oh that we discerning its most holy learning,

Lord, may love and fear thee, evermore be near thee

And in a similar vein, Bernard Barton wrote:

Lamp of our feet, whereby we trace our path when wont to stray;

Stream from the fount of heavenly grace, brook by the traveller’s way;

Bread of our souls, whereon we feed, true manna from high;

Our guide and chart, wherein we read of realms beyond the sky;

Word of the ever-living God, will of his glorious Son,

without thee how could earth be trod, or heaven itself be won.

Lord grant that we aright may learn the wisdom it imparts,

And to its heavenly teaching turn with simple, childlike hearts.

Commenting on these verses, Jim Packer writes: “the thought that all these lyrics express that the gift of health and life and peace comes to us from God through the Holy Scriptures:”

Charles Wesley told us that the source of life and health and peace is the name, the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we approach our Scripture reading let us not do it mechanically but to seek the help of the Holy Spirit to help us understand what we read and apply it to our hearts. There is no better way to start our Bible reading than by praying earnestly and quietly the words of Wesley’s hymns:

Come Holy Ghost, (for moved by thee the prophets wrote and spoke),

Unlock the Truth, thyself the Key, Unseal the sacred Book

God thro’ himself we then shall know, if thou within us shine;

And sound with all the saints below, the depths of love divine

It is my prayer that 2019 will be a year of abundant blessing as you immerse yourself in Scripture