“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, ESV)
The local church's mission is discipleship. It is simply pointing people to God. God does the work of transforming people's hearts by the sight of Him. When people see the majesty and love of God revealed most fully in Jesus Christ, hearts are won, lives are changed and people follow God.
Scripture is key in seeing and trusting God today. One of the most important things we can do in a church is to be in Scripture together. We take every opportunity to share the word of God with each other, whether it is in worship, Sunday School or Bible Studies or just conversations. And now, in the new world of the internet, much of our being together takes place online. We should see this as another very important place that we can be in Scripture together.
Every year for the past number of years, I have done a reading program through the Bible. The past few years, I have shared that program and invited people to participate at this time of year. I do so again as we look at 2018 coming quickly. This is a great opportunity for us to be in Scripture together. It includes three primary ways this can happen.
The first and primary way is simply to read through the reading program that I propose we use for the year. This year, I propose we use one called "the Five Day Bible Reading Program" developed by Lower Light Publications and shared at www.bibleclassmaterial.com. Recognizing that many cannot find time to read all seven days of the week, they have a plan for five days a week of reading to get through the whole of the Bible in a year. It has two primary tracks, both presented chronologically - an Old Testament Track and a New Testament track. Usually there are two readings a day, sometimes three. I've never used this particular plan, but I'm excited about how it will take us through Scripture in such a way as to best understand its flow in history.
Secondly, our Sunday School classes will focus on the area of scripture through which we will be reading at the time. We can look deeper into the passages and sections of scripture by learning together their historical and literary contexts as well as have an opportunity for people to share how God has been using the readings in their lives. I really look forward to this.
Finally, this blog can be an ongoing resource both to provide teaching on the sections of scripture, but also to interact around them. Our conversation can continue here. I plan to provide regular - 3 to 5 times a week - material primarily on the readings coming up or just read. I'll share how I journal as I read, considering not just teaching regarding the passage, but how God is speaking to me through them - and I invite others to share their learnings regarding the passages or from God as well.
I'll start the next couple days on the blog to provide some introduction to reading the Bible. For now, I'll provide some printouts of the reading schedule at church that you can put in your Bible. It can be found through the above link. Let's get reading!