Update 1/2/14 – We’ve gotten a great response to the B90X challenge, so we started a Facebook group for mutual encouragement and accountability. There’s still time to join; things are getting started on Monday, January 6.
Last year I encouraged you all to resolve for something better than the typical New Year’s promises people make and gave you a slew of tips and resources to get you into the Word. This year, I’m going to offer the same challenge, but I’ve got a few new options for those of you looking to try something new. Approaching Scripture with a disciplined and intentional resolve is the surest way to protect your heart from legalism, your life and ministry from fruitlessness, and your worship from idolatry. So, pick your reading plan, print it out and stick it to your bathroom mirror or download it to your phone, and get in the Word this year!
A few years ago, Pastor Steven Furtik, of Elevation Church, asked his staff to read through the entire Bible in just 90 days. They called it B90X, riffing off the infomercials for the intense workout plan P90X, that promises to get you lean and cut in just 90 days. Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The original Greek text very intentionally communicates a vigor, power, and dynamism to the life that the Scripture holds.
The reason the written Word of God has such power is because it reveals and illuminates the Living Word, Jesus, to all who seek earnestly. The truth is that God is high above us, and different from us, even though we have been made in his image. Theologians speak of the epistemic gap between God and man; there is a real and definite limit to our knowledge of God. He is different from us, not only in terms of degree, but in kind. He is wholly other than us, because he is the Holy Other. Though his power and might are displayed in all the earth and heavens (Psalm 19, Romans 1:20), the only way we can know anything of his heart is by the ways he has chosen to reveal himself to us.
The single greatest revelation of God given to mankind is Jesus the Christ. The written Word reveals him more clearly, and he in turn illuminates the written Word. Disciplined Bible study reshapes our hearts and minds until we, like Martha, learn to sit at our Lord’s feet (Luke 10:38-42), the one who holds the words of life (John 6:68). There’s no other substitute. My life was changed when I stopped treating the Word of God like a textbook and started to allow it to daily wash my heart and mind!
Before I lose you: you can do it! Yes, it’s a lot of reading, but it’s not even close to impossible. It just means that you will be forced to neglect other, unimportant things in your life. Instead of TV or magazines or Facebook or whatever else distracts you each day, you will spend time reading the Scriptures. This man read a complete book every day for a year, without his family knowing, because “If [my wife and kids] suspected I was slacking—dishes undone, litter box a ruin, laundry growing sentient—then I was failing my prime directive.” Leave a comment if you’re up for trying this! You don’t have to start January 1st, and we can put together a FB group to keep each other encouraged!
No Bible, No Breakfast/No Bible, No Bed
Whether or not you’re new to the daily Bible reading game, an equally great goal is to read the entire Bible over the course of the year! Armyonitsknees.org has put together a year long Bible reading plan that mixes Old and New Testament, with Psalms and Proverbs each day. It encourages you to hit the Scriptures at a self-predetermined time every day, either before eating breakfast for the early risers, or before getting into bed for the night owls. Either way, no Bible = no breakfast or bed until you read!
This is a great, well rounded approach that will keep your from feeling like your trapped in Leviticus or Numbers. Mixing the Old and New Testaments also helps reveal a lot of the overarching themes and connections between the covenants that each reveals.
- Do you have a set time each day for your study and meditation?
- Did you use a reading plan this year? How’d it go?
- Do you not use a reading plan? What’s your devotional habit like?
- What other resources do you like to use?