I can see 2015 from here, just over the horizon. As such, I want to encourage you to think about reading the Bible. And not merely reading, but reading it all the way through. While there are many plans to do so, I'd like to suggest one I tried for the first time last year, and started again a few days ago. It is really simple, and requires no complex tracking sheets or boxes to check off. Here it is:
Read as much as you can, as fast as you can.
Rather than reading other books, try to use all your reading time in the Bible. Don't take notes. Don't pause for reflections as you read. If you must, mark a page or section for later study. But your goal in this kind of reading is to get the forest, not the trees. You are taking hold of the big picture story line of the Scriptures, which surprisingly few Christians have a grasp of. And with this kind of wider vision of God's story, your detailed study of smaller portions will come alive in new ways for all the connections you will discover.
This morning I read a portion of Genesis (from a Bible with no verse markings, which helps keep me moving). It was speaking of the birth of the Jewish nation, through a man named Abraham. The story is told of his call
Yahweh had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
So Abram departed as Yahweh had instructed...
How does this connect the dots of the Big Story?
Just one story earlier, the languages of mankind were scrambled because of their hubris. And in this story, God makes a way for those so confused to still find blessing. All the families of the earth will be blessed because a man from Ur obeyed. Which means that this blond-headed, kropsu-loving Swede will enter THE promised land because he spoke into and through my confusion so that I might be saved. My blessing today and tomorrow goes back thousands of years, my story connected to Abram's story, as part of God's Big Story.
I love the whole Bible!
And I hope that reading the whole thing this year, your love will grow too.
Grace and Peace upon your reading,
P.S. Last year I completed the Bible at the beginning of April. Be encouraged, for I am a slow reader. You can do this friend!