READING GOD’S WORD IN 2019
“All scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that he man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16).
2 Timothy 3:16 answers two essential questions: First, Do you want to hear God? The Bible is his very voice to us. Second, do you want to be equipped to make disciples of Jesus Christ? The Bible is profitable for equipping us to help others follow Jesus.
When we open and read the Bible, we hear God’s voice. And as the Spirit opens our eyes to see God’s glory in Christ in scripture, we’re transformed to become like him (2 Cor. 3:18).
Reading God’s Word
As a church family, let’s commit to daily rhythms of reading and meditating on God’s word. Here are three options to consider:
The average reader can read the entire Bible in one year with about 10 minutes each day. Consider using one of these Bible-reading plans (hard copies are available at the Resource Corner.)
The Discipleship Journal: This plan guides you to read in four places each day, two in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament. The readings in the Old Testament are longer, which allows for broader reading. The readings in the New Testament are shorter, which allows for deeper and more meditative reading. This plan also has 25 readings per month, which allows for breaks and catch-up days.
Two-Year Bible Reading Plan: This plan is designed to take you through the Bible in two years, and through the Psalms and Proverbs four times during that time.
Immerse yourself in one book of the Bible by studying and re-reading it for a period of time. For example, read and re-read a book like Philippians every day for a month, then choose a different book for the next month. Or read through 2-4 chapters of John each day until you get to the end, then re-read it again and again. Consider memorizing parts of the book you’re immersed in. Consider blocking off a longer block of 2 hours each week, say Wednesday evenings, to study the book more in-depth.
Simply establish a rhythm of reading 15-30 minutes each day, picking up where you left off from the previous day. As you finish a book of the Bible, move to the next one or move to one that is of particular or interest to you.
Approaching God’s Word
We come to God’s word aware of his presence and depending on him to make us open what he says. Here are a few prayers to make before reading:
Make me humble and open to whatever you say in your word (Isa. 66:2)
Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your word (Psalm 119:18)
Satisfy me with your love and goodness (Psalm 90:14)
Transform me by showing me your glory in Christ in your word (2 Cor. 3:18)
Responding to God’s Word
After reading scripture, we can meditate on it further and turn our reflections into prayers. Here are four questions Tim Keller provides questions that serve as way to respond to the reading in prayer:
What does this text show me about God for which I should praise or thank him?
What does this text show me about my sin that I should confess and repent of?
What does this text show me about a need that I have and how shall I petition God for it?
How would this change my life if I took it seriously—if this truth were fully alive and effective in my inward being?