Okay, take a minute and just let it soak in. We are half-way through the last book of the Bible. Whether you have been reading consistently or sporadically for the past 23 months, you have been reading. You have disciplined yourself to follow a plan that helps you engage with God’s word and this is something to affirm. Well done! By consistently being in God’s word you have been receiving His seeds into your souls. These seeds are now awaiting the right moment to germinate, break through into the light of day or even bear fruit. So, keep your heart alert and open to the work God has done and is doing. Getting to this place in our Bible reading journey brings a childhood experience to mind.
I have fond memories of the long drive to my grandparent’s home. The miles seemed to stretch on forever and I wondered if we would ever arrive. There were highlights along the way, exiting I-79 at Meadville and making the turn onto Route 6 were two of them. But the excitement really peaked when we entered their town, passed the city center square and turned left onto their brick street. It was at that point we knew that we had just two blocks to go before we would arrive to grandma’s chocolate chip cookies and an unconditional love we felt every day and night.
I share this to encourage you all to keep reading because some true joys are in the pages ahead as we consider what God has planned for those who love Him. It is stunning. It is part of the mystery that God kept hidden for ages and generations but now made known to the saints (Colossians 1:26). It is the final consummation of the promised good news, the gospel of God. And it will be the topic for my final article next Friday.
Today, I want to use this space to celebrate what God has done and to encourage our next steps.
For some, this has been their first time through the Bible. For others it was a return to a disciplined approach to Scripture that benefited other parts of their lives as well. Though not always easy to keep on the road, every comment I’ve received has expressed gratitude for the chance to journey this path.
By way of reminder, our two-year Bible reading journey has always been part of a larger four-year plan to help our congregation engage Scripture. This plan involves reading the Bible from cover to cover, memorizing key passages and gaining an overview. I am happy to say that in the last decade we have read the Bible three times, been given the opportunity to memorize more than 60 key passages (the Navigators Topical Memory System plus others) and have hosted Walk Thru the Bible for their Old and New Testament live events. I’ve loved every minute of it. So, what’s next?
This is a good question. While Bible reading, Bible memory and biblical literacy will always be part of life at Covenant, I’m wondering if the time has come to adopt some other ways of engaging Scripture and integrating biblical truth into our lives. Before we dive back into another scripture memory emphasis, I want to hit the pause button and ask the Lord what might be next.
Please do not let this lull in a church-wide emphasis dim your enthusiasm. If you are eager to read cover to cover again, simply Google “Two Year Bible Reading Plan” and see if any of them stand out to you. I’d also recommend checking out Walk Thru the Bible’s “Daily Walk Bible.” This one-year reading plan is chock full of helpful outlines and devotionals that add a new element to your reading. If their daily reading selections are too long for you, then cut them in half yourself and make it a two-year experience. More than any other time in our lives, we have access to a wide variety of Bible reading plans. Pick one and keep going.
If you are ready to dive back into Scripture memory, I suggest you visit The Navigators website and store. They have excellent memory tools to help you review what we have already done or to branch out into something new. You could also review what is available as a phone app or search biblegateway.com for “100 Bible passages to memorize.” Or maybe it is time to memorize larger sections of scripture. If so, I’d suggest memorizing a key chapter (like Romans 8). There are many hard-copy and digital options out there so go for it!
Finally, if you are ready for another overview, just Google “100 key Bible Passages,” check the source to make sure it is reputable and start reading. I’d also recommend the Bible Project’s overviews of biblical themes (like Justice, Sin and Love) as well as deeper dives into key passages (like the Shema). Whatever you choose, please think about it now so that you can act on it in March. Our arrival to the end of our reading journey only marks the beginning of a new experience of God’s unconditional love.
If you have the time, please let me know what you have decided to do or let me know of your suggestion for our next step. I am always looking for new approaches to integrating the Bible into life and appreciate the insights that come from others. Lead us, Lord.
As for me, after I post next week’s article, I plan to take some time off from blogging to focus on a few other things for a season.
Traveling with you on this journey has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Thanks for participating and for reading! I look forward to sharing one final thought next week.