Monday, November 29, 2010

Being Intentional in Bible Reading

[This entry follows a sermon preached by Glen Lockwood titled "Jesus Christ, Our Passover." Click on the title to listen to the audio.]

Today's blog entry was contributed by Glen Lockwood, who preached the sermon the entry follows. Read, and be encouraged.

This past week as I was preparing the sermon for yesterday, I couldn’t help but be impressed again by the richness of the Old Testament. The New Testament is what we study most, and that is as it should be; but there is so much in the Old Testament that can be of great profit to us. It is as much God’s Holy Word as the New. Understanding it adds a depth to the New Testament that we could never experience without it.

There is history, biography, poetry, proverbs, and prophecy in those first thirty-nine books of the Bible. I love the history and stories of the Old Testament; they all have an application to my life. I am instructed by the proverbs of Solomon and the wisdom of Ecclesiastes. (Frankly, the Proverbs have kept me from making mistakes I would have made if I had not known them.) I am blessed and encouraged by the Psalms, and challenged to holiness and understanding by the prophets. And the New Testament is the fulfillment of so much of the Old, that I need to know the Old to better understand the New. Someone has written, “The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed.”

Begin to read it! Make it a goal of yours to read the entire Bible through in 2011. It has been proved that those who set specific goals are much more likely to reach them than those whose goals are rather general. And those who write out their goals are the ones who most consistently achieve them. Any goals you have for 2011 should include spiritual goals; surely they should include the reading of the Bible.

How do you go about reading the Bible through in one year? First, you decide to do it. You set it as a goal. Then you develop a plan. (Luke 16:1-8 is the story of a man who set a goal, developed a plan, and then followed his plan, achieving his goal. Jesus indicates that it would be good for us to be as wise as that man.) It won’t be easy, since the world, your own nature, and Satan will oppose you. Decide what time each day you will do it. Decide where you will do your reading. Be specific in the details of your plan; it will help you to follow through.

There are 929 chapters in the Old Testament, and 260 in the New. If you read three chapters of the Old Testament every day, you will finish reading it about the first week in November. If you also read one chapter of the New Testament each day, you will complete it about the middle of September. That’s just four chapters each day for less than one year, and you will have read the Bible from cover to cover!

Another way to do it is to purchase a chronological Bible. It follows a simple plan. You just open it and read what is there for January 1st, and continue with each day’s reading. You’ll finish on December 31. There are other methods also. Some are undoubtedly available on the internet. The key is to make a decision! Then find a plan and implement it. God will bless your life, and you will certainly be glad you did! 2011 is just around the corner. Become a diligent reader of God’s Word!