As part of our rollout of Seeing Jesus Together, we will utilize a Bible reading plan. For some of you, this is an old habit. But for some of you, this will be new. So let me make a case for the benefits of a Bible Reading Plan.
It disciplines us. Structure is good. It helps create a habit and keeps us disciplined. Following a Bible reading plan creates the structure that keeps us on task. You will find it more difficult to miss a day the more you keep to it.
It honors how God has given us the Bible. The Bible is a comprehensive story from the beginning to the end. Each little story tells us the one grand story of Creation —> Fall —> New Creation. A reading plan that works through books of the Bible keeps us in God’s story instead of us using the Bible to craft our own story. It’s imposing at times and difficult at times, but that is part of the design — it makes us wrestle with things that we wouldn’t naturally wrestle with. And in doing so, God rewrites our hearts so that we are rooted in his story.
Also, the Bible is composed of multiple genres — poetry, historical narrative, prophecy, epistles, the gospels, wisdom literature, and apocrypha. We will all tend to prefer one genre over others, but we need all of the genres through which God has revealed himself.
It takes us where we don’t necessarily want to go, but where we need to go. A reading plan that works through books of the Bible keeps us in God’s story instead of us using the Bible to craft our own story. It’s imposing at times and difficult at times, but that is part of the design — it makes us wrestle with things that we wouldn’t naturally wrestle with. And in doing so, God rewrites our hearts so that we are rooted in his story.
This is one of the reasons that we preach through books of the Bible. God is setting the agenda through his Word. And when he sets the agenda, we are transformed from our old way of thinking and living into his New Creation way of thinking, feeling, and living.
We are forced to slow down because some things aren’t easy to follow. Parts of the Bible are difficult to read — but they are still essentially important. We are naturally prone to skip over these sections, but there is much to gain from slow reading and wrestling through these more difficult sections. The historical narratives of Kings and Chronicles seem so foreign…because they are. But the history and places are part of God’s story of redemption, and we benefit from seeing God’s hand move during these times. Leviticus seems like a codebook for a different time and place…because it is. But we have much to gain from the Lord by working our way through Leviticus. But we will have to slow down to read and understand. And slow reading forces us to meditate…to dwell more deeply in God’s Word.
We get a sense of the One Story of the Bible. I can’t tell you how many times people have connected the dots of the Bible because they stuck to a reading plan. As the dots get connected from Genesis through the Gospels and to Revelation, our awe at God’s hand in accomplishing redemption increases. Jesus is the central figure of the Bible. And reading each part of the Bible in light of the whole helps us worship, adore, and entrust ourselves to him.
It keeps us reading together. One of the goals of Seeing Jesus Together is reading God’s Word in community. By following a Bible reading plan, as a community we will be reading sections of Scripture at the same time. This will help us be able to talk together about what the Hoy Spirit is showing us, what we are learning, and what sins we are being convicted of. You will find that it helps facilitate community.