I’ve just finished the plan this morning! 6 random reflections:
1. Reading does not equal absorbing, understanding, being transformed by. I often start a chapter by re-reading the previous one, and sometimes discover I don’t remember much of it. Therefore, we should be realistic with our expectations and also look for methods to help ourselves (and others in the group) remember what we are reading. And we must ALWAYS depend on God’s holy spirit to work transformation in us.
2. Reading does not make you free from sin. It can take literally seconds to forget what you are learning. I was constantly reminded of my need to return to the cross of Christ….The bible convicts us, and provides hope and forgiveness and patient instruction. This is rigorous exercise for the soul.
3. It’s about reading God’s word, not about reading the bible in 2 years. Nowhere in scripture says it must be read in a year, or two years or whatever. Many books (e.g. Proverbs) are intended for ultra-slow meditation, and reading them at this rate often only serves to give you a “gist”. But with God’s help, we glean enough to feed ourselves and grow.
4. Taking notes and underlining passages is hugely helpful. I bought a wide margin NIV and now it’s full of my thoughts and responses, which is a great reference point when revisiting passages. Buy a good, fine-nibbed pen (or pencil) and a notebook. Or perhaps add your thoughts into your diary.
5. You WILL fall behind at some point. Life is full of “x-factors” whether illness, work stress, family commitments etc..Sometimes bible reading rightly or wrongly takes a back seat. Don’t worry about it, but don’t decide you’re going to quit without speaking to someone in the group first. I’m available to correspond with anyone who is struggling or thinking about giving up, and I promise not to give you a hard time. Email email@example.com for any reason whatsoever and I’ll be happy to get back to you.
6. Reading the bible grows a passion for the bible that I didn’t have when I started. This is the most exciting thing for me…When I read scripture now, it comes more and more alive to me. I’m not breathing a sigh of relief at finishing, I’m just developing an appetite for more.
A quote from J.C. Ryle sums up how we will slowly start to think as we read the bible:
“The New Testament begins with the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. No part of the Bible is so important as this, and no part is so full and complete. Four distinct Gospels tell us the story of Christ’s doing and dying. Four times over we read the precious account of His works and words. How thankful we ought to be for this! To know Christ is life eternal. To believe in Christ is to have peace with God. To follow Christ is to be a true Christian. To be with Christ will be heaven itself. We can never hear too much about Jesus Christ.”
We now have over 20 people signed up to the plan, mostly from St Silas’, but also from other churches. Thankyou Lord!