The following is an article I wrote for our church’s newsletter, which was distributed this past Sunday.
I don’t normally share these through my blog, but since I kind of issued a challenge with this one (a rarity for me), I thought it might be good to open it up on a larger scale & offer collaboration, commiseration, or a way to hold each other accountable.
You can also click this link to download or print a checklist that can help you keep track of your progress: Read the Gospels in 90 days
The View from the Pews
Let’s face it; reading the Bible is just not easy for the vast majority of us. It isn’t really in our language. The places and names are often unfamiliar to us. It is confusing, hard to understand, sometimes boring, and we just don’t know where to start.
But those are really just excuses. And as someone wiser than me once said, “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” But while we can make a list of excuses a mile long to explain why we’re not studying scripture, there is really only one reason why we should; because God gave it to us so that He could speak to us through it. That’s why they call it “the Word of God”.
Just in case you are wondering, I’m not trying to point out the flaws in others to avoid seeing my own. I’m not looking at the speck of sawdust in my brother’s eye without seeing the plank in mine (Matthew 7:3-5). I am writing this as much for my own benefit as for anyone’s who might be reading it. Every week in my Reunion Group, we ask ourselves if we have studied the scriptures daily. It is one of the points that we made a covenant to keep and hold each other accountable to. Yet week after week I find myself having to answer the same way – I tried, but I didn’t do very well.
So here is what I propose; baby steps! Let’s try some systematic bible reading together. I feel like if we have a plan, and we don’t try to do too much at one time, maybe we can make some progress.
The Gospels – the first four books of the New Testament that recount the life of Jesus from four different viewpoints – seem like the most logical place to start. Between the four books there are a total of 89 chapters. So if we read one chapter every day we can have the Gospels completed in around three months. This seems completely doable to me – I hope it does to you too.
Here are some things that I want us to keep in mind as we move forward though:
> Don’t approach study out of a sense of stale religious obligation, but rather prayerfully and with a receptive heart.
> Don’t feel like following a program like this makes you a better or more virtuous Christian than anyone else. Likewise, if you have trouble with it or let a few days slip, don’t feel like it makes you a worse or less committed one.
> Don’t read it carelessly or in a “just get it done” manner. Read expecting to hear God’s voice.
And remember, you’re not in this alone. I will be doing this too, beginning as soon as this week. Feel free to reach out to me through the comments section below, Facebook, or email so that we can share with each other how we are doing.