Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - A Year to Read the Bible

My Bible is precious to me. I have read through the Book cover-to-cover seven times and spent hours studying specific verses. I have preached over 2,000 sermons holding my Bible. Some pages are torn; others are marked up so much they are hard to read, and every page contains precious promises for my life. On my laptop, I have over 150 pages of typewritten notes from my personal time with God’s Word.

God’s Word will teach you, comfort you, help you, and change you. I want to challenge you in 2013 to spend more time reading the Bible.  

God’s Love Letter to You
If you see a Bible falling apart, it probably belongs to someone whose life isn’t. As one wise mother said to her son, “Dirty Bible, clean living. Clean Bible, dirty living.”  God’s Word is the standard that tells us how to live right side up in an upside down world.

The Bible contains 66 books, 1,189 chapters, and 31,102 verses written by about 39 different authors over 1,600 years (between approximately 1700 B.C. and 100 A.D.) and in three different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The authors of these books include shepherds, prophets, kings, priests, poets, students, musicians, philosophers, fishermen, a tent maker, and a doctor. It is full of poetry, proverbs, letters, laws, histories, prophecies, philosophy, and stories. It is the bestselling book in history.

Throughout the Bible there is remarkable unity. Despite being written by many different men and in a variety of time periods, the entire Bible has one theme, your salvation through Jesus Christ.

We should not read the Bible in the same way we read other books. When people read the Iliad or Shakespeare they read them as literature. But the Bible is God’s words to you. Before you can grasp the Bible, you have to choose to believe it. If you are not willing to kneel when you read the Bible, you will never understand it.

One pastor told me he does not believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God. I feel sorry for him. He is preaching from a book he does not believe in.  God’s Word is either ABSOLUTE or it is OBSOLETE.  

What Does the Bible Say About Itself?
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

“…No prophecy of Scripture is of any private  interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but  holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Will You Read Your Bible in 2013?
The Bible is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions. Through daily Bible reading you will be washed and renewed in your mind and spirit. You will be strengthened and guided by the power of the Scriptures. Set aside time each day to focus on God and His Book. Don’t allow other things to choke out time in the Word. You will be transformed into the likeness of Jesus through the renewing of your mind.

I encourage you to use the Bible Reading Plan below. If you will follow this plan faithfully, you will be able to read along with us through the entire Bible in 2013.