Remember last week I mentioned starting an online Bible read-through group? Here I am, back with more details! If you finish reading this and you have more questions, PLEASE feel free to comment and I will post a follow-up with all the things I'm sure to forget about here.
Now first of all, the idea of the Bible read-through group is to read through the Bible and put some focus into what God's saying to us as we read. Hearing one person's input might spark something cool in someone else's heart - plus, knowing that you have someplace to report each week is a good motivator to stay on track.
I know some of us are part of Bible study groups. That is awesome and please don't even think about quitting to take part in this group. We're not going to go at a super-fast pace. It is a good idea to be involved in some specific study as well as just reading through to see what God might want to say without the topical or expositorial (is that the right word? you know, verse by verse?) study.
I think I shared here a while back that my son Malachi has always loved the Bible. Watching him faithfully read inspired me to once and for all read through the entire Bible too. I've probably read most of it many times over the years but I'd never just read all the way through. I'd tried, but every time I'd get to about Leviticus or Numbers I'd just fizzle out.
This time I decided to start in the New Testament. I figured that having "the end" fresh in my mind might make all the Old Testament stuff more meaningful. It did, friends! I finished the New Testament fairly quickly and it was like a running start into the Old Testament. Right now I am in Numbers and boy, some nights it does feel like a chore getting through all the names, instructions written the same way over and over, laws, etc. Even so though, I am so glad to be reading it. Almost every night I feel like God is truly speaking something to me through what I'm reading, and day by day there are blessings that come from this reading.
I'm learning more simply by reading in context. Some of my lifelong favorite verses have taken on such a whole deeper meaning just by reading them and understanding what was going on culturally or where I am timeline-wise. It's been cool is what I'm saying.
SO - my proposition is that we start in Matthew. Each week I will post the reading assignment for the upcoming week. It won't be a lot. One chapter a day most days, maybe combining a couple of shorter chapters on others. Just plan to read it all by the next week. If you want to set aside a little time and read it all at once on the day of, that's totally fine too. In fact, that is probably what I will do since I am planning on one topical Bible study this fall as well as continuing through my own personal read-through.
As you read, keep a journal handy. Keep these three questions in mind as you read:
1) What did you learn new this week from what you read?
2) What challenged you?
3) What did you love?
Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable you to understand what you're reading. It really helps. But most of all, just relax. Settle in and don't give yourself a bunch of pressure. Just read and enjoy. This isn't the only time you'll get to do this. That is what I remind myself of when I get frustrated or confused or - ahem - bored.
When you come back next week, be ready with a post of your own, answering those three questions. Put your post in Mister Linky so we can all stop by and see what God said to you about what you read! By the way, please feel free to join in ANY time, if you happen along this read-through group. I plan to just keep going through the Bible and sharing like this, so there's no right or wrong time to join in. And if you miss a week, that's ok, just jump in the next week.
Let's all try it out, shall we? Grab the (very basic LOL) graphic up there if you'd like to. Write a post on your blog and introduce yourself to the rest of us. Then we'll know that you're on board and we'll pray for you as you read this week!
Here it is, friends. Our first official read-through assignment. Meet us back here next Wednesday having read Matthew 1-10. I can't WAIT to see what wonderful insights you'll have, or even just to hear you say that you read it!