I have published the 2022 Bible Reading Plan.
It is available at mybethel.org, in the Bethel Family & Friends Facebook Group, and I’ll have paper copies at church. I encourage you to read one chapter of scripture five days a week. I have selected certain books of the Bible very intentionally. Our January worship series is about Exodus. Starting in June, my preaching will follow Luke for several months—so we will read Luke twice, back to back. Other selections were more random. If we read Exodus, maybe we should read Joshua and Judges too? How about some letters of Paul? Or an Old Testament prophet? Are people up to reading Revelation? Before long, a whole year’s worth of Bible reading falls into place. As we begin a new year of Bible reading, I make three observations.
- The Bible is bigger than we think. Even reading five chapters every week for a year gets us through less than a quarter of the Bible. In our third year of Bible Reading Plans, we have still never touched Leviticus, Numbers or Deuteronomy. Or Obadiah or Nahum. Or 1, 2 & 3 Peter.
- The Bible is different than we expect. The vast majority of the Bible is not about going to heaven when you die, though Christians focus intensely on that. Bible stories can be violent, sexist, and troubling in multiple ways. Reading the Bible cures one of saying that we have to do whatever the Bible says. The Bible consists of accounts of Israel’s understandings and encounters with God and of the early Christians’ understandings and encounters with God. They didn’t always get things right. But in their experiences, we find hope, guidance, and inspiration for our own understandings and encounters with God.
- The Bible bears repeated reading. I read all four gospels twice every year, and I’m only scratching the surface of their depth. Books of the Bible I once yawned through, suddenly leap off the page when I am in different circumstances. In every situation I face and that the church faces, I ask myself, “What Bible story is this like?” The better you know the Bible, the better you can find yourself in its story, the better you can find God’s guidance and will for whatever you’re going through.
St. Augustine once heard a voice tell him, “Take and read.” It changed his life. The Bible will change your life too, but only if you read it: Take and read.