The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.
Deuteronomy 7:22 NIV
I never noticed this before.
The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.
Deuteronomy 7:22 NIV
I never noticed this before.
C.S. Lewis and Sinclair Ferguson both said that they wish they had read the Bible more.
Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System is a popular and intriguing reading plan where one chapter of each of ten ‘Lists’ of the Bible are read each day. So, List 1 is the Gospels, List 2 is the , another is the historical books, the wisdom books, Psalms is by itself, etc. so that you’re reading ten chapters a day. When you’re done with each list, you start that list over. As each section starts over at a different time, you’re reading different parts of the Bible together the next time you cycle through each list.
Instead of writing more about how the system works, I’ll let you read through the excellent article Professor Horner wrote, and then you can read a little about my experience, if that matters to you, along with a list of resources.
Professor Grant Horners Bible Reading System | Scribd – The Facebook page is no longer there.
I kept my eye on this reading plan, or ‘system’, for a few years. In April of 2015, I started praying that God would motivate me to want to start with it. About two days later I thought, “Why not just start now? You know you want to.” So I started then, very slightly modifying it to nine chapters a day, for about 18 months. It didn’t seem like a year and a half. (And it’s taken me this long to write a blog post about it!)
This system is mainly for familiarity with the Bible. Certainly, we should be praying through the Bible, meditating on it, and studying it. Right now I’m meditating and praying through much of the NT with a study Bible, and also slowly praying through the Psalms. I want to get more motivated to do more studying, which I did much more of in the past. I plan on returning to Professor Horner’s system within a year or two. So this isn’t made to be an all inclusive plan for your Bible consumption. Lately, I’ve only been able to do one aspect of Bible reading at a time. I’ve been spending the same amount of time on what I’m doing now as when I was reading nine chapters a day. Since it never seemed burdensome, I thought I’d keep up the discipline and not lose the mental callouses that have been built up.
Part of the goal of this system, as the article above says, is to let Scripture interpret Scripture. This happens more as we learn more of the Bible. For me, there was much more interpretation going on than I expected. But it wasn’t just Scripture interpreting Scripture. For sure, God was giving me insight into His Word. But I think he was doing that through the discipline of reading a lot of it. It was surprising, because as Professor Horner says, you need to just get through the text and not stop to look things up. The goal is to get to know Scripture better. It is Scripture that changes us in so many ways, and ingesting large doses of it may be helpful in ways we might not realize if we’re not usually spending as much time with it as this requires.
The best way to learn Biblical theology, the best way to get you out of the world’s way of thinking and into the Bible’s is to study the Bible itself. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Read the Bible. A lot.
–James M. Hamilton Jr., What Is Biblical Theology?: A Guide to the Bible's Story, Symbolism, and Patterns
If your Bible is falling apart, you probably aren’t.
–John MacArthur, as told to Grant Horner after looking at his tattered Bible (as found in the article above)
There’s a lot more I could write about, but I’ll stop there. I haven’t seen a list of apps anywhere, so I hope these are helpful.
YouVersion – This stops after one year, unfortunately. I didn’t want to start over; I wanted to keep going with the lists where I was.
Bookmarks – Complete Bible Reading Tool – Each of the ten lists are separate, so you could read each of the ten sections at separate paces if you would want to, and also pick up where you left off if you used YouVerion.
Pocket Bible – This has a ‘year 2’. I used both of these after year one of the YouVersion app.
Traditional (paper) Bookmarks
New Bookmarks: Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System | Nathan W. Bingham
My wife used these and usually read about five chapters a day.
Lists for Printouts
At Scribd, you can sign up for a free month if you haven’t already. Then you can download the documents, as far as I can tell.
After using Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System for a year and a half, while also having a dry spell for reading books at the same time, I’ve realized the importance of Scripture and have been less into reading books. I’m praying that my ambition for outside reading will return, but God has been using this period in my life to show me some things.
Scripture is what changes us and shows us who God is. Some of us really love our books, but I have to be sure to keep the right priorities. I hate to admit that it wasn’t until last year that I was able to spend much more time with the Bible than with books.
“In time,” Luther opined, “my books will lie forgotten in the dust.” This was no lament on the Reformer’s part. In fact, Luther found much “consolation” in the possibility — or rather likelihood — that his literary efforts would soon fade into oblivion. The dim view he apparently took of his own writings was intimately related to the high view he took of Sacred Scripture. Indeed, his high view of Scripture resulted in a rather dim view of all other writings, not just his own. “Through this practice [namely, writing and collecting books],” he wrote, “not only is precious time lost which could be used for studying the Scripture, but in the end the pure knowledge of the divine Word is also lost, so that the Bible lies forgotten in the dust under the bench.” Making the same point in more colorful terms, Luther complained of the “countless mass of books” written over time which, “like a crawling swarm of vermin,” had served to supplant the place which should belong to “the Bible” in the life of the Church and her people. In sum, Luther judged that folk would be better off reading and hearing the Bible than reading and hearing anything which he or anyone else had written, and the last thing he wanted to be found guilty of was producing words which distracted anyone from the Word.
–Aaron Denlinger, Reformation 21 blog
All other books might be heaped together in one pile and burned with less loss to the world than would be occasioned by the obliteration of a single page of the sacred volume [Scripture]. At their best, all other books are but as gold leaf, requiring acres to find one ounce of the precious metal. But the Bible is solid gold. It contains blocks of gold, mines, and whole caverns of priceless treasure. In the mental wealth of the wisest men there are no jewels like the truths of revelation. The thoughts of men are vanity, low, and groveling at their best. but he who has given us this book has said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Let it be to you and to me a settled matter that the word of the Lord shall be honored in our minds and enshrined in our hearts. Let others speak as they may. We could sooner part with all that is sublime and beautiful, or cheering and profitable, in human literature than lose a single syllable from the mouth of God.
–C.H. Spurgeon, from the sermon “Holy Longings,” as quoted in Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke, pp. 27-28
Reading Hebrews, it reminded me of the passage in 1 Timothy. I’m not sure if it makes sense or not. It’s mainly 1 Timothy 6:19 that goes with the Hebrews passage. Revelation is a bonus, and reminds us of what eternal life eventually entails.
God also said,
“Lord, in the beginning you laid the foundation of the earth.
With your own hands you made the heavens.
They will come to an end, but you will live forever.
They will all wear out like clothes.
They will be taken off like a coat. You will change them like clothes.
But you remain the same, and your life will never end.
Hebrews 1:10-12 GW
Tell those who are rich in this age not to be arrogant and not to place their confidence in anything as uncertain as riches. Instead, let them place their confidence in God, who lavishly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good actions, to be generous, and to share. By doing this they store up a treasure for themselves that is a good foundation for the future, so that they can keep their hold on the life that is real.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 ISV
“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21 HCSB
Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty from the spring of living water as a gift. The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son.
Revelation 21:3-7 HCSB
I’m not into them, at least not on January 1st, but I won’t bore you with my opinion. Plenty has been written on the interwebz. I realize that some people like to evaluate their life as the calendar turns, so I thought I might gather an oft-neglected quote, some Bible passages, and ideas that might be applicable.
I was thinking about this subject right before I read the first passage in Ecclesiastes below the quote by Edwards. That’s what brought all of this up. This is just my take on this subject. If it’s not idealistic enough, or if you don’t have visions of unicorns, rainbows, and everything shiny and happy for next year, there is plenty of other material out there for you. (I’m doing my best to stay true to the subject line.) I do pray that everyone reading this post will grow closer to God and more Christ-like as the year progresses, whatever situation God has you in.
I’ve seen resolutions that contain a list of resolutions. Nobody can remember and do a long list of things. Saying that you’re going to do this, that, and the other thing will inevitably lead to failure unless you’re the 1% of the population that can do that. Jonathan Edwards couldn’t keep up with his 70 resolutions. Here is a quote from him later on in his life (emphasis added):
“My longings after it, put me upon pursuing and pressing after them. It was my continual strife day and night, and constant inquiry, how I should be more holy, and live more holily, and more becoming a child of God, and disciple of Christ. I sought an increase of grace and holiness, and that I might live an holy life, with vastly more earnestness, than ever I sought grace, before I had it. I used to be continually examining myself, and studying and contriving for likely ways and means, how I should live holily, with far greater diligence and earnestness, than ever I pursued anything in my life: but with too great a dependence on my own strength; which afterwards proved a great damage to me. My experience had not then taught me, as it has done since, my extreme feebleness and impotence, every manner of way; and the innumerable and bottomless depths of secret corruption and deceit, that there was in my heart.”
Source of Edwards quote: (Marsden, Jonathan Edwards, 53). The quote is from his “Personal Narrative” in the Yale Works, 16:797.
Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. 3 A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? 7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.
Don’t make promises to God. Make very small attainable goals. It doesn’t matter how small. Though I don’t identify with it, it seems that most people’s eyes are bigger than their discipline. They don’t have the ability to calculate what they’re capable of. This ends up making people look and feel pathetic. I know that sounds arrogant and mean, but it isn’t much different than what the Bible says. Start small and you can always progress. (As in proe-gress)
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Since most Bible reading plans are based on a calendar year (although electronic devices and other methods make that moot), many embark on a reading plan, which is the most fantastic thing anyone can do. If you for some reason have a hard time reading the Bible, set a goal of reading one paragraph a day. You can do that, right? Then move on from there. After a while you’ll find yourself liking and reading it more and more. As much as I hate to say it, maybe a one year Bible reading plan is too much for some types of people early on. Better to read a little consistently than to start out with a plan that ends up being abandoned and leaving one full of guilt.
As another example, look at exercise, if that’s something you don’t do. Instead of spending money on a health club membership (a “gym” is where the serious people workout), which takes 25 minutes to drive to and 30 minutes to get in a workout where it seems like it was worth the money, start out doing one set of bodyweight squats and one set of pushups leaning against the kitchen counter at home three times a week. You’ll find that you’ll make progress each time. This may motivate you to do more. Plus if you keep going and keep learning, when you’re elderly you’ll be able to stand up from a deep couch, pick things up off the floor, and maybe even avoid preventable diseases, God willing. Plus more importantly, you’ll feel better now (after you’ve been doing it for a while), which will help you spiritually.
Things like attitudes, behaviors, taming our tongue–those are more difficult to quantify. I think those are the types of things where we can’t work on very many at once. If we keep our mind on Scripture, God will convict us of sin and help us work on specific things. He will guide us on the right path.
Have a humble attitude. Realize that some goals may have life getting in the way.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
If we mess up, God isn’t holding it against us. Remember that we are in God’s favor because of what Christ did for us at the cross. We can always start over (whenever we want!) and know that God is for us (Romans 8:31).
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
For someone who doesn’t like resolutions, I have a lot of thoughts on them; I suppose it’s because I like to make goals and plans throughout the year. I like the structure. There is much more that could be written, but I will leave it there.
If you need an idea, here is a random resolution: Read one chapter of Proverbs a day for the month of January. Easy to keep track. That may lead you to other things you need to work on. In any case, it’s a book that should be read regularly.
I don’t know if I’ve ever written ‘must read’ other than I feel that the book Knowing God is a must read for every Christian, especially those somewhat new (advanced beginner?), as far as I’m concerned.
I found a blog post titled Bible Ignorance at Reformation21 Blog to be one of the best posts I’ve ever read. It’s aimed largely at ministers and students of theology. I’m not pointing it out for ministers; I think this applies to any student of theology, which is all of us.
You can just stop reading here and go there if you’d like.
A few years ago I made a commitment to make sure I read the Bible every single day.* What’s being said in this article makes that seem like nothing, not that I’m minimizing the importance of it. It’s nothing new; nothing we probably haven’t read before, but it really hit me this time. Matthew Henry says to pray using the language of the Bible. D.A. Carson urges us to imitate Paul in our praying. Comparing my worldly prayers to Paul’s really changed how and what I pray for. This can’t happen without knowing the Bible.
Scripture is so deep and multi-faceted, not just because of what’s written, but because the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to more and more of it the more we read and understand it (Ephesians 1:17, Hebrews 4:12). If we’re born again and the Holy Spirit resides in us, we should be glad to spend time in Scripture. If we don’t feel that way, we can pray for God to enable us, and he will do that for us–this being his will for us (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:9-11), as we strive to spend more time (Matthew 21:22, Psalm 37:4, 1 John 5:14, Philippians 2:12b).
I often think about how much time I spend reading the Bible versus how much time I spend reading books and articles. It’s difficult to know how to balance it because the books all help to know God better through better understanding of Scripture.
*If I should forget a day for some strange reason, which I’ve done a few times in the past, God is in no way displeased with me and I don’t feel guilty–just a little silly to forget something so important. I don’t read twice as much the next day to make up for it, unless I’m on a reading plan. This doesn’t happen anymore. Just thought I’d point that out so that it doesn’t sound like a legalistic or works oriented thing.
And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Exodus 33:19 NIV
For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
I was starting to read Jonah, and all of this other Scripture started coming to mind. I don’t know if the flow of it will make sense or not. It may only to me. But it’s still Scripture, so hopefully somebody will get something out of it.
Jonah immediately tried to run away from the Lord by going to Tarshish.
Jonah 1:3 (GW-all)
Where can I go ⌊to get away⌋ from your Spirit?
Where can I run ⌊to get away⌋ from you?
If I climb upward on the rays of the morning sun
⌊or⌋ land on the most distant shore of the sea where the sun sets,
10 even there your hand would guide me
and your right hand would hold on to me.*
*This is a good and comforting thing, not a scary thing. God isn’t following us to pounce on every mistake. (Also see the star below.)
I always do my best to have a clear conscience in the sight of God and people.
Examine me, O God, and know my mind.
Test me, and know my thoughts.
24 See whether I am on an evil path.
Then lead me on the everlasting path.
Having a clear conscience is from living a holy life in the sight of God and other people. We have to be careful not to reason ourselves into a good conscience. It’s only God’s truth as we know it that determines if our conscience is clear. We need God to keep refining our knowledge of truth, and keep praying Psalm 139:23-24. Living with a clear conscience is a more restful way to live instead of trying to outrun (or outsmart [Gal 6:7 ?]) God.
On a tangent, if I haven’t already gone on one, is that I’ve never liked the idea of ‘accountability partners’. We are always accountable to God! First and foremost. If we need to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other (James 5:16), that’s great. If we’re deep in some sort of sin, we need to confide in someone wise who can guide us, so that we can really deal with it.
We need to live our lives as though God is always there with us–which He is, even if we ignore him (Romans 6:8). But not wracked with shame or unhealthy guilt. It’s a nice place to be, living comfortably with God and what He gives us, even though we mess up regularly and life gets difficult.
*“Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Place my yoke over your shoulders, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble. Then you will find rest for yourselves 30 because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Many people wonder why there are so many English translations and agonize about it. They often say, “Why don’t we put these resources into making translations for other languages?” Have you thought that the scholars that are working on English translations don’t know those other languages? Do you expect them to go out and learn them? You may say yes, of course. Then why don’t you? (You who think this way.)
Another spurious reason is money. I think this is quite an accusation. Do you really think all those translators and publishers are money grubbers and get rich off of those?
I’m just thankful we have them and pray that God will bring people up who are talented enough and have the ambition to translate the Bible in languages that need it. Otherwise, I don’t wring my hands over it. I’m just thankful for what we have. There are other things to be more upset about–meaning how many English Bible translations we have.
But for those who do wonder about this, consider what Henry Clarence Thiessen had to say in Should New Testament Greek Be “Required” in Our Ministerial Training Courses? (PDF File)
Perhaps we should stop to inquire as to the reason for the many translations. Is it because of pecuniary reward or the ambition for honor? Possibly these considerations may enter in somewhat in some cases; but the writer believes that there is a deeper reason than that. It seems to him that scholar after scholar has felt that all existing translations fall short in many instances of giving the exact shade of meaning in the original. Becoming fascinated with the richness of meaning in the Greek text, he has yielded to the impulse to try to improve on the existing renderings, and so has added his own version. Thus the presence of the many English translations in reality argues for the insufficiency of translations when one is concerned about absolute accuracy in his study.
Since this was written in 1934, maybe we can say that the above is now less of a reason than before, but it still may give some insight as to why new translations are still being published.
I’m glad, albeit for selfish reasons, that the translators and publisher of God’s Word translation decided to do yet another one. It’s the first translation where I feel like I’m not reading a translation, but just the Bible in English, even if it has what I think are a couple of major flaws. But that’s quite a few less than any other translation for me. Say what you want about the convoluted-grammar/archaic-vocabulary translations being more “accurate”. I love my Bible and read it everyday.
I was once told of the minister who sat in his car before he went away and prayed ‘Please Lord look after the church while I’m gone’, to which the Lord supposedly replied ‘Who do you think looks after it while you’re here.’ Now of course we know that’s not true but do we? There are many Christian leaders who talk about God speaking to them audibly, my question is what accent does he have? Could you have recorded it?
God speaks clearly, finally, definitively in the Bible. The Holy Spirit takes the Word of Scripture and speaks to us but not in an audible voice. The Holy Spirit comforts, bears witness with our Spirit, he is the revealer and enlightener of Scripture but does he speak audibly and does he do that often? I would have huge doubts.
The Preacher says, “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth” (Ecclesiastes 5:2 NKJV). Some bold souls who forget this try to storm heaven’s gates and search God’s secret chambers. “God told me to move to Kansas,” they then announce. “God gave me a revelation for you.” “God will heal your son.” This is the sort of thing against which God commanded Jeremiah to warn Israel, and essentially the charge against the “false prophets” is that they have used God instead of confining themselves to his word:
I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied…Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God afar off?…Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, “declares the LORD.” Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness.
Jeremiah 23:21, 23, 31–32
Michael Horton, A Place for Weakness: Preparing Yourself for Suffering
We can learn how God wants us to live and ‘hear’ him speak to us every time we open up the Bible and read it. We might not always get a revelation of something we never realized before or have some bit of knowledge crash into our head (that’s what it feels like sometimes) but it’s always ‘profitable’ for us to do and the Holy Spirit will always use it. God is living and active through Scripture and it breaks my heart that many people don’t want to hear God speak to them.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
90 Days Thru the Bible: A Devotional Journey from Walk Thru the Bible by Chris Tiegreen
This book is for people who have read at least some of the Bible in the past and know some of the very basic ideas of Christianity, and terms we use and find in the Bible. I think anyone who is other than a brand new Christian or advanced theologian could benefit from it.
In the Introduction, the author writes about how “The pages of many Bibles are ruffled in predictable spots and pristine in equally predictable spots.” I’ve seen people chuckle at this regarding their own Bible, but I think it’s a pretty serious indictment on how low of a view many people have of the book that they claim to base their life on.
Tiegreen stresses how important it is to read the whole thing, but I don’t think he does this enough. I think it should be emphasized how imperative it is to read the whole Bible and not just use this book as ‘Cliff’s Notes for the Bible’, which I would be afraid that many people would. The reason I write this is because he does such a good job at summarizing the Bible and meeting his objective of the book being “an overview, but it’s designed to go much deeper than that–more like admiring the beauty of each piece of a puzzle and contemplating how it contributes to the whole picture. In the process, we will encounter the major characters, events, and themes of the Bible and discover a divine flow that connect them all.”
As he does this, it becomes inconsistent in how he goes about it–sometimes just writing an overview, sometimes giving Scripture references as “takeaways”, sometimes providing application for today, etc. This may not be a bad thing. Not every book of the Bible is consistent with each other either, and it may be the variety some people need. At the same time, the book is in a very pleasing and easy to read flowing narrative style, without information presented using bulleted lists, tables, etc.
I also wonder if someone would be wanting to add to their reading if they’re reading the Bible in 90 days. Why 90 days? This overview could be used with any reading plan. As it turns out, he does have a book titled The One Year Walk with God Devotional: 365 Daily Bible Readings to Transform Your Mind and at 720 pages (this one is 256), would give him more time to develop his objective plus it’s extremely highly rated. This may sound cynical, but it seems that it has become popular for publishers to put out condensed or abridged versions of other books. In this case that would be counter-intuitive though, because someone who would want to read the Bible in 90 days (I wonder how many people really will–cynical again) wouldn’t shy away from the 720 page book. I have no idea of the content of the other one.
I think the strength of this book, other than him doing a good job of what he set out to do, are the chapters on the Gospels. The author does a great job of describing what each one is focused on and it gives the reader a great picture of the differences between them.
He also gives a sense of the chronology when weaving through the various books which we know aren’t in chronological order of events.
I think this is a very good book, even if inconsistent and this reviewer wondering why a 90 day version was put out after a denser 365 day book. If you are looking for a good, short synopsis of the true story of Scripture, no matter your reading plan, this would be a good choice.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a free copy of this book for the purpose of my unbiased review.
Find it at:
Five faithful sayings:
1 Tim. 1:15, 3:1, 4:8; 2 Tim. 2:11-13; and Titus 3:8
Put your cursor over the references to see the Scripture if your computing device is able.
I was unaware of the “Five Faithful Sayings” until now. Yes, I was raised in a cave.
After a lifetime of studying the Bible, it is simple realism, not mock humility, to acknowledge that we are still paddling in the shallows of revealed truth.
–Edward Donnelly, Biblical Teaching on the Doctrines of Heaven and Hell
We cannot ignore the Bible and at the same time honor Jesus Christ.
–Warren Wiersbe, Let’s Go!: The Epistle to the Hebrews for Twenty-First Century Christians
From the blog post Christ Speaks to Us – Are We Gonna Listen? By Douglas K. Adu-Boahen at Wired for Truth
People understandably want to hear from God. Some mystics will be quiet before God and expect to hear Him speak. But as many people have said, if you want to hear from God, open up your Bible and read it! Sometimes God will give you a revelation–something you haven’t noticed before. Other times you’ll read what you’ve read before and not seem to get anything new from it. But it’s still the living God of the universe, who created everything, including you (Psalm 139:13-16) that you are “hearing” by reading. If you expect God to make decisions for you, especially through Scripture, you may be disappointed. (See God’s Will – Do Whatever You Want) We need to honor Scripture and not expect it to be what it isn’t. The more we read it and know what God’s will is, the easier it will be for us to make decisions, though there will always be the especially difficult ones. If we expect to just go to it when we need it as a Magic 8-Ball, we are dishonoring it and God will not honor that.
A former pastor said, “Before my head hits the pillow, my nose is in the book.” (Not necessarily at night, but to make sure everyday) I’ve lived by that for 2-3 years now. I wish I would have consistently for the last 25.
This is part of the Exegetical Insight of Chapter 7, each written by a different author, from William Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, this one written by Verlyn Verbrugge. I’m going to do a bit of explanation to make it more understandable to those who know nothing about Greek (which is practically me), to try to put it into my own words, which is very risky, and expand on it. So let me know where I get it wrong.
The typical Christmas card greeting is, “Peace on earth, good will toward men” taken from, Luke 2:14b KJV “on earth peace, good will toward men.” This is what the angels sing to the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem.
Since the 1600s when the KJV was written and revised, many more older transcripts (closer to the originals, which isn’t necessarily better but in this case they are numerous) have been found. Because a letter was dropped in the manuscripts used to translate the King James/Authorized Version, the word for ‘good will’ or ‘favor’ changes from the nominative (subject), to the genitive (generally, possessive).
Verbrugge says, on pg. 43 of the 2nd Edition:
[T]he peace that the angels sang that belonged to the earth as a result of the birth of Christ is not a generic, worldwide peace for all humankind, but a peace limited to those who obtain favor with God by believing in his Son Jesus (see Romans 5:1). What a difference a single letter can make in the meaning of the text!
ESV “on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
NIV “on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
NLT “peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
NRSV “on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
I thank God it’s not like computer programming where one wrong character will bring the whole thing down! I’ve had my share of those experiences. These improvements made in translations don’t change any major doctrine (teaching) of the Bible and in fact goes directly against the arguments of those think the Bible is handed down and changed by each generation. Scholars and archeologists are actually going the other way and getting closer to the original manuscripts. We can be confident that the Bible contains God’s Word which is comprised of accurate truth which brings salvation to those who hear or read it, believe what it says and trust Jesus Christ for their salvation as opposed to being a good enough person or whatever ideas of their own one may have.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 NLT
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
For more context of the original verse:
Matthew 10:34-42 NLT
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. 35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ 37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. 40 “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. 42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”
And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.
Jesus came to bring us peace with God.
This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel– that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil– for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good– for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. (emphasis added to keep you awake)