“I’m not you!”
This was what a pastor told me he told a mentor of his recently. The mentor in question is a retired professor and preacher, who regularly reads through the Bible 12-13 times a year. That’s right, once a month or so. In a moment of counsel and guidance, he asked my friend how many times he had read the Bible this year.
“I’ve been busy. I’m not you.” was his reply.
“But I’ve heard you say more times than I can count that you want to be like me.”
No sooner had my friend spoken those words had I realized the weight of them. In my own life, I could think of many people I aspired to be like; people of maturity, godliness, grace, faith, and spiritual resilience.
I want to be like them, and what they all have in common is lives saturated in the word of God and in prayer.
My family and I just recently moved and are getting settled. There is no better time to establish new and improved habits than in a new beginning. So I am setting out, in this first year, to read the Bible in a year (or less).
I’ve only read the Bible through in a year once.
It’s only about 3.5 chapters a day, which equals about 15-20 minutes of reading. I can do that, right?
So I figured I’d start now (why wait until the first of a month if the motivation has struck on the 25th?) and I’d start exactly where I am in my personal devotional reading.
Thus, my year (or less) through the Bible begins on March 25, 2016, and will begin with Acts 13-15. God deserves my best, and he deserves it now; why wait?
So here are my goals:
- I want to read through the Bible devotionally once this year. This means I will be reading it and letting it speak to me and my life before reading it to speak it into others’ lives. Preaching, Lesson prep, etc. will not count toward this goal.
- I want to share what I’m learning, seeing, and hearing with you, my readers, for both accountability, and to encourage others. Some mornings I have profound times of personal worship. Others it’s more mundane. I want to share both of these with you and be as transparent as I can be in the process.
- I want to read whole books, rather than a traditional “law-wisdom-gospel-epistle” plan that takes several spread out chapters and reads in each area for only a chapter a day.
Here Goes Nothin’
Today I began my year through the Bible with Acts 13-15. Here’s the big verse I’ll share with you:
16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
Acts 14:16-17, ESV
What we see here is Paul making a very bold statement of General Revelation. There are two types of revelation from God to mankind. Special revelation is his revelation through specific means to convey a specific message, i.e. the Bible. But the Bible teaches us that God has given the world many ways to see him and know his existence.
We marvel at the beauty of the sunset, or the irreducible complexity of the human eye, or the neck of a giraffe, or any number of other things. We look at all of these things and (Christians) think, Wow! What an amazing God we worship!
But this area has been a specific area of interest for me lately. Our world is moving in a way that increasingly wants to remove God from the discussion.
And yet, it seems from history, from personal experience, and from social sciences, that an idea of a God behind it all seems to be hardwired into our brains. Theism is the default, not atheism.
And here the Bible states this principle clearly. The rains and fruitfulness of the Earth—unique in the universe—p0int to God. Food, and gladness, and purpose, and contentment, and beauty, and all of these things that make us uniquely human, are all the things that God has given us so that we would turn up to our creator and give him praise.
I believe this. I believe that theism is our default. We are born into this life looking for purpose and meaning because it is wired into us.
Tuck this away and let it help you be bold in proclaiming this truth. God alone has the answers for our deepest questions because he made us with eternity in mind.
Grace and Peace,