Archives For Bible

4278335002_3e90e703c3_mNothing has been better for my consistency in God’s Word- leading to greater intimacy with God and understanding of Him- than having a clear plan for reading through the Bible each of the last five years.

I think the reason it is so helpful is simple, in the words of Robert Murray M’Cheyne:

“Time will not be wasted in choosing what portions to read. Here the question will be solved at once in a very simple manner.”

That’s it. Not having to decide what I’m going to read every morning- I just open up and let the calendar tell me what to read – is enough to reduce the friction on the tracks to get me going.  

Some tips and helpful tools:

  • Use a plan where you read from multiple parts of the Bible every day- that keeps you from getting bogged down in more difficult books (I’m looking at you Major Prophets). The Discipleship Journal and the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan are excellent. The DJ plan has 25 days/month to give you some grace days. M’Cheyne’s method is everyday and reads through the NT and Psalms twice in a year, which I modify to read the NT and Psalms only once (to modify it, just read the first 3, instead of 4, chapters every day).
  • I highly recommend DA Carson’s For the Love of God Volumes I & II. Carson provides commentary and reflections on each day’s scriptural passages in the M’Cheyne plan. I just wake up and open up For the Love of God on my Kindle. It tells me what to read, and then gives me a brief commentary on what I read. It’s almost always insightful, and always short. For the Love of God is also available for free online.
  • I’ve written a short 2 page article on Spending Time Daily in God’s Word that gives a little more re the why’s and how’s.
  • The Gospel Coalition has a great initiative with resources for Reading the Bible in 2020 using the M’Cheyne method. 
  • My wife uses Dr. Constable’s FREE online Bible commentary as she reads through the Bible. Constable’s commentary is an unbelievable gift to the body of Christ – most commentaries are either unhelpful because they are: too obvious/short or too long/intense/parsing Greek.
    • Dr. Constable’s is like a best-of-commentary: he does all the heavy lifting, reading all the commentaries and presenting to you the best of what he found to be helpful. He’s my go-to commentary when I don’t understand a passage and he almost never disappoints. Just google “Constable Philippians” or whatever book you’re reading and it will be the first Google result.
  • The Bible Project has phenomenal, short (8 minute) summary videos for every book in the Bible. They illuminate how each book of the Bible tells one story of redemption through Christ.
  • You don’t have to start at the beginning of the year in January. And you don’t even have to finish the Bible in a calendar year (though it IS very doable; and having a measure of my progress spurs me on to keep going and not fall behind).

I’ve had a few friends push back on reading through the Bible in a year (RTtBiaY). They’ve said that it led them to duty instead of delight. They felt that they were merely checking boxes, rushing through the daily reading to get it done.  

All I can say is that it has had the opposite effect for me. Maybe it’s personality differences. For me, RTtBiaY has been incredibly motivating and life giving. I’ve found it also helps to give yourself plenty of time: if you only have 15 minutes to read, RTtBiaY will feel like duty and a checklist. But if you have 30min-hour, you can really soak in the Scriptures.

I’ve found a regular time in God’s Word, making regular process plodding through the entire Bible does not produce a rut but freedom. John Piper offers great insight on routine and structure in your Quiet Time:

“If your longing is to be spontaneous in the way you commune with God, then build discipline into your Bible reading and prayer. It sounds paradoxical. But it’s no more so than the paradox of corn spontaneously growing in a Minnesota field because of the farmer’s discipline of plowing and sowing and guarding the field. He doesn’t make the corn grow. God does. But God uses his farming disciplines as part of the process. The rich fruit of spontaneity grows in the garden that is well tended by the discipline of schedule.”  

Tim Keller, John Piper, my wife… All the great spiritual giants recommend RTtBiaY as a daily Quiet Time plan.  

My only regret is that I haven’t been doing this for the past two decades that I’ve been walking with God. Early on in walking with God I read through the Bible annually. But somewhere along the way I stopped.  

May we see Jesus more clearly in 2020 as we soak in God’s Word this year!  

What tools and tips do you have that have helped you read God’s Word?

  photo courtesy of Dwight Stone via Flickr

I started this blog because, as Russ Martin said in Tithing your Time Online: “By spending five minutes to upload the presentation from your last small group leader training you could save someone hours”.

It’s one of the primary reasons I read so many blogs – to quickly glean from others and use their thoughts for Cru talks, Bible studies, and staff coaching. I feel that it multiplies my time (requiring a lot less prep/admin time so I can spend more time with staff and students).

So hopefully this will help you save some time. Here’s a few things I’m using in my Bible study the coming weeks:

“Repentance is THE way we make progress in the Christian life. Indeed, pervasive, all-of-life-repentance is the best sign that we are growing deeply and rapidly into the character of Jesus.”

  • I’m also using this question from Tim Norman in Bible Study today: “Why do you think it’s important to read the Bible?” followed by his Devil’s Advocate questions and study of 2 Timothy 3:16–17 he lays out in his post (he just started blogging – you should definitely subscribe! And not just cause he’s my boss).
  • For the next five weeks in our Bible study, we will be reading through a chapter a week from Fight Clubs. I’ll have them read through the chapter during the week and then discuss and apply during Bible study. The “Bible” part of our Bible Study discussion will come from digging deeper into the various passages in each chapter. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this e-book is free anymore. You can preview the intro and 1st chapter here. Or buy it here.

What we fight for: “All else that is good and beautiful flows from him, but our thoughts don’t naturally drift to Christ. This is precisely why we need to fight.”

Why accountability groups fail in this fight: “We need to remove accountability [groups] from the center and replace it with the Gospel. We need to orbit around Jesus, not rules or confession. Instead of groups gathered around accountability, we must gather around Jesus. Only then will we find something truly worth fighting for.”

What are you using right now for BIble Study and Discipleship?

David Mays’ Book Notes on hundreds of books are outstanding and a GREAT way to learn, quickly.

If you’re like me, you have a list of 100 books you want to read and concepts you want to figure out.

David pulls out quotes and main points from each book. For me it’s been a great place to easily copy and paste quotes from some of my favorite books.

Those in ministry can subscribe to his weekly notes for free (you get an email when he adds a new book).

Some notes from great books to get you started (because the list is pretty overwhelming):

JI Packer – Knowing God

David Platt – Radical

Dan Roam – The Back of the Napkin

Seth Godin – Tribes

Neil Postman – Amusing Ourselves to Death

Andy Stanley – The Next Generation Leader

Alan Hirsch – The Forgotten Ways

Shane Hipps – Flickering Pixels

Jim Collins – Built to Last

Chip and Dan Heath – Made to Stick

Tim Keller – The Reason for God

Tim Elmore – Habitudes

Andy Stanley – Making Vision Stick

Andy Stanley – Communicating for a Change

Thomas L Friedman – The World is Flat

Get ESV Bibles for $1 (if you order 240). Great to have to resource students to give to their friends (CCC staff- this is half the price of ordering through the FSK site). HT: Justin Taylor.

Random Tech Tip that I’m really excited about:

This will literally save me years of my life.

Don’t you love how you can zoom in on pretty much any window with the keyboard shortcut ‘command +’ or zoom out by pressing ‘command –’  (photoshop, safari, preview, etc)?

Don’t you hate how you have to manually click on the ‘zoom’ dropdown box to get a dumb Microsoft Word page to zoom in or out?

Here’s how to fix that:

In Word, Go to Tools –> Customize Keyboard

Select the category ‘View’ on the left

In the ‘commands’ list, select ViewZoomIn

Place your cursor in the textbox next to ‘Press new keyboard shortcut’.

Press a combination of keys – I just did the standard command +

Make sure in the ‘Current keys’ box that you are not overwriting something important (you’re not – unless you use the superscript shortcut a whole bunch – or alternate hyphen shortcut for zoom out)

If you’re happy with the shortcut, click on ‘Assign’

Repeat the same operation for ViewZoomOut.

(thanks to Google search and this link for delivering me from this frustration with Word)