In a previous post, I had shared my intentions that I wanted to slow down by reading only the Old Testament in daily devotions for 2017. Since that time a few have asked for more information. Below is a quick rundown of this year’s plan in question-and-answer fashion.
Why the NIV Zondervan Study Bible?
Each year I choose a different translation and format of the Bible for my devotional reading. For example, I have used The MacArthur Daily Bible in the New King James Version (NKJV), and Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible in the Holman Christian Standard (HCSB).
This practice of reading different translations (within diverse reading programs) can help us to see God’s Word more clearly. You may have a favorite, but be careful. No single translation can accurately express everything found in the original languages. Try reading a Bible passage that you are extremely familiar with in a new translation. The nuances can be profound.
Specifically, I chose the NIV Zondervan Study Bible this year for three reasons. First, the notes are some of the best I’ve ever seen (taking a biblical theology approach to Bible study, extraordinary and explanatory, along with 28 essays). Second, D.A. Carson was its general editor. I’ve come to appreciate much from this man’s ministry. Third, the graphics, charts, and photos I find to be equal if not superior to that of the ESV Study Bible (which are stellar in their own right).
Can I use a different Bible and/or translation?
Of course! Just be certain that you’re committed to understanding the text before you. Especially as it relates to key interpretative issues in the Old Testament. Good notes will go a long way, as we want to be challenged by what we are reading. As David Platt has said, “God’s Word is not given to us for information, it’s given to us for transformation.”1
What is the reading schedule?
On average, two-to-three chapters each day, Monday through Saturday, with Sunday’s off. (You should already be under the preaching and teaching of the Word on that day!)
Here’s a PDF of our 2017 OT Reading Schedule.
When and where is the Sunday school class?
The Sunday school class will begin on 1/15 at GraceLife Church outside of Hershey, PA (10:45-11:30 AM) and last throughout the entire year.
We’ll use the NIV Zondervan Study Bible as our guide, including its introductions, study notes, and articles. Along with the devotional 52-week OT reading schedule mentioned above. This class will cover all nine major doctrinal classifications (e.g., angelology, anthropology, etc.).
What if I can’t attend the class?
No worries. If you are on Facebook, I’ll be posting many of the materials from the class in a closed group—along with a forum of sorts, creating weekly threads where you can post questions and comments from what you’ve been reading. Think of it as a way to redeem some of your social media time each day.
Do you desire to grow spiritually in 2017?
There is no better way for this to occur than to resolve to be in His Word daily. Does your morning (or evening) routine need to change? This is an intentional way to learn and love God more.
And don’t take for granted the opportunity to be doing this with others. Accountability and encouragement help us to go the distance when we are tempted to quit, get sick, or overwhelmed by life. Invite your family and friends to join you on this journey. The first month’s reading is almost entirely in Genesis (a 3.5 hour commitment without study notes), which makes it reasonable to dive in and catch-up at any time.
As always, get in touch with questions—and please know I’m praying that you will take this step with me: the daily reading of God’s Word.