In 2016, my quiet time each morning was focused on reading historically, sequentially, and consecutively through the entire Bible. This is better known as a chronological reading plan. I had never done so before, and had desired to see the plan of redemptive history as a story—literally God’s story. The experience was an euphoric one which proved it could be done and that such a commitment always results in spiritual growth.
READING GOD’S STORY
Reading God’s Story is a daily Bible arranged thematically by ordering Scripture in such a way that you truly are “Reading God’s Story,” His plan of redemption from start to finish. It is broken out into 52 weeks of readings (six readings per week); and uses the Holman Christian Standard Bible version (HCSB). A free audio app is also available.
UNPACKING GOD’S STORY
For 2017, my plan is to slow down and read only through the Old Testament. My hope: a slower pace will allow it all to soak in (I need all the soaking I can get)! The resource I will be using is the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible. Tony Reinke writes at DesiringGod.org about this gem:1
The new Study Bible from Zondervan will draw immediate comparison to the ESV Study Bible, my 2008 book of the year. In a side-by-side comparison of hardcovers, the Bibles are nearly identical in trim size, thickness, and page count. But the NIVZSB is strikingly heavier (76oz compared to 67oz), and the notes are a bit more extensive (1.87m words compared to 1.63m).
For this project, Don Carson assembled a team of the greatest minds in the field of biblical theology to create an unprecedented Bible that focuses on key themes in biblical theology as they develop from Genesis to Revelation, culminating in 28 thematic essays in the back.
The book does not neglect book outlines and introductions and verse-by-verse comments that you would expect in any good study Bible, but the real value is for readers who want to watch certain themes unfold, a value that may be a little less obvious for readers of the printed Bible.
Moreover, I will be teaching Sunday school class for the entire year—using this study Bible as the textbook to survey the Old Testament. My purpose is three-fold:
- Accountability — the idea is to walk through the entire OT in our daily readings, together, as a class. It will be good to look at each other and ask, “how did you do this week?”
- Answers — we’ll commit time at the beginning of each class to cover issues specific to our readings for the week; allowing for questions or observations. It will be interesting to go off on a few rabbit trails. A faster-paced reading of the Old and New Testaments wouldn’t allow time for this.
- Axioms — our studies will interact with the text to discover the historical background, literary analysis, and theological message. It wouldn’t be a class without working through these crucial truths.
One of the strengths of this new study Bible is that it approaches the Word of God theologically, unpacking God’s story book-by-book. In fact, this was the overall intent of it. Here’s a brief 2-minute video describing the project headed by D.A. Carson:
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. After all, the Book was breathed out by God Himself, and it is profitable (see 2 Tim 3:16).
Will you join me in making a commitment to read through the entire Old Testament?
If you’re local, consider attending the Sunday school class from 10:45-11:30 AM at GraceLife Church. And if you are unable to attend—but still plan to read with us, I’d be happy to include you in our closed Facebook group.
Get in touch, grab a copy, and give yourself a head-start.