Monday, November 18, 2013

Operation Deepen Faith

January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014

Reading Challenge Details:
This challenge has multiple parts. (You wouldn't have to sign up for each part. But. Ideally participants would be interested in doing more than just one.) The challenge is from January 2014 through December.

I. Wonderful Words of Life. 
Goal: Read the Bible using a Bible Plan.
Note: I did not say the Bible plan had to take you through the whole Bible in a year. You might want to try the MacArthur method of reading the NT. His method has you reading one short book (an epistle, for example, like 1 John or Colossians) thirty days in a row! You might want to try Woodrow Kroll's method of reading the Bible. His plan strongly encourages you to read whole books at a time. There are plenty of books that take under thirty minutes to read. You might just be surprised at how many! You might try Professor Horner's Bible Reading Plan. His plan has you reading ten chapters a day in ten different Bible books. Sound complicated? Well, there are bookmarks to keep you going in the right direction. Here is the pdf for his system. Or there is the M'Cheyne Bible Reading Plan (pdf for this plan). Many (but not all) Bibles include reading plans. Some are plans for reading every chapter of the Bible, other plans are more highlights and overviews. The challenge isn't to get you to commit to strictly following a plan for twelve months no matter what. The challenge is to get you in the habit of reading the Bible daily--no matter what "plan" works bests for you.

II. How Firm A Foundation. 
Goal: STUDY one book of the Bible throughout the year.
Read it at least four times. (You might even challenge yourself to read it twelve times--once each month.) If possible, read the notes in a study Bible. Or read a commentary book about it. Read or listen to sermons on it. Consider reading it in different translations. Get to know that one book well. Let God speak to you through it. Online commentaries are available. Classic Bible Commentaries. Bible Gateway offers several as well: IVP New Testament Commentary Series; Reformation Study Bible; Asbury Bible Commentary.

III. Deep and Wide
Goal: read multiple books of the bible in multiple translations.
For example that might mean reading four to six books of the Bible (OT or NT, whatever you prefer) in four to six different translations. The books wouldn't have to be long books. You might choose Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, etc. Or you might choose  John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation. Or Luke, Acts, Romans, Hebrews. You can choose a group of books that makes sense to you. Books that you want to explore further. You choose the books, you choose the translations. You choose the pace.

IV.  Meditate or Memorize.
 Note the OR! Not everyone is comfortable committing to memorize Scripture. (I'm one of them!) Goal: Choose about a verse a week--or a verse every other week--to reflect and meditate on. It might mean memorizing it. It might mean writing or journaling about it. (Or blogging about it if you like.) It might mean praying it. Or studying it. It's taking the reading of Scripture into something a little more--worship. These verses would not be chosen ahead of time. I'm not asking for a list. This is all about choosing-as-you-go, choosing as you read, let Scripture speak to you.

V. Taste and See. 
Perhaps you're new to reading the Bible, not quite sure where to start, a bit intimidated... Goal: read one gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), read one NT epistle (Romans-Revelation). And consider reading one book from the Old Testament, I suggest Genesis OR Psalms. Of course, you could choose any OT book.

VI. Christian Nonfiction. 
Don't be afraid to give it a try. Read some theology. You choose the number of books to aim for. A beginner might not feel comfortable committing to more than one book. And that's fine. I want to challenge you to start somewhere. This challenge is for everyone. Not just for people who want to commit to reading twenty!

  • books about God (his attributes, his character, his names, etc.)
  • books about the birth, life, death, resurrection of Jesus; the person and work of Christ
  • books about the Bible (how to read, how to study, why it's reliable, how it is translated, etc.)
  • books about Bible characters (Moses, David, Solomon, Abraham, Jesus, Peter, etc.)
  • books about prayer, fasting
  • books about worship or worship music 
  • books about church life or church growth or church leadership 
  • books about missions (evangelism, outreach, service)
  • sermon collections (sermon note collections), essay collections
  • biographies/memoirs of theologians, preachers, missionaries, etc.
  • books about pain, suffering, tough questions, etc.
  • books about apologetics
  • books about end times

This reading challenge is hosted by Operation Actually Read the Bible. For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.