Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2013 Operation Deepen Faith Reading Challenge

January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013

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.)

I. Wonderful Words of Life. Goal: Try the MacArthur method of reading one (short, NT) book of the Bible 30 times in a month (or close to it). I'm not asking you to commit to twelve books in twelve months. Your goal might be to do it just once. Give it a try. See if it changes how you read a text, see if it changes you. The 30 times can be all in one translation. But if you'd like, you can read it in as many translations as you like. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, James, Titus, 1 John--any of those would be a good starting place.

II. Going Deep; 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.

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 two books. 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
  • books about the Bible
  • 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
  • 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 evangelism
  • books about end times

Sign up by leaving a comment [on the host’s site]. Be sure to let me know which of the six you're interested in joining. You don't have to commit to specifics. (You don't have to tell me which one book you're going to study. Or how many books/how many translations you're going to read. Or the number of theology books you're wanting to commit to.) Though if you have decided, then feel free to share! But you don't have to have it all exactly planned out in order to join!

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