Posts Tagged “Reading the Bible”

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7 (NIV)

 If you are following the Treasure Seeking in God’s Word reading schedule with us, you are reading through the Proverbs this month. I have to be honest with you – I’m not a huge fan of the book of Proverbs. Yes, I recognize its value, but I don’t enjoy reading it – largely because of the writing style. The content is good (uh…it is the Word of God, perhaps I should say the content is inspired and holy and awesome – “good” seems a bit pathetic now that I think about it)…but the writing style is off-putting for me. I guess God’s Word has styles for everyone, right? Still, whether it’s my style of preference or not, I recognize the value of reading the whole Word of God, so I’m in Proverbs.

Just in case I didn’t recognize the value of reading Proverbs, the first four verses describe that value:

 1These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
Proverbs 1:1-4 (NLT)

The purpose of the proverbs is to teach us wisdom and discipline. Who wants that? OK, most of us want wisdom, but most rebel at discipline. (Have you eaten healthy and exercised regularly this week?) These verses tell us the consequences of making the Proverbs part of our lives:

  • Gives us insight to the wise
  • Teaches us to live successful lives (yes, we learn that, it’s not a matter of luck)
  • Gives us insight to the simple – in other words, we can understand people, both wise and simple
  • Gives knowledge and discernment to the young – we don’t have to wait until we’re older and more experienced, the Proverbs can give us wisdom while we are still young

Those are pretty valuable benefits of embracing Proverbs – the Solomon, the writer of the Proverbs, says they are a source of wisdom and knowledge. In today’s reading, Solomon takes his discussion of wisdom further. While the first chapter taught the purpose of the proverbs, chapter 4 teaches us about the value of wisdom.

6Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
7Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
9She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.”
10Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.
11I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
12When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4:6-12 (NIV)

“Do not forsake wisdom” Solomon writes – because here are some of the benefits:

  • Wisdom watches over us – it protects us and gives us security
  • Wisdom exalts us – it will bring us success
  • Wisdom brings us honor
  • Wisdom will “set a garland of grace on your head” –our lives will be characterized by grace
  • Wisdom crowns our heads with beauty – our lives will be beautiful (to ourselves and others)
  • Wisdom leads to a long life
  • Wisdom keeps us from stumbling over the pitfalls of life

If you want security, success, honor, grace, beauty and a long life that avoids the major pitfalls this world would throw at you, what you really want is wisdom. The book of Proverbs consistently tells us that wisdom is something we must pursue, practice and guard. In other words, it doesn’t come naturally. It also tells us that wisdom is found at the feet of the Lord. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning [or foundation] of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10, NIV/NLT)

By pursuing God, we are pursuing wisdom. Let’s continue together.

You can download our Treasure Seeking in God’s Word from this blog – it provides a schedule for reading through the Bible in 2014. Starting late? No problem. Start today and read a little more each day and you’ll catch up to us, or use the schedule as is and finish a year from today. Either way, you’re seeking treasure – God’s Word is full of them!

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Old Testament
We’ll read from three Old Testament books this month: Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. In Exodus, we’ll read one of my favorite passages:

15Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
Exodus 33:15-16

If the Lord doesn’t go with me, I don’t want to go, but when He does, His presence ought to change me and the way I live such that the rest of the world notices a difference.

Leviticus is a manual for Old Testament priestly responsibilities. The New Tesatments teaches that we are a “a chosen people, a royal priesthood.” According to the Zondervan NASB Study Bible, “the key thought of Leviticus is holiness – the holiness of God and man (man must revere God in holiness). In Leviticus, spiritual holiness is symbolized by physical perfection.”

Finally, the book of Numbers – Israel is being counted, a census is being taken. I find this book easiest to read in the New Living Translation. It’s not all counting, though. The Hebrew title of the book is “In the Wilderness” and chronicles 38 of the years the Israelites spent in the wilderness. It tells of Isarel’s journey from Mt. Sinai to the border of Canaan.

New Testament
After finishing the book of Matthew, we’ll read the first sixteen chapters of Acts. Acts continues the storyline of the gospels. While it’s called the “Acts of the Apostles,” many feel it would more accurately be called the “Acts of the Holy Spirit” because it records the coming of the Holy Spirit and His working in the lives of the first century church.

Acts begins with Peter as the most prominent of the apostles but transitions to a focus on the Apostle Paul as he carries the message of the gospel to the Gentile world.

Enjoy your March reading!

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of March’s recommended reading plan, click here.

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Have you been blessed by January’s reading?
I sure have – I’ve enjoyed January’s reading a great deal. Perhaps it’s because we’re reading a bit slower than last year. Both my husband and I sensed Jesus’ great compassion as we read the final chapters of John. The man who had just been betrayed by all his followers and crucified by his enemies built a fire on the beach and had breakfast ready when his friends who had worked all night came in. He asked them to put some of their fish on the fire – making them feel like they had contributed to the meal. He commissioned Peter, I believe as a way of assuring him that his betrayal had not disqualified him for ministry. Graham Cooke is fond of saying “Jesus is the kindest person I know.” This scene bears witness to that statement.

The Gospel According to Matthew
In February we’ll read another of the Gospels – the book of Matthew. It is told from a hugely different perspective, but it’s the same story. Matthew was writing to Jewish Christians and emphasizes that Jesus fulfills the Jewish Scriptures. The book is written in the style of an ancient biography. Interestingly, ancient biographies were often organized topically instead of chronologically, and that’s the approach Matthew took. You’ll find the sayings of Jesus organized according to topic, not in the order Jesus said them.

It’s also interesting that the book of Matthew, or one of the documents Matthew used as a source when writing the Gospel, may have been used as a training manual for new Christians. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener) says this about the book of Matthew:

[Matthew] portrays Jesus as the epitome of Israel’s hopes for his Jewish audience, but also emphasizes missions to the Gentiles: outreach to the Gentiles is rooted both in the Old Testament and in Jesus’ teaching.

Sounds like good study material to help us become well-grounded believers. Jesus is not only the epitome of Israel’s hopes, He is the epitome of our hope as well.

Finally, you’ll find my husband’s life verse in Matthew:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33

“All these things” covers a lot of territory! What a challenge to believe this and live it when things are tough!

From Genesis to Exodus
We’ll also finish the book of Genesis and begin to read through Exodus. Egypt, Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, plagues, miraculous deliverances, manna, water from rocks, Jethro’s visit, The Ten Commandments – all this and more await us! What an adventure the book of Exodus is. Consider reading it with that perspective. Imagine yourself as one of the Israelites as you read through the book. How would you have responded in each situation?

There are certain passages that I just fall in love with every time I read them. Genesis 1:1 is one of them:

In the beginning God created…

I don’t know why, but those words are magical to me.(Magical in a good sense – in the sense that they inspire awe every time I hear or read them.) Another two verses are those that begin the Ten Commandments:

“I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in Egypt.
“Do not worship any other gods besides me.”

Exodus 29:2-3

Be prepared to be challenged! He has rescued us from slavery to sin and demands that we worship no other gods beside Him.

Enjoy your February reading! Experience the adventure!

The recommended reading schedule is below.

To download a PDF of February’s recommended reading plan, click here.


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A New Year, A New Plan – Let’s keep reading!

In 2009, our Resting at the River’s Edge reading plans took us through the entire Bible in a year. That’s a great thing to do. I love the impact Scripture can have by reading large portions – we get the “big picture” that is easily missed when we only read short passages.  Sometimes what happens, though, is that we fly through what we’re reading without taking time to appreciate individual passages or Scriptures and letting them speak to our hears and spirits.

Our reading plans for 2010 and 2011 will give you more time for just that. They will take us through the New Testament each year, and spread the Old Testament out over the two years. We’ll repeat a couple of foundational OT books both years, but the entire plan will have us reading only three chapters a day, five days a week.

Why is it we only plan readings for five days a week? It’s not that I’m trying to encourage you to take the weekend off. Rather, it’s that I recognize that life rarely goes as planned. Planning three chapters each day for only five days each week provides a relief valve for those days when we read less than we’d hoped we might.

Some people have expressed that they don’t like reading from multiple books at a time. In this plan we’ll only be reading from two books at a time – typically an Old Testament and a New Testament book. We’re not legalistic here! Feel the freedom to read the entire OT book and then the entire NT book (or vice versa, of course) instead of reading from both each day.

So, we begin 2010 with the Book of Beginnings – Genesis, and are pairing it with the Gospel of John. Both look at the the creation of the world. Isn’t it amazing that we serve a God who existed before the world was created? In all honesty, that goes beyond what I can comprehend. What came before the beginning? Eternity past, and God was there all the time – just as He’ll be there in eternity future, after this world is long, long gone.

I hope you’ll be there too. You’ll learn as you read through Genesis that God’s plan has always been to provide a way for you to spend eternity with Him. In John, you’ll learn that Jesus is that way.

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17

Enjoy your January reading! The recommended reading schedule is below.

Take some time to meditate over verses that jump out at you as you read this month.

To download a PDF of January’s recommended reading plan, click here.

2010 RARE January Reading Plan JPG

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