Dear Redeemer folk,
Whether you are a long-time believer or hardened skeptic, God has spoken and called you to hear His Word. “The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.” (Psalm 50:1) Believers need the Word because it is their very life (Deuteronomy 32:47). Jesus’ words bring joy (John 15:11). Non-Christians need the Bible because these words point to Christ, and whoever has the Son has life (John 5:39, 1 John 5:12). Jesus said, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)
How do you begin reading the Bible? Or, if you are a seasoned saint, how do you grow in understanding of His Word? There are many good reading schedules out there; let me highlight just one:
Robert Murray M’Cheyne was a Scottish minister who lived from 1813-1842. He offered this calendar of reading through the Scriptures in the hope that whoever agreed to follow the schedule would either come to know Christ or grow in their love for Christ. The schedule provides 4 chapters of reading per day. Following this calendar, you would cover the whole Bible in a year, with the Psalms and New Testament twice. There is a variety of readings, as he selected each of the 4 portions from a different section of the Bible. For example, January 1st you would read Genesis 1, Ezra 1, Matthew 1, and Acts 1. He also recommended portions of these readings for family worship/devotions. As a precaution, M’Cheyne warned against formality, self righteousness, and carelessness in reading. He also acknowledged that for some, this schedule of readings might be too much. Some modify this schedule and cover the reading over two years.
Despite these cautions, M’Cheyne highlighted several advantages of the reading plan:
1. The whole Bible will be read in a year. (Though some will adjust and cover over 2 years.)
2. Time is not wasted looking up what to read.
3. Parents and friends have regular subjects for conversation and catechizing of children.
4. Church leadership can know what the congregation is reading, and can refer to it in preaching or conversation.
5. The sweet bond of Christian love and unity is strengthened. M'Cheyne said, “We shall be often led to think of those dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, here and elsewhere, who agree to join with us in reading those portions. We shall oftener be led to agree on earth, touching something we shall ask of God. We shall pray over the same promises, mourn over the same confessions, praise God in the same songs, and be nourished by the same words of eternal life.”
If you are interested in following this calendar, you may pick up a copy of it from the church book table. You can also follow one of these links:
http://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/ --this is a page with several plans, including M’Cheyne’s.
If you ever have a question about what you are reading, let me know. I have followed this schedule since 2004, and I will be reading along with you. If you already have a plan for Bible reading that you follow, keep doing what you’re doing. The most important thing is that you search the Scriptures, and find that they testify of Christ. The Lord has given me a rich joy in appointing me as your pastor. May you enjoy the turning of the new year. May the Lord give you vision and strength. May we all “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Much love in Christ,
Posted on Wednesday // December 30, 2015 // 12:10 PM
by Chris Thomas