Why We're Reading Through the Bible At Refuge Church in 2018
2017 is behind us. 2018 is ahead of us. Every new year brings an opportunity to look back at what God did in the past and to look forward to what he will do in the future. And as we stand on that mountain, knowing what we’ve traveled so far and wondering what adventures lie ahead, we do so with the knowledge that God alone is unchanging—he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Just as every morning brings new mercies, every year brings new mercies as well. We get a fresh start, as it were, a new set of downs, another chance to renew our walk with God.
And for many, a new year brings another opportunity to read through the Bible. At Refuge Church, we welcome that opportunity with open arms.
At our Christmas Eve service, we announced a plan to read through the Bible together during 2018. Everyone received a guide taking them chapter by chapter, day by day, through God’s word. And now we’re four days into our journey.
Why make this a point of emphasis? Our church launched in August of 2016. We don’t have a lot of programs. We meet weekly for corporate worship, in small groups throughout the week in homes, and offer a few Bible studies throughout the week. In a sense, we don’t have much to “offer.” That’s by design. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to grow spiritually. In fact, we desire deeply that everyone in our church grows nearer to the Lord each day, thus our journey through the Bible. So what can we do with the little we have? We can read what God has given us.
Reading the Bible in a year is not a spiritual benchmark whereupon those crossing the finish line arrive at a new spiritual plane. It is not the indication that one is more serious about Christ than any other Christian. It is, however, one endeavor that a church can embark upon to move corporately toward a goal of growth. Not everyone in our church will stick with it. Not everyone will even begin. But we’re hoping a large majority will both begin and persevere, and we aim to help along the way.
One way we aim to help is by altering one of our Bible studies to align with the reading plan. Each week, I will choose a passage from the week’s reading and we will study it together during our regular Bible study time. That means in the coming weeks we will study a few passages from Leviticus. In a few months, we will find ourselves in the midst of Job. We will dig into the treasures of the Psalms. We will consider the strange words of the minor prophets. We will make our way to Paul’s epistles. We’ll navigate the weirdness of Revelation. We’ll see all the parts of the Bible, and that will be good for us.
Reading the Bible is not easy. Certain portions are hard to understand. Some are hard to read. Some, honestly, feel flat-out boring, mostly because we’ve never learned to read them properly. But when read and studied together, they become more approachable. Others see what we can’t. It takes the whole body working together.
So, beginning this week and continuing throughout the year, we will sharpen our pencils and study the Bible together. We’ll make connections across verses, turn over words to find treasures underneath, follow lines of thought to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and rejoice in the God who reveals himself to us. We will journey through the Bible together, not because it gains us any amount of righteousness but because it leads us to our Righteousness.