The twenty-sixth week of 2022 has just wrapped up. If you started the one-year Bible-reading plan with me back in January, you’re halfway through the Bible now!
A little bit of reading each day sure adds up! Just think: you’ve now read these books in their entirety:
The Old Testament
- GENESIS. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” You could preach a month of sermons on this fact alone. Genesis is the book of beginnings. In it we see God’s perfect creation, the tragic fall of mankind, and the blessed hope that God will provide a route for our salvation.
- EXODUS. In this book we learn of God’s overwhelming might in the face of all human power, even the power of a global empire. He chose Moses, a man “not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since [God had] spoken unto [him], but slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10), and who was already an old man besides, to defeat Pharoah himself - the undisputed king of the ancient Near East superpower. It wasn’t even close. Moses later received the Ten Commandments upon Mount Sinai, and his brother Aaron established the Israelite priesthood and sacrificial system that, for thousands of years, prefigured the perfect sacrifice of Christ.
- LEVITICUS. Leviticus is to the Exodus as the Epistles are to the Gospels. It records the details of the walk, worship, and service of a people redeemed from the land of slavery and the house of bondage. The key word of this book is “holiness,” occurring 87 times (see Lev 19:2). In this book we begin to apprehend the holiness of the LORD God.
- NUMBERS. A dry read for some. Nevertheless, if you keep the right perspective, you will find astounding truth even in a 4,000+ year-old census. These were real people who lived and died and were faithful to God, and though their names may not exactly roll off your tongue, each individual person was important to God himself.
- DEUTERONOMY. The fifth and last of the great Books of Moses. It contains the parting advice of Moses to his people before his death at the cusp of the promised land. It summarizes the wilderness wanderings of the people of Israel and unfolds the moral judgement of God on the same.
- JOSHUA. “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.” Though Moses’ sin of pride kept him out of the promised land at last, God was still faithful to his promise. Joshua, son of Nun, delivered the people of Israel at long last from the wilderness and into the land of promise. (Could there be a plainer prefiguring of Christ? Remember that “Joshua” or “Yəhōšūa” (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ), which was the name of Jesus, means “The LORD is salvation.”)
- JUDGES. The Judges were thirteen men raised up to deliver Israel during the age of apostasy and strife following the death of Joshua. Through these men, God continued his personal government of Israel. “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Jud 17:6). This book highlights the utter failure of Israel (and, by extension, all human governments) and the persistent grace of God.
- RUTH. The wonderful story of Ruth, a Gentile woman grafted into the nation of Israel because of her great faith. She became the great-grandmother of David - meaning she has the honor of being one of Christ’s very ancestors according to the flesh. Teach your daughters about her rather than any feminist icon.
- 1 SAMUEL. The personal history of Samuel, the last of the thirteen Judges. The priesthood, established so long ago under Aaron Moses’ brother, had suffered moral failure under Eli when Samuel attempted to make the office hereditary counter to the instructions of God. However, as a prophet Samuel was faithful, and his testimony begins the long line of the writing prophets. In this book we see the Israelite theocracy under the Judges come to an end, and the line of kings begin with Saul.
- 2 SAMUEL. As 1 Samuel marks the failure of man in Eli, Saul, and Samuel, this book marks the restoration of order through the enthroning of King David, a man after God’s own heart. David himself, in his last words, describes the millenial kingdom which is yet to come.
- 1 CHRONICLES. This book declares the history of the kingdom of Israel from the death of Saul, through David’s reign until his death and the acession of his son Solomon.
- About half of the PSALMS.
- PROVERBS. “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!” (Prov 16:16) In this book, we learn the importance of wisdom through a collection of proverbs (wisdom sayings) collected by King Solomon and passed down to his son. We would do well to heed his instruction and seek wisdom with all our strength. “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding!” (Prov 23:23)
- SONG OF SOLOMON. Primarily this book is the expression of marital love as rightly created and intended by God, and the vindication of such love against the twin errors of lust and asceticism. The love of a man for his wife prefigures the love of Christ for his church.
The New Testament
- The Gospel according to MARK. The gospel of Jehovah’s “Servant, the Branch” (Zech 3:8). Where the other Gospels declare the deity, the teachings, or the life of Christ, Mark declares his mighty works. This is the Gospel of the servant character of the incarnate Son. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” (Mk 10:45).
- Paul’s letter to the GALATIANS. Paul’s great defense of the pure message of the Gospel against the Judaizing legalizers; no admixture of law-conditions can be permitted which qualify or destroy the Gospel’s message of pure grace.
- Paul’s letter to the EPHESIANS. In this book Paul sets forth the believer’s exalted position through grace; the truth of the body of Christ; and how we are to walk in this position.
- Paul’s letter to the PHILIPPIANS. Here Paul writes an epistle on the Christian experience. Unlike other epistles, soundness of the church at Philippi is assumed - we see no corrections as we do elsewhere. Rather, it is an exhortation to abide in the faith whatever your present circumstances. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21).
- (Paul’s?) letter to the HEBREWS. The author of Hebrews is not known for certain, though some take it to be Paul. Regardless, the character of this book is Pauline to the core: it follows the method of Paul’s synagogue addresses. It was written to confirm Jewish Christians by showing that Judaism had come to an end through Christ’s fulfillment of the entire law. Hebrews is a series of contrasts between the good things of Biblical Judaism and the better things of Christ.
- Paul’s letter to the COLOSSIANS. This epistle contains Paul’s corrections to the church at Colossae: First, a warning against the error of ascetic legalism (“touch not, taste not”), by which its practitioners mortified the body; Second, the error of false mysticism, “intruding into those things which he hath not seen” - the result of speculation by philosophers (rather “leaning on one’s own understanding”).
- The Gospel according to LUKE. Luke’s Gospel declares the “Son of Man,” emphasizing Christ’s humanity in addition to his deity. Luke relates those things that demonstrate how entirely human Christ was; for instance, this Gospel gives the most complete account of his childhood and youth. This guards against the spirit of Antichrist, which denies that Christ came in the flesh (1 John 4:3). However, Luke is careful to protect the kingship and divinity of Christ: Luke’s is the Gospel of him that is called “the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32).
- The ACTS of the apostles. Here Luke continues the account of Christianity he began in his Gospel. In the “former treatise” he told what Jesus “began both to do and teach”; here, what Jesus continued to do and teach by way of the Holy Spirit. In the Acts, we have the record of the first Christian martyr, demonstrating that God’s word never returns void.
- Paul’s letter to the ROMANS. This book is possibly the greatest treatise on human nature ever produced.
- Paul’s 1ST letter to the THESSALONIANS. Here Paul confirms young disciples in the truth, exhorts them to pursue holiness, and comforts them concerning “those who have fallen asleep.” Written A.D. 54, this epistle demonstrates how rich in doctrine the primitive Church already was: in a mission of about one month, Paul had taught all the great doctrines of the faith (Election, 1:4; the Holy Spirit, 1:5, 6, 4:8, 5:19; Assurance, 1:5, the Trinity, 1:1, 5, 6; Conversion, 1:9; the second coming of Christ, 1:10, 2:19, 3:13, 4:14-17, 5:23; the Christian walk, 2:12, 4:1; Sanctification, 4:3, 5:23, the day of Jehovah, 5:1-3; the Resurrection, 4:14-18; the tri-partite nature of man, 5:23.)
- Paul’s 2ND letter to the THESSALONIANS. The Thessalonian converts were “shaken in mind” and “troubled” by interlopers who had spread the false teaching that their persecutions were part of the “great and terrible day of the LORD,” from which they had been taught to expect deliverance by Christ. “Let no man deceive you by any means,” Paul advises, “for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (Antichrist).” Today you can take comfort in the same: there is still time to place your trust in Christ.
Here’s to another 6 months!
If you haven’t been on the plan (or if you fell off the wagon), don’t fret. You can start next year - or at any time! My bibleplan script can generate the plan for any calendar year; feel free to use it for 2023. I would also invite whoever wants to help: why not take a stab at improving the source code to allow creating a plan that starts anytime, not just in January?
(Of course, let’s be honest: scripts and such are nice tools, but as with any other pursuit in life, your tools aren’t going to do it for you!)
To all who are studying the word of God, whether on this plan or another: my very best wishes in your scholarship. May the Holy Spirit illuminate these truths for you day by day.