131 – Let’s Read Through The Bible Together in 2006!
“Let’s read through the Bible together in 2006!” What a great slogan to challenge people to read the Bible next year!
“Why Is There Such Little Power Here?”
A church consultant used to go into local churches, look around, then ask, “Why is there such little power here?”
One day several religious leaders asked Jesus a question. They spoke about a man who was married, then died. His widow married the man’s brother, then he died too. Next, she married a third brother who also died. And so on, until she had married seven brothers. Then the leaders asked, “Whose husband will she be in heaven?”
Jesus replied, “Your problem is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29).
Between now and the end of the year, why not challenge your family, your small groups, and your church to join you in reading through the Bible in 2006? Suggest the idea to your pastor. Let your pastor lead out, but also express a willingness to be the point person if your pastor is too busy. Arrange for a bulletin and pulpit announcement, “Let’s read through the Bible together in 2006!” Have someone share a testimony.
Is this a good idea? Will it work?
What Happened in 2005
About a year ago, I challenged the 150 men who attend our Friday morning Man in the Mirror Bible Study by saying, “Let’s read through the Bible together in 2005!”
Over 70 men accepted the challenge! We purchased some One Year Bibles, and just did it. During the year I occasionally asked, “How are you doing?” Not only did most of the men keep it up, but they were excited about how God was meeting, teaching, and changing them.
One morning Sam walked into our Bible study with a glowing face and greeted me warmly. In the five or six years I’d known Sam, this was a first!
“Has something changed in your life?” I asked him.
“What are you talking about?” he replied in surprise.
“Well, you seem different,” I said. We exchanged pleasantries, then he headed for the coffee and donuts.
Two weeks later, the same thing happened. Sam walked into the Bible study and gave me a surprisingly cheerful greeting.
“Okay,” I said. “Something’s different about you.”
“I don’t know why you would say that,” said Sam.
“Because it’s true! And I’d like to understand more about it! Could we have breakfast after the meeting?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said suspiciously.
Over breakfast Sam shared a lot about his early life. Then I peppered him with questions about his present life. Nothing conspicuous jumped out that would account for the change in his demeanor.
As we were about to leave, Sam mentioned a verse he had read in The One Year Bible. “You’re doing the read through the Bible program?” I asked.
“Yes. I’ve been reading the Bible every day…I’m up to date,” he said. Unbeknown to the other men at his table, Sam had accepted the challenge to read through the Bible in 2005. He was right up to date!
“That’s it!” I said. “That’s the correlation! You have been reading through God’s Word on your own for the first time, your life is changing, and you’re not even aware of it. This is awesome!”
Sam was being transformed by the powerful Word of God. Sam was encouraged, and the experience reinforced his desire to know God better.
Jim, another man at the Bible study, put it this way: “I’m learning so much. I’ve always wanted to read through the Bible, but could just never get motivated. This is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. It’s interesting to learn how God has worked in other generations. And reading it for myself has changed my life.”
How to Get the Daily Readings
Here are some ways to get the daily readings…
- You can encourage people to purchase The One Year Bible—it includes daily readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. Better: Purchase a stock of The One Year Bibles and sell them on Sundays at church.
- You can download the One Year Bible reading plan from the Internet and look up the texts in your existing Bible (www.oneyearbibleonline.com).
- You can purchase read-through-the-Bible-in-a year plans from your local Christian bookstore—small pamphlets that break the Bible up into 365 readings.
- You can subscribe to The Fourth Seed, the new daily devotional for men and leaders which has a read-through-the-Bible-in-a year plan included in each day’s devotion. Learn more at http://www.maninthemirror.org/thefourthseed.htm
Tip #1: A Prayer
Write down a brief prayer that expresses your desire for the year. 2006 will be the 19th time I’ve read the Bible cover to cover. In 1999, I started writing down a prayer for the year on the first page of my Bible. Here are the prayers I wrote as samples…
January 1, 1999—Lord, in 1999 I pray you will take my heart and mind a level deeper into the secret chamber of the knowledge and love of God. You are all I really want in life.
January 1, 2000—Lord, in 2000 I pray that you will open my mind to love you with the totality of my being and fill me with joy and fruitful service.
January 1, 2001—Lord, show me how I can best serve you with my remaining days. Amen.
January 1, 2002—Lord, I love thinking about you. I love holiness. Help me in these two areas.
January 1, 2003—Lord, I pray you will inhabit every moment of my life with worship, faith, love, grace, truth, joy, peace, and service.
January 1, 2004—Lord, I want to know you, which comes by knowing about you. I pray you will give me a deeper understanding of your character, your love, and your holiness.
Tip #2: The “Get Out of Jail Free” Pass
If you fall behind, give yourself a “get out of jail free” pass. It’s easy to fall behind in the daily readings. Then, once you get a month or so behind, it’s tempting to just quit altogether…
- End of January—3 days behind, feel guilty, but plan to make it up
- End of February—a week behind, starting to gnaw on you, you plan to catch up in one sitting
- End of March—10 days behind, you’re thinking, “This isn’t working.”
- End of April—emergency at work, 3 weeks behind, you’re about to give it up
A few months into 2005 I told the 70 men who accepted our challenge, “If you have fallen behind in your reading and you’re feeling guilty about it, I’d like to give you a free ‘get out of jail’ pass. How does that work? It’s grace. For example, you can drop the days you’ve missed, and start reading fresh from today’s reading. Or, if you find you just can’t read the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm, and Proverbs portions, then read the Old or New Testament portion only. Next year you can try something else. Better a little of God’s Word than none at all.”
Ideas to Stimulate Other Ideas
Here are some other ideas to consider…
- Start a blog for those who join you
- Start an email list and email the weekly readings
- Post success stories on your website
- Have people give testimonies in church
- Document your process. If you have a good success we’ll post it on our new Leadership Community (coming next fall)
- Document what you’re doing for your denomination
- If you have an idea that works, let us know and we’ll get the word out