Lighthouse Community Church is doing an accelerated bible reading program for its members. So, as a member, I will be following the progress and I encourage all of the readers of this blog to participate! Today is 2/1, the first day. Here’s a little more about the program (from http://www.lighthousesouthbay.org):
To say the Bible is important is like saying the surface of the sun is a bit warm; it’s a huge understatement. The Bible is our lifeblood. It reveals to us the God we believe in and is the defining source of truth in our lives. So our challenge to you this year is to read the Bible with us in 120 days (February through May 2011). It might sound impossible, even a bit crazy, but we believe the benefits will be immeasurable.
- There are 1189 chapters in the Bible, so to read it in 120 days, it will take about 10 chapters a day. It might be helpful to use a Bible reading program (like the one we have provided), both to keep track of where you and also to offer a more consistent break down of lengths of readings.
- It takes about 75 hours to read through the Bible out loud. So to read through the Bible as this pace (a relatively slow pace), in 120 days, it would take about 35-40 minutes a day.
- The average adult reads closer to 250 words a minute which means it would take closer to 25 minutes a day for 120 days.
- By comparison, it is said that the average American adult watches 2 hours of TV a day and spends 2 hours a day on the internet.
Though it is important to take time to slowly study and digest God’s Word, here are some blessings to reading through the Bible in a shorter period of time with other members of the church family:
- Transformation: Imagine being saturated in God’s truth for 30-40 minutes a day. If done right, you will learn a lot about God and yourself.
- Big Picture: It will hopefully give you a better picture of the story arc of the entire Bible. Imagine reading a book and taking 5 years to do it while jumping around and reading it our of order. Some things will get lost.
- Big Themes: Not only will you see the greater story arc of the Bible, but you will see certain themes develop that might otherwise go unnoticed. For instance maybe you will see patterns of God’s love, justice, or mercy. Maybe it will be man’s constant rebellion and God’s continuous faithfulness.
- Daily Reminder: It is a way to discipline yourself in the reading of God’s Word. Maybe you are the type of person who forgets to read the Bible for a day, and then two days, and then it turns into a week or two without reading the Bible. This B120X challenge is meant to keep it on your mind so that not a day goes by without you thinking about getting into the Word of God.
- Lasting Discipline: Hopefully this will create greater discipline in you as you read the Bible in the future, no matter what the pace.
- Attainable Goal: There is light at the end of the tunnel. This is not a forever project. If you stick with this, in the period of 4 months, you will have read through the entire Bible, (for some of you this will be the first time).
Making Your Study Profitable
- 1. As you read, pick one truth that you want to focus and meditate on for the day (for instance it could be a command or warning, a demonstration of an attribute of God, or a truth about the world). It might be helpful to write down one thing that stood about to you every day in your journal
- Try to see the big picture of the story of the Bible (Hint: the story of the Bible is the redemption of man, through Christ, for the glory of God).
- If you don’t understand a section of the Bible, and don’t have time to study more in depth, try to see what the passage is telling about the character and nature of God (for instance while the prophets can be very difficult to read, you can still notice themes like the love, wrath, judgment, and mercy of God).
- Use a Study Bible (we suggest The ESV Study Bible or The MacArthur Study Bible). The notes in a Study Bible are not words of God and should not be taken as absolute truth, but when written by trusted, well-studied authors, they can offer insight into passages that may be unclear to you.
- Mark areas in your Bible that you want to return to for a more in-depth study.
- Find friends to do the study with who will encourage you and keep you accountable.
- Pick certain “time consumers” that you will sacrifice or cut back on to use the time to read the Bible. Maybe you could cut back on watching your favorite TV show, following your sports teams, playing video games, or going on Facebook. Is it not that any of these things are bad, but they can steal time that you can use to be doing something more profitable. As Randy Alcorn said, “The problem isn’t just what we are doing with our time; it’s what we are NOT doing with it.”
- Set certain rules to help discipline yourself. For instance, not allowing yourself to watch TV until you have done your Bible reading or only 15 minutes of surfing the net.
- Pick a day each month when you dedicate 3-4 hours during one evening or on a Saturday morning. This will allow you a chance to get ahead or catch up.
We don’t want this to be a discouraging endeavor. This is not a test of spirituality, but merely an exciting way to get into the Bible together. Don’t get discouraged if you get behind. Think of it this way, say you get 1 or even 2 months behind, that means you will have finished reading the Bible in 5 or 6 months! Or what if you only get halfway through? That means you read half the Bible in 4 months (that is quite a blessing!). Ultimately we hope that through this challenge you will have a better understanding of the Word and more importantly a greater love for our Lord.