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I recently purchased a new Bible. Not that I needed another Bible! I have copious versions of this book: King James, NIV and Living translations. A German Bible and a Greek/English parallel Bible. A study Bible with notes. A Bible given to me at my confirmation. I have my dad’s Bible that he read when he was still alive. I have a pocket New Testament in my purse. I once purchased a Bible just because it had a turquoise leather cover—turquoise is my favorite color! With all these copies, I still purchased another Bible. Why?

Let’s start by asking, “Why do we read the Bible?” The most life-changing book I have read is Holy Scripture. It has given me endless hope, peace and wisdom. My faith in Christ has deepened through Scripture. The meaning derived from reading a passage of Scripture changes for me depending on my present circumstances and on how the Holy Spirit reveals Scripture— maybe I need comfort, maybe I need to acknowledge my sins, maybe I need advice on how to relate to a family member who seems more like an enemy than a friend. God gives me these “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” (notice the acronym for “Bible”?) for my eternal salvation. It contains guidelines for living out my life with other Christians and non-Christians.

My new Bible is chronologically-ordered. Every chapter is arranged according to when the events and writings happened. The Psalms, for example, are interspersed in the story of David, and Paul’s letters pop up throughout Acts. Then, the Bible is split into 365 daily readings to allow for finishing it in one year. Each reading is one to three chapters and takes about twenty minutes. In just twenty minutes a day, I can read the entire Bible in the order the events happened!

When I mentioned my new Bible to a few members of Saint John’s, they, too, were intrigued by the idea. Our small group is going to begin reading the New Testament at the end of September. We will be reading individually, but working together to keep each other accountable and engaged. We want to open this experience up to all Saint John’s members. Won’t you read through at least the New Testament with us?

It’s very easy to find a reason not to read through the entire Bible. I said things like, “This scares me!” “Why should I try?” “I will not make it through the entire book!” “What if I cannot understand everything?” “For certain, I will NOT understand everything!” Is this how you think, too?

To offset our doubts, we should try to think of the Bible as a long “letter” of our Father’s words—written directly to us! He will use the Holy Spirit to enlighten our life, however much we read. Enlighten us—by one book read. Enlighten us—by five books read. Enlighten us—by 33 books read! Whatever portion of the Bible you read, you will be blessed!

Let us all begin this challenge by reading the New Testament together, from September through December. Each week, we will put the week’s entire reading list in the church bulletin. We’re following the chronology in the Bible I found, the “One-Year Chronological NIV Bible” from Tynsdale Publishing. You can purchase a copy of this Bible or sign up for one at the Welcome Center or church office. You can also just use your personal, non-chronological Bible to do the daily readings—it will just mean a little more page-turning.

May God bless you as you read His “letter” to you!

Are you involved in a Bible study at Saint John’s? There are plenty of opportunities to study the word through the week. Join one of these groups!