Do You Have a Bible-Reading Plan for the New Year?


Nelda normally came to church, sat in the back and made her exit quickly with the final “Amen.”

Having come to faith as a teen, this single grandma had seldom been nurtured and had yet to make a public profession of her faith in Christ. And although Nelda had been attending our church for a dozen years, we had never been able to pull her into our small-group community.
Then she heard about “Read the Bible for Life,” a nine-week small group study that would be followed by a year of walking and worshipping through the pages of the world’s greatest book. Nelda thought, “I’ve never read through the Bible before; I probably should do that.”
She got hooked.
The nine-week study, which focuses on how to read the Bible better, drew Nelda into the small group experience and gave her a compelling vision for reading the Bible in a fresh life-altering way. Then, through the following year, our small groups read through the Bible chronologically. Each week small group leaders helped the participants explore discussion questions, and the week culminated in a whole-church worship service with a sermon focused on a key passage from that week’s reading.
The combination of individual reading, small-group discussion and worship was powerful and brought great changes to Nelda’s life. She made a public profession of her faith and was baptized. Last summer she and her teenage grandson went on a mission trip to Romania. As a result of that trip, her grandson has come to faith in Christ and was baptized a few weeks ago. And Nelda is ministering to Kathy, who has yet to make a profession of faith but has gotten involved in Nelda’s small group.
As Nelda has engaged God’s Word in the past year, two dynamics have been vitally important.
First, she has learned how to read the parts of Scripture well. Too often we hand people a Bible, this ancient, sometimes complex book, and say, “Here. You should read this.” Learning how to hear God speak variously through a psalm, or a parable, or a letter from Paul, and learning how to apply the Bible’s truths to life responsibly can make all the difference. It has made a big difference for Nelda as she has met the Living God in the pages of His living Word (Hebrews 4:12).
Source: Baptist Press | George H. Guthrie