The two-year bible reading plan was developed with an eye to modify traditional plans. I personally found two problems with most plans. First, the pace was just a bit too fast. Whenever my heart stirred, it was difficult to step aside to pursue the Spirit’s leading, as I had to keep up, so to speak. Secondly, traditional plans seem to focus upon one goal: to read the bible through (usually in a year). While this a great ambition, it may not be the most edifying goal. It is better to give prominence to the NT and Psalms. So, I altered a one-year plan that allows you to read the NT and Psalms in a year and to read the OT in 2 years. It is weighted to give attention to more helpful portions of scripture and paced more appropriately for many.
Perhaps a “pastoral” word will help as we begin. For many of us we become consumed with completing the reading of the entire bible. But come on! We all know that this is not and should not be the real goal. The goal is to grow. The goal is to know God. The goal is to fill our hearts with God’s word and to be equipped to live and to help others, all to the glory of God. So, if you are like me, take a moment to set aside the objective of “finishing” the bible, and replace with it with better thinking altogether!
This brings me to my purpose behind this blog. I have often recommended D.A. Carson’s devotional book(s), For the Love of God (Volumes 1 & 2). The readings from Volume 1 correspond to this year’s readings in the Riverside plan. I still do encourage this resource, but after receiving feedback from a number of you I understand that it is difficult for some to get through. So, while still hoping you will use Carson, my hope is to provide some encouragement along the way – mainly I aim to help readers of the bible plan to understand the overall context and general importance of a given reading.
Unfortunately, while Carson can be difficult at times, he is especially difficult in his very first reading. This leads many to reconsider before they ever get started. So here in our fist blog we will simplify.
Genesis 1 is foundational.
It tells us how to think in terms of reality and helps us reject a number of false teachings:
- Pantheism – the idea that God and the world are identical, that God is in everything or that everything is God
- This rules out the worship of the environment because there is One who made it all and above it all who is to be worshipped.
- Dualism – the idea that there are two equal powers, one good and one bad is also ruled out. Evil (the devil) must submit to God.
- Deism – the idea that God made the universe but is removed now from it is ruled out. God speaks: He is personal and relational.
Furthermore, Genesis 1 tells us many positive things about God:
- He is powerful – all-powerful!
- He is wise
- He is personal
- He rules all and is sovereign
- He cannot be domesticated (tamed) – He does not answer to us and He is awesome and to be worshipped in holy fear!
- He hates racism – all the earth is His and all people are made in His image
And it tells us much about ourselves:
- We are responsible to God
- We answer to Him – He made us and we are His – we must give an account for all we are and all we do.
- We have been given two mandates in creation:
- First, we are to multiply and rule God’s creation
- Second, we are to represent God