that I may follow it to the end.
We understand the Bible is unlike any other book; that it is the very Word of God, given to show us how to live. The Bible says of itself: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:16-17) We understand the place it must have in our lives if we are to stay on the path of faith all the way to the end. We know, something with in us tells us, His Word is true; that when we embrace it, it has the power to change and direct our lives. Jesus prayed to the Father for His followers: Sanctify them by the truth...and then declared, Your word is truth. (John 17:17) Many of us can quote the words of Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
I do not have to convince any of you of the importance of reading following the Holy Scriptures. Paul would write to Timothy: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 - NKJV) 'Be diligent', the KJV translates it 'study' and the NIV uses the phrase 'do your best' -- there is a part that we must play in the building up of our faith; when we pray 'teach me, Lord' we are also committing ourselves to be diligent in reading and studying the Word of God; to be life-long learners.
Sometimes we settle for our 'daily devotions', the reading of a verse or text, and that is well and good. But we need to be in the word, to regularly be reading large portions of it; to always be seeking to understand the story line of the Bible. And the Bible does have a story to tell--it's the story of a Creator and His creation; of a King and His kingdom. There is an amazing unity and continuity to the story of the Scriptures and we would do well to understand how the Bible fits together.
To that end, I want to encourage all of you to invest one hour a week of your time for five weeks this fall, to participate in our Small Group study 'Understanding the Story -- An Overview of the Bible'. During this course we will identify the major events, people and places in the Story and develop a Biblical Timeline that will help you understand the chronology of the Bible. You will identify the 11 books that give the chronological story line of the Old Testament and have a better understanding of how the other 28 books in the Old Testament align with the storyline. You will also identify the two books you can read to understand the history of the New Testament, so that in reading just 13 of the 66 books, you can better understand the flow of the history of the Bible. You will also be given the major themes of both the Old and New Testaments and other tools for studying the Scriptures on your own.
At the end of the five weeks, Small Group opportunities will be scheduled for the remainder of the Fall season. I am going to call you once again to invest one hour of your week, to the development of your faith; an hour that just might be life-changing!
and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.