It’s an obvious statement a pastor should ask of their congregation. I have time and time again been amazed at the responses I’ve gotten when I have invited folks to read the Bible. At least 60+ people have participated in a Bible Study of reading the Bible in 90 days at some point here at Faith. It is an incredible feeling to look out into the pews and know that many of you have made the commitment and journey to read the entire Bible. But national averages look very different. A poll from Pew Research shows that about a third of Americans (35%) say they read scripture at least once a week, while 45% seldom or never read scripture, according to 2014 data from our Religious Landscape Study. Also from the study we learn that about four-in-ten Christians (42%) said reading the Bible or other religious materials is an essential part of what being Christian means to them personally. An additional 37% say reading the Bible is important but not essential to being a Christian, and 21% say reading the Bible is not an important part of their Christian identity.
Dwelling in the Word of God on a regular basis should be an essential part of our faith. If the one thing I was remembered for as your pastor was that I encouraged the congregation to read their Bibles that would a wonderful legacy to leave. That doesn’t mean we will all agree on interpretations of the Scripture, because we won’t. The first step in interpreting is reading and engaging the text.
So this year I’m inviting you to join me again in reading the Bible in 2018- but don’t panic- it’s not in 90 days. We are going to read through the entire Bible throughout the whole year beginning on February 4th. We will be using a Bible Reading Plan put together by The Bible Project (www.thebibleproject.com). The plan has you read 2-3 chapters a day and one Psalm. Very doable and if you miss a day, it’s easy to play catch up by reading multiple days in one sitting. Throughout the year there will be videos made by the Bible Project that help provide some context of what you are reading with the entire story of Scripture. I promise this will be an incredible journey, even if you’ve read the entire Bible before. There are a couple ways to participate:
Get a copy of the reading plan by either downloading it off the Bible Project Website or pick one up at the Welcome Center. You can access the videos on their website or through YouTube. You can also download the Read Scripture App in either the iTunes Store or Google Play store. You can read and watch the video along with reading the text all in the app on your phone. I’ve also created a Facebook Group called Reading Scripture Together, which is links to our church page. If you join this group I will be positing the daily reading, in addition to any videos for the day. This will also invite comments, questions, and conversation on the daily readings while we read throughout the year. If your on Facebook I encourage to join the group. I would also like to see us have a few face to face Bible Studies throughout the year at TBD dates and locations.
Since much of this is virtual, feel free to invite friends and family to the Facebook Group. I look forward to reading the Bible with you again this year.