It’s a good thing to make resolutions for the new year, as long as you don’t treat them as make-or-break propositions. That’s something I’ve gleaned from my now 40 years on this planet. Overall, new year’s resolutions should be used by Christians to promote growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). To that end, here are a few things I’m doing…
Reading through the Bible
This is something I always try to do. For the past couple of years I’ve used a plan we’ve utilized at Bethlehem Baptist Church, which covers the whole Bible (the Old Testament in the order found in the Hebrew Bible).
This year, however, I’m going to do something a bit different, going through the new ESV Reader’s six-volume set which was released in fall 2016. I got it at a discount rate at the time.
Basically, they’ve made the ESV look like a regular book, removing chapter and verse numbers as well as footnotes. I’m looking forward to not only reading the Scriptures, but seeing if and how this enhances the experience of taking in God’s word.
A few years ago I came up with an acronym for approaching Scripture, RPM, which stands for reading the Bible, pursuing the meaning, memorizing the word. Well you see how I’m approaching the first part of that. As for pursuing the meaning, what I like to do is pick one book and just dig into it for several weeks or months at a time.
To start 2017, prompted by another book I’m reading (Matt Waymeyer’s Amillenialism and the Age to Come) I’ve chosen the second to last book in our English Old Testaments: Zechariah. I just going to read and re-read and re-read this prophet, using a Moleskine journal and commentary help. In the journal I’ll write down questions, the answers to those questions, my own various thoughts, things I learn, things I glean from commentaries. What have you.
After a month or two or three, I hope to know this book much better than I do now. I suggest you take a similar approach with a book or section of Scripture of your choosing, if you don’t already have a method for digging deeper in personal Bible study.
You would think that for a pastor it would be easy to engage in family discipleship. And you would be wrong. A pastor and his family face all of the same distractions anyone else faces — homework, busy schedules, church obligations, other distractions, and (let’s be honest) our own laziness.
I want to get better at this in 2017. Parents, particularly fathers, need to be proactive and intentional in raising sons and daughters who love the Lord. To that end, I like what I see out of Long Story Short, a book of ten minute devotions from the Old Testament. There are five in a week. And really, if we can’t find ten minutes out of our day to do this with family, what are we doing? You don’t have to be legalistic about it. You will miss days. I will, too. But I encourage you to start, too.
Note: There is a companion volume, Old Story New, which goes through the New Testament. Also, if you follow the link above, there is a great price on the Kindle edition.
There is more I’m doing. Plans to read more, a desire to be more intentionally evangelistic, plans to increase giving, and of course, plans to be healthier. But this is where I’ll stop for now. What are you doing to grow in Christ this year?