Tuesday, January 10

Ten Chapter Challenge

Two weeks ago I mentioned in this post that I was planning to start Grant Horner's ten-chapter-per-day Bible reading plan. When I first heard about the plan I was seriously intimidated. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided it was just what I needed. Lately my attempts at consistent scripture reading have been plagued by these problems: a lack of direction (reading a little here and a little there), getting bogged down in more difficult sections, and looking for deep meaning in just a few verses but coming away scratching my head. This plan has an answer for each of these problems: a structure and prescribed reading amount for each day, a mixture of stories, instruction, and poetry/prophecy each day, and the expectation (already confirmed) that scripture will explain scripture. In other words, the more I read the more I understand, without diagramming each sentence or cross-referencing all kinds of verses I can't remember. The cross-referencing happens on its own.

I'm happy to say that by God's grace I just completed Day 15 of the plan. I've read 150 chapters of the Bible in the past two weeks!! That's ridiculous! And I absolutely love it! Reading on my phone (I highly recommend the ESV Bible App) means that I can read a little when I wake up, a little while I eat breakfast, a little in a work break, a little after dinner, and a little before bed. Or all together. I was skeptical that quick reading (not trying to absorb every detail) would allow me to finish in 45 minutes, but I think it usually takes me less than that.

I absolutely love how much of God's word I've been exposed to in this time. And I think the thing that really pushes me forward is seeing how much ground I've covered so quickly. So here's a look at what I've read in just a short time.

Jesus is born, baptized, tempted, calls disciples, gives the Sermon on the Mount, heals a LOT of people, calms a storm, sends out the apostles, teaches in parables, feeds a LOT of people, walks on water.

God creates the world, Adam and Eve sin, Cain kills Abel, Noah builds an ark, God sends the flood, God disperses the peoples from the Tower of Babel, God calls Abram, God gives Abram land, God makes a covenant with Abram.

God's wrath against sin is righteous. We are justified by faith. We are free from sin and slaves to righteousness. The law reveals sin, and sin takes advantage of the law. We live according to the Spirit, not the flesh. We are sons of God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God shows wrath to some and mercy to others. Faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. God will save the remnant of Israel and the Gentiles who are grafted in to his kingdom. We are to live sacrificially through love, service, rejoicing, prayer, humility, and peace. We should submit to earthly authorities. We shouldn't judge each other or cause each other to stumble.

1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy
God has not called us for impurity, but holiness. Jesus will return and take the saints with him. No one knows when Jesus will come back. Avoid idleness. Avoid false teachers. Christ came to save sinners. Prayer pleases God. Elders and deacons must meet requirements. The church is responsible to care for widows.

Job is righteous and God allows Satan to take all he has to test him. Job suffers greatly, but does not curse God even though his friends think he has sinned to earn his hardships.

God establishes/protects/hears the righteous and punishes/judges the wicked. God will send his Son. God's love is steadfast. Those who trust/fear God rejoice/give thanks. God's creation shows us his majesty. God does great things for us. God takes care of the poor.

Wisdom is one of God's greatest gifts. The way of sin leads to destruction. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Honor God with the firstfruits of your labor. Love reproof - it's good for you. Do not withhold good when it's in your power to give. Adultery leads to death. Be responsible with your money and work hard for it. God hates a liar. Righteousness is a better reward than riches. A wife can bring glory or shame to her husband. Words are powerful. Good parents are diligent in discipline. Blessed is he who gives to the poor. God sees everything and everyone. Seeking good advice leads to success.

God leads Joshua to the promised land. Rahab hides the spies of Israel. God allows the nation of Israel to cross the Jordan on foot. Israel worships God, circumcises the new generation, and observes passover. Israel defeats Jericho, Ai, the Gibeonites, the Amorites, and lots of other people in Canaan. Land is distributed as inheritances for the tribes of Israel.

God will judge the wickedness of his people and destroy the earth. God will blot out their sins. God is weary of our religious rituals. God will humble his people. The remnant of Israel will be glorified. Isaiah has a vision of the Lord and he purifies his mouth and takes away his guilt. The son of God will be descended from David and will be called Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. God will destroy Babylon.

Jesus commissions the apostles and ascends into heaven. Matthias replaces Judas. The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost. The members of the church take care of each other in every way. Peter and John preach and heal people and are arrested, but released after giving witness. Ananias and Sapphira are struck dead after being dishonest about offerings to the church. Stephen is arrested, gives witness, and is stoned. Simon the magician tries to gain the power of the Holy Spirit for monetary gain, but is converted. Philip converts an Ethiopian eunuch. Saul, who persecuted the church, encounters Jesus and is converted to Paul, the missionary. God shows to Peter in a dream that no people or things are unclean. Peter preaches to the Gentiles and they receive the Holy Spirit. James is killed. Peter is imprisoned and later rescued by an angel. Barnabus and Saul go to Cyprus, Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra.

It's been a good two weeks, wouldn't you say?! Try it for yourself!