Welcome to the Advent’s Bible in a Year Blog!
We wanted to offer just a few words about what we’re trying to accomplish and how you can make this blog work for you.
First, why are we doing this?
The Bible is powerful! It is not just a collection of ancient stories about an ancient god. The Bible is the story, singular, of God’s great, loving rescue of humanity. The Bible is the metanarrative, the one amazing grand arching story, written by dozens of authors over thousands of years, of God’s holy justice and His amazing love, and how both are given through Jesus Christ to a broken and rebellious humanity.
There are millions of blogs out there, and there are lots of really good Christian blogs. We’re certainly not the first ones to blog through the Bible in a year. But at the Advent we preach and teach a lot about the intersection of God’s justice and love being found on the Cross of Jesus Christ. We believe that the Cross is the lens through which all of life is properly viewed, and through which all of the Bible is properly read. We are praying that this blog will make a helpful contribution to you as you read your Bible and live your life through the lens of the Cross.
Second, who is this blog for?
As we write, we are aiming for the members of the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama. We are excited to see what the Lord might do in this parish if a whole chunk of the congregation reads the Bible together.
Now that being said, we will be delighted if this blog gains a wider readership. Please feel free to share the posts on Facebook or Twitter. We would love it if lots of people from who knows where joined us in reading the Bible this year!
Also, we think Small Groups might find this plan useful. If a group finds themselves between curricula, it would be easy enough to talk through a few of the readings for that week, or discuss what has been posted by one of the contributors. Or, since the posts will be archived on the website, a group may also go back much later and see what’s been written on any particular text they are studying. There’s really no limit to how small groups and bible studies could read through the Bible!
Finally, how can this blog and this reading plan work for me?
It sounds a little silly to say it out loud, but setting aside 15-20 minutes every day to read the Bible can be really hard. So here are some things to think about:
- The “in-a-year” part of the reading plan is just a guide. It’s not a law. If it takes you longer, no big deal. The important thing is that you are reading God’s word. Stay at it! You’ll be glad you did.
- You might consider breaking up the day’s readings. Ten minutes in the morning and again in the evening might be easier than 20 minutes at once. Or, at 3 chapters a day, you might think about a chapter before or after each meal. Some have more success doing two days at once, but only 3-4 times per week. This should bless you, not stress you out!
- We want to encourage you not to choose reading our posts over reading the Bible. If a time crunch forces you to pick between reading God’s word and the writings of knuckleheads, go with God’s word! That being said, we really do hope you find the posts helpful and meaningful.
- Some parts of the Bible are tough. Long lists of names; laws upon laws that seem archaic; really offensive acts. Most of us would avoid these parts without a plan to read through the whole Bible. Our experience is that the Bible is like food. Sometimes we eat things we don’t like, whether bitter or bland, but they still provide nourishment. The Bible works like that because its claim about itself is that it is ‘living and active’ (Hebrews 4:12). As a mysterious and gracious act of the Holy Spirit, even the parts that are bitter or bland provide nourishment.
- There have been some questions about which version of the Bible we recommend. We tend to prefer the English Standard Version (ESV). It is close to being a word-for-word translation, but is in contemporary, accessible, and elegant English. It is basically an updated version of the 1950’s Revised Standard Version (RSV), which the Advent uses on Sunday mornings. The popular NIV is good, though we prefer the 1984 version to the newer TNIV; and the New Living Translation (NLT) is actually a good version, allowing that it is more of a thought-for-thought interpretation than word-for-word translation.
- Finally, we encourage you to pray before reading the Bible. It just sets our heart in the right posture and opens us to the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
We love the Bible, we love to help people read the Bible, and we love to hear about people reading the Bible. We hope that these loves come through in each post, and that you find yourself strengthened and encouraged here as you walk with Jesus Christ.