Read it now:
What is the first step in following Jesus, in a way that leads to a life-on-mission, a life that is transformed, a life that is ‘to the fullest’?
Be with Jesus.
We want to become like him, so that we can do as he did – but first, we need to be with him: spend time with him talking, praying, in silence, and listening – especially, listening to what he speaks to us through Scripture. Just as he is the Word of God in flesh and spirit, so is Scripture God’s Word to us.
In 2023’s Be With Jesus bible reading plan, we’ll read Scripture with him at the center. Each day, we’ll read one chapter of the New Testament to read through all of it together, and one chapter of the Old Testament per day to read the ‘greatest hits’ of the big arc of the Old Testament story. Saturdays is for Psalms, and Sundays are for catch up.
We know that the bible can be difficult to read, but it is absolutely worth it. It tells us the one true story of the world, and God speaks to us through it! Even if you find the Old Testament readings to be too much for you, make sure to read the New Testament with us!
You can pick up a physical copy of the the 2023 plan (also acts as a bookmark!) at any in-person gathering, or even easier – download the Park Church app and read it right on your phone from wherever you are.
There are a lot of different ways to read the bible…a lot of questions to ask, things to consider, etc. Here’s one way that we find helpful. As you’re reading the bible, try asking these questions:
1. What does today’s passage actually say? (What happens, who’s speaking, what are the facts?)
2. What are some lessons? (Is there an example I should follow, a warning to heed, a principle to take away, a promise to hold on to?)
3. What might God be saying to me through it? (Turn the lessons from #2 into questions to pose to yourself)
Here’s some basics of bible reading that you might find helpful:
1. The right approach.
Trust the scriptures like you’d trust a well-trusted teacher or parent. Put yourself under the Word. Come to scripture to be spoken to by God himself, believing that God has a word for your life, the life of your community, or for the world around you. Be open to hearing something new from the living Word.
2. Pay attention.
What is the writer’s intention? Genre? What does the writer want to accomplish? Ask the context questions (who, what, why, where, how, etc.).
3. Remember the forest.
How does this little piece of the story fit into the whole? How does the forest give color to this one tree? But also, how does this one tree effect the forest?
4. Ask so what?
Where does this intersect with life? How does this challenge you? How do I live this passage with my actions?