The first mark of a maturing disciple is that they know the Word of God. This is where we must begin. Sadly, though, in our culture, as researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli have pointed out, “Americans revere the Bible—but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” Such a statement should never be the case with God’s people. However, I must admit I have failed and fallen in this area more than once. Yet, God in His grace has been very patient with me.
Lately, He has been working on my heart to long for a deeper knowledge of Him and His Word. I have been given the desire to be like the man whose “delight is in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 1:2). I yearn to “meditate on it [God’s Word] day and night” (Joshua 1:8). My hope is that you feel the same way too.
Know the Written Word
In Romans 15:4 Paul tells us, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” God has given us His Word so that we may know it and may be instructed by it. God wants us to know, hear, and do what His written Word says. This means reading, studying, and meditating upon the Scriptures. Furthermore, we must strive to understand the Bible as a whole and how it all points to the gospel. The Old Testament in its promises, the New Testament in its fulfillment.
Know the Incarnate Word
Knowing the Word, though, does not stop with the written Word. The ultimate purpose of knowing the written Word is to know the Incarnate Word. This means being in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the Incarnate Word (John 1:1, 14). Studying God’s Word should not be motivated by self-righteousness. Rather, the motivation in studying the Word of God should echo Philippians 3:8, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” The point in knowing the Word is not mere information, it is transformation (Romans 11:33-12:2).
This is why, starting in January 2014, I have decided to commit to reading the Old Testament throughout the course of one year. I have chosen to read the First Testament because I believe it is too often neglected in our churches today. The Old Testament can also be hard to understand in terms of how it fits in with the gospel. Thus, the focus of this study plan is to know God’s Word and to understand how the gospel is promised throughout all of the Old Testament. Understanding the Bible as a whole is critical in knowing the Word. That is why I am excited about this opportunity. I encourage all of you to join me in this endeavor. We will mature in our relationship with Christ and know Him better as Lord and Savior. Together, we can read and know the Word of God.
If you are interested in participating in reading through the Old Testament in 2014, you can download the PDF 2014 Calendar Plan right here.