So, I’ve been dealing with the idea of being “fluent” in our Gospel thinking and communicating for sometime now (see Be Prepared & Fluency) and up to this point I have dealt with the subject, to a large extent, in a more abstract way. That being said, while we are a people often intrigued by abstract thought, we need to think in a concrete manner as well so that we may deal with things effectively. In other words, we need a plan :-).
In the last post “Fluency” I suggested that to become fluent in something we must immerse ourselves in it. But, how exactly does that work with the Gospel? How do we immerse ourselves in it? There are multiple answers to that question. In fact, there are too many to deal with in just one post. Therefore, I will deal with them one at a time over the next several posts. Let me state on the front end that the order in which I present these methods of Gospel immersion does not represent any sort of hierarchy of importance. They are merely individual methods of understanding who God is and what He has done in a greater way. They are all important in their own right.
I will start with the idea of understanding the Bible as a whole. It is often overlooked that having an understanding of the overarching story that runs throughout the Bible is of supreme importance. Having such an understanding serves to tie the individual books together and ultimately puts them in their proper perspective. However, the Bible is a VERY big book. Thus, if we rely on a method of picking individual books to focus on arbitrarily, we might never get to all of them. In addition, for all the good that comes from the study of individual books, that method alone will not give us an adequate understanding of the thread that runs through them all. Let me put it like this, to study a book the size of the Bible requires a plan. Thus, I suggest to you the One Year Bible. The One Year Bible is a plan. It is a plan to get from A to Z.
While there are many great attributes found in the use of a one year Bible, I will share a couple of my favorites. One year Bibles break the Bible into very manageable daily readings. I have found that an average day’s reading does not take more than ten to fifteen minutes to complete. Please keep in mind however that that number does not include time spent in reflection on what has been read. It is definitely not my intention to minimize the importance of reflection on biblical passages, for it is always through reflection on the Bible that one will find the most spiritual growth.
I also like the fact that you can find so many different formats and translations. I once read through an NIV one year Bible that was organized chronologically. Through the chronological format I was able to see things from a new and interesting perspective. For example, it was very helpful to see the Psalms interspersed throughout the historical books of the Old Testament. As I said, it gave me a new perspective on what I was reading.
Along with the One Year Bible, I would also suggest the use of audio Bibles. Just like their one year counterparts, audio Bibles can be found in many different translations and formats. You can find them narrated by one person or in dramatized style. I can tell you, I have used both formats and they both give a unique experience with the Word. Again, it is a tool. It is a tool that helps us to see the Word with a larger lens. It is a tool for understanding who God is and what He has done. It is a tool that helps us to immerse ourselves in God’s Word in yet another way and that’s what we’re aiming for. IMMERSION – SO PREPARE TO DIVE!
I will leave you with one final thought from a book by Kendell Easley, “The Illustrated Guide to Biblical History” It is a thought that serves to get us started with a proper mind set as we prepare to study the Bible as a whole. It illustrates an understanding of the overarching theme of the Bible as thoroughly as any other statement I’ve read.
“The Lord God through His Christ is graciously building a kingdom of redeemed people for their joy and for His own glory”