At the start of a new year, many people set goals and make resolutions of what they want to accomplish in the new year. One of those often is reading their Bibles. Some like to use a reading plan, while others just try to read each day, taking as long or as short as it takes to read through the Bible. It is important as believers that we are reading our Bibles, and not just our favorite parts, but the whole Bible. We don’t read our Bibles to gain favor with God; crossing it off a checklist each day doesn’t earn us brownie points. Rather, we read the Bible in order to better know God himself, Who has revealed Himself in the Bible.
For me I have found that having a reading plan helps me to stay on track and be consistent with Bible reading. I encourage you as we begin this new year to find a reading plan and make it a goal to read through the entire Bible. It doesn’t have to be in a year – it can take two or three years – or as long as it takes, but resolve to read through all of it. The reading plan I recommend for those who often get bogged down in the early books and then give up is called the Weekly Genres plan. This has you reading in a different section of Scripture each day. You can access it here. This has you reading in a different genre each day, which helps to keep from getting bogged down in one particular part of Scripture.
Several of us will be reading through the Bible in 90 days this year. You are welcome to join us here. Or sign up via email if you’re not on Facebook. There are lots of great reading plans out there to help you read through the Bible. See the sidebar on this blog page for just a few of them. Youversion also has many plans you can choose from to read the Bible.
In answer to your objections
Various articles about Bible reading as well as various reading plans (note of caution – I do not necessarily endorse all the sites from which these articles were pinned, please be discerning)
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.
I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever,
to the end.
Psalm 119:105-112 (ESV)
Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
Psalm 119:97-104 (ESV)
And now we have a wonderful prayer by Paul for these believers. Again the phrase “for this reason” is used. Looking back at the previous verses, Paul is talking about how the mystery of the gospel also being for the Gentiles has been revealed and that God is displaying His wisdom through the church. And that his suffering is for their glory. Because of all this, he is able to bow before God and ask that God strengthen them. “According to the riches of his glory” – God has the power and riches necessary to strengthen them and He does so through the Holy Spirit inside them. Paul again talks about them having strength to comprehend and then goes on to talk about the incredible vastness that is Christ’s love. Paul asks that these believers be rooted and grounded in love, and comprehend Christ’s love, so that they would be filled with the fullness of God. These are some incredible phrases! Christ’s love surpasses knowledge! Perhaps we can grasp a tiny inkling of what His love is. It’s almost an oxymoron that Paul has here: “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”. To know something that is beyond knowledge is paradoxical. This gives us a tiny picture of how incredible is Christ’s love for us.
Paul closes his prayer with a reminder that God is much more powerful than we could even imagine, that He can do beyond our ability to even ask. And that power is at work within us! The Holy Spirit is within us as believers and He is God, with the power beyond our imagination. So Paul gives glory to God throughout all generations, forever to be praised. What an incredible passage to show how amazing is God!
vs. 14-17a – Prayer to Father that they’d be strengthened through the Spirit so Christ would dwell in their hearts
vs. 17b-19 – That they’d have strength to comprehend and to know Christ’s love so they’d be filled with fullness of God
vs. 20-21 – God is able to do far more than we could ask or think – to Him be glory (doxology)
Summary of sections in chapter 3:
vs. 1-13: The mystery of the gospel being also for the Gentiles was made known to Paul that he might preach to all this mystery, so through the church God’s wisdom would be made known.
vs. 14-21: Prayer for them to know Christ’s love and be strengthened through the Spirit so they would be filled with God’s fullness – He who does far more than we could ask.
We could summarize Ephesians 3 something like this – The mystery of Christ is that the gospel is for everyone. This truth ‘The gospel is for all’ – this displays God’s wisdom. Also Ephesians 3 reminds us that we are strengthened through the Spirit to understand Christ’s love. So how do we apply this?
How does knowing the gospel is for everyone make a difference in how we treat others?
How can knowing the vastness of Christ’s love change how you go about your day-to-day activities?
Knowing God’s power is beyond what we could even ask or think – how does that change our prayer life? The trials we go through? Who should we pray this prayer for?