Thursday, August 18, 2011

MrsDrPoe: Bible Adoption Challenge

Happy Theology Thursday to all! School beginning and summer quickly coming to a close means that the Summer Bible Reading Challenge is almost over as well. How did you do? I hope you were all able to keep up with the reading schedule you picked for yourselves and that going through whatever plan you chose helped you grow spiritually in both your personal study and your study with others!

Since we're now in the habit of reading a portion of God's word daily (whether we were before or not), I propose another challenge: adoption of a Bible book. This idea is not my own; our friend, Mr. Holley, has been suggesting it to serious Bible students for years. In fact, Mr. Holley suggests the eventual adoption of multiple books (one from the OT and one from the NT, to start).

The process of adoption is relatively simple- you choose a book that you wish to adopt, read that book as much as possible (at least once a week), and simultaneously collect and read other books (commentaries, etc.) on your book. By the end of a year, you will have read your adopted book at least 52 times and added several reference books to your theological library. Another suggested "tool" for better understanding your book is to find someone else who has studied your book a lot; this person can help answer your questions, provoke new lines of thought, and suggest materials and references that will help you in your study. It also helps to start a reading-the-Bible-through-in-a-year program while you're "camped out" in your adopted book. This way you'll make connections with your book and the rest of the Bible and vice's like using the Bible as a commentary on itself!

Perhaps one of the best places to start is to try to adopt one of the gospels (although you may wish to read through all four multiple times before settling on one- you may set a goal of having a book chosen by Jan 1 and then spending a whole calendar year on it). Mr. Holley's book is Luke; Mr. Ellis' book is Mark; Mr. Poe has also adopted Mark. One benefit to starting with a gospel is that improved study of these books will automatically provide you with a method for sharing the story of Jesus. It's amazing how many questions can be answered from camping out in a gospel, taking the passages in context of the whole book instead of just a paragraph.

On a personal note:
for the past few months I've been trying to decide on a gospel that I wanted to be "my" book...I'm currently studying Mark and Luke, but I also really like the idea of starting at the beginning with Matthew, and Mr. Holley suggested John because it bridges Matt and Mark with Luke. I plan to read through them all again before I make my decision...I'll let you know how that goes.

If you'd prefer to start elsewhere, that's cool too- the same procedure is used. The goal of course is to continue to adopt books, spending a year (or two) on in-depth study in each one, slowly building your Bible knowledge, faith, and relationship with Christ, brothers and sisters, and the lost. Just think of how many books you could immerse yourself in in a lifetime! I guess I'm not just challenging you (and myself) to a program for the upcoming year, but for all the years to come...are you up for it?


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