One of the core tenets of Christian theology is the truth that God reveals himself to the people he has created. God reveals himself in at least two ways. First, we see God’s glory on display in the world he has created. We call this type of revelation general revelation because it is available to all people. Anyone can walk outside and see God’s glory in the world God has created. Second, God reveals himself through the story of the saving acts he has accomplished on behalf of his people. This is the revelation of God we find in the Bible. We call this type of revelation special revelation, and it is through God’s special revelation that we learn of the salvation and new life God has made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our God is a God who speaks, but far too often we are a people who will not listen.
This failure to listen to what God has said is one of God’s chief complaints about his people in the Bible. In Psalm 81, we read these words:
8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
11 But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13 Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
(Psalm 81:8, 11-13 ESV)
We do not read the Bible in hopes of earning God’s favor. Instead, we read the Bible because we want to know better the God who has graciously revealed himself to us and to understand how he calls us to live in the world he has created. Reading God's Word, listening to God’s voice as it comes to us in the Bible, and responding in faithful obedience is critical to our calling to make the love of Jesus Christ known in word and in deed.
This is why we have produced a Bible reading plan called Project 119 for many years now. The plan is named after Psalm 119, a beautiful passage in the Bible that extols the beauty and usefulness of God’s Word. The plan has changed over the years, but in its current form, the reading plan provides you with suggested daily readings that include a reading from the Book of Psalms, an Old Testament reading, and a New Testament reading. The goal of the plan is to expose you to a wide range of the biblical witness over the course of a year. In addition to providing a reading plan, we also produce a daily podcast in which Mary Splawn reads the passages assigned for that day. The podcast is great for auditory learners, and it also allows you to listen to the Bible on your way to work or as you take a walk around your neighborhood. Mary also leads us to pray for one of our mission partners each Monday and invites a member of our congregation to be a guest reader each Friday. The guest reader also shares a portion of his or her testimony so that you can better know a fellow church member as you hear the story of God’s redemptive work in his or her life.
I encourage you to make the Project 119 Bible Reading Plan a priority in 2022. There are many Bible reading plans you could follow, but I believe there is something powerful about us listening to God’s Word together. Rather than each of us following his or her own plan, we have the opportunity to be united as we are shaped by the same Scriptures throughout the year. The next Project 119 Bible Reading Plan begins Sunday, January 2. You may access a copy of the reading plan at www.mbbc.org/project119. You will also find links to the Project 119 Bible Reading Plan Podcast via Apple Podcasts or Spotify. I look forward to seeing all the Lord will do in and through us in the year ahead as we listen to God’s Word together.