2016 Bible In A Year Challenge – week 1

In 2016, I am challenging the members and friends of Covenant-First Presbyterian to develop the discipline of daily reading of the Bible.  And I’m inviting you to be a part of it as well.

To help you in this challenge, I’m writing  a  weekly bulletin insert that worship attendees can take home to guide them through the week.  Each week, I’ll adapt this insert to a blog post so you can follow along via the web.  Each post will contain the readings for the week and a few simple notes to help with understanding.   I hope you’ll join us in the challenge.

A few suggestions for you as we undertake this challenge together:

  • Don’t worry if you fall behind for a few days. Just cut your losses and start fresh on today’s reading.   Also, if the whole Bible is too much, feel free to select either the New Testament or the Old for your challenge.
  • Take the opportunity to talk about God’s word with one another throughout the week. Use this as a challenge for us to be working through these texts as a community of faith.
  • Remember that the Holy Spirit is with you as your guide and your teacher. As you read, read prayerfully, paying attention to the inward work of the Holy Spirit. Feel free to stop and linger over a verse, pondering its significance. For each day’s reading, consider selecting a theme verse for the day that you can meditate on throughout the day.
  • If you want a daily reminder of this reading plan, you can go to Bible Gateway and subscribe to the Old Testament/New Testament plan.

Readings for this week

Friday January 1

Old Testament: Genesis 1-3

New Testament: Matthew 1

Saturday January 2

Old Testament: Genesis 4-6

New Testament: Matthew 2

Notes for Week 1

Genesis 1 and 2: The creation accounts of Genesis generate a lot of discussion about whether they are “literally” true or not. While this is an interesting and important debate, don’t get hung up on this for the Bible in a year project. As we devotionally read the material, let us focus our meditation on what these chapters teach about:

  • God’s character and purposes
  • Humanity’s relationship to God
  • God’s good design for humanity

Genealogies: Both Genesis 5 and Matthew 1 contain extensive genealogies. It’s helpful to remember that genealogies served particular purposes in the ancient world. They were not designed to be comprehensive lists of each ancestor in a line. Rather, they were designed to link on generation with the heroes of the past. It was a common practice to leave some generations out of genealogies because they were shameful or not very notable.

Take note in Jesus’ genealogy the presence of non-Israelite women: Tamar (her story is in Genesis 38), Rahab (her story is in Joshua 2 and 7), Ruth (her story is in the book of Ruth), and Uriah’s widow Bathsheba (her story is in 2 Samuel 11). These inclusions indicate the inclusive nature of Jesus ministry, which is summarized in Galatians 3:28-29 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.”

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