Friday, January 7, 2011

Resolved Re: Scripture in 2011

This year, I have some ambitious aspirations regarding the Word of God.
By God's grace in the latter half of 2010, I memorized 2 Timothy and 1 John. I have been employing a tweaked version of this method. My greatest "fears" are pride, forgetfulness and spiritual obesity (if that is even possible or an appropriate analogy). I fear pride b/c of my own propensity to take something given to me and steal the divine "copyright" for my own glory and ambition. I fear forgetfulness because, well, look at God's people Israel in the Old Testament. I fear becoming spiritually obese, that is, I would not in turn apply it and live out its powerful truth. In other words, if I have faith and hope and knowledge and speaking (or memorizing) ability and determination and great self-discipline and not love my wife, kids, God's people and his image bearers, who cares what I memorize. I'm just an intellectually, overweight "spiritual" wanna-be.

In 2011, I hope by God's grace to:
1) Read the New Testament in Spanish.
2) Read the Old Testament in English (probably chronologically).
3) Read through a third of the Greek New Testament. I studied New Testament Greek for over 5 yrs and am not staying as current in the language as I would like. There are right around 7,957 verses in the New Testament. Over the next 1,095 days (3 years), D.V., that would translate into about 8 verses a day. Of course, I need to allow a fudge factor for missed days (about 15% of the total) and that'll put me over 3 years from now. While it could have benefit to my soul as I become more proficient, I should not be disappointed if I miss the mark after 3+ years. If anything, I will just keep pressing forward until it gets done.
4) Continue memorizing and reviewing portions of the New Testament.

Over the years, God has allowed me to get through the Bible a number of times, read it in about 6 English translations, use different "plans", and I have come to the conclusion that sustained exposure to the Word over years and years will not only sharpen my discernment but also will forge the story of Scripture more deeply into my heart and mind. While I do believe that piety and transformation are the effects of exposure to God's voice, I believe that the little-by-little, day-after-day, month-after-month, year-after-year, decade-upon-decade reading will bring about gradually the piety and transformation that (from our consumer mindset to sanctification) we long for NOW. We won't have to work ourselves into a "tizzy" about meditation on the Word of God, b/c we will find that the Scriptures starting seeping into many areas of our thinking and confronting us w/ the need to destroy rationales and every lofty opinion that raises itself against God's knowledge. The amazing thing about Spirit and Word working in concert is that they change my will. I have no boasting outside these gifts of Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria. Really.

For some brief yet helpful thoughts on Bible reading and New Year's resolutions, see:
Matthew Hoskinson series on Bible Reading.
John Piper on the "flexibility" resolutions.
Matt Perman on looking back and looking forward.


Christopher Allen said...

Great post, Will. I found it to be timely encouragement for me. Not on the resolution to read the text but the reminder that continual exposure etches God's story deeper into our hearts . . . changing lives in the process. That continued exposure is exactly what I needed to be encouraged in. Thanks for posting!


will pareja said...

Praise God, Chris. I have to remind myself that my own self-discipline is not tantamount to sola Scriptura. Discipline to read/study the text is just a means. The Scriptures themselves through the Spirit are able to make us wise unto salvation (2 Tim 3:15). SDG!