Reading the Bible in 2019

Reading through the Bible seems like a daunting task, but it only takes about ten minutes a day. Most of us, however, would benefit more from a structured plan rather than just sitting down and reading Gen 1:1 forward. Thus, in an effort to assist you in your Bible reading goals I have gathered a few reading plans from across the web that I hope you will find helpful.

The good people at Crossway have several good reading plans. The M’Cheyne Reading Plan puts you in four chapters each day (2 OT/2 NT), and in one year you read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. The Daily Light on the Path reading plan has both morning and evening readings. Through the Bible in a Year begins in both Genesis and Matthew, providing you a slow read through the Bible that helps you meditate more (this plan is also good for those who want to read the Bible in the original languages). There are also plans that cover a shorter amount of ground, such as the 6-Month New Testament, A Psalm a Day, A Proverb a Day, and 30 Days in the New Testament. Also, the ESV Bible iPhone app has many more Bible reading plans (tip: you can set it to read at your own pace), and Justin Taylor provides others here.

Denny Burk created his own reading plan, From Beginning to End. Jim Hamilton’s book God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment has a reading plan where you’re able to read excerpts from the book and the respective biblical text (Printable, Digital, Kindle). Of course, if you want to follow this plan you’ll need to get his book. Ligonier Ministries also provides many Bible reading plans for 2019, and Scott Aniol has a 5 Day Bible Narratives Reading Plan.

Tolle lege!

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Dave Black’s Advice to Graduate Students

I found this advice by Black helpful.

1) If it’s worth writing, it’s worth publishing. This includes your master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation. I know that some might disagree. They feel that a student’s writing should “mature” before he or she publishes. I’m not so sure. My first journal article was based on my master’s thesis. My first book was my doctoral dissertation. I encourage my students to begin publishing while in school — and many do. Continue reading

Michael B. Shepherd Interview

My former Old Testament professor Mike Shepherd recently published a commentary on the Book of the Twelve. Shepherd influenced me early on with his love for the biblical text, so I was not surprised to see this answer in a recent interview.

I agree with Psalm 1 that the blessed person is the one who “murmurs” (i.e., reads aloud quietly to oneself) in the text of Scripture at all times (Ps. 1:2). In my opinion, the oldest and best way to communicate exegesis of Scripture in its original languages and on its own terms is the translation and commentary format. It allows the Scripture to dictate the agenda. The exegetical process has allowed me to enter a textual world that has a grand vision of Christ and his kingdom, and I will continue to live in that world.

You can read his full interview and pick up his commentary on Amazon (all of his books are worth purchasing), and I hope this work will encourage the church to read and preach from the Twelve.

PhD Journey Reflections

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien

On July 2, 2018 I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation and officially completed my formal theological training. Since then, reality is slowly setting in that I’ve completed a journey I intended to travel many years ago and can now “rest” for some time.

I wanted to jot down two reflections on my PhD journey that I hope will encourage you: 1) to pursue doctoral studies, or 2) not to quit.

First, a PhD forces you to think, read, write, and argue at a much higher level than an M.Div or M.A. I was challenged in my seminars, and especially my dissertation, to write for clarity while not sacrificing the core of my argument. This demand frustrated me, but once I adapted to what was requested I began to notice how helpful their suggestions were. Academics are notorious for writing laborious, loquacious, and superfluous arguments that are confusing at worst, and unhelpful at best. The strive for clarity forced me to be more precise in my words and to keep it simple. As an added bonus this type of writing unintentionally transferred into my preaching and teaching, and I am a better expositor of the word because of it. Continue reading