WHY READ THE BIBLE?
The Bible is God’s word to us. It is the record of the Story of God that orients our lives toward ultimate reality. It reveals God to us, shows us the way to be saved, brings us into a greater experience of friendship with God, and is a primary means of grace in our spiritual formation. We will not grow in our relationship with God apart from it. It makes us wise, strengthens us spiritually, nourishes our souls, and equips us for participation in God’s work. It is precious (many have given their lives for it) and it is powerful (multitudes have been given life by it).
UNIQUE FEATURES OF THE RF BIBLE READING PLAN
There are many Bible reading plans available, so what makes this plan unique? Why are we creating and promoting this plan? We have sought to create a bible reading plan that is unique in a few of its features.
Use of Repetition to Strengthen Comprehension. The best way to understand and retain the Scripture is to read it repetitively. The RF plan takes you through the New Testament three times every year in such a way that you are immersed in one New Testament Gospel or Epistle for several days, absorbing its message and internalizing it in ways a flyover, one-time reading would not permit.
Sensitivity to the Church Calendar. The Church calendar reflects the storyline of the gospel. Beginning in Advent, the flow of the Church Year tells the story of Jesus:
The seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany take us through the experience of longing for Jesus, his arrival, and the revelation of his glory to us. Lent and Easter help us experience the reality of our own sin, our need for a suffering Savior who dies and rises from the dead to secure our salvation. The Day of Pentecost and the season of Ordinary Time help us embrace our commission by the Risen Christ who has ascended to the Father and who has poured out his Holy Spirit on the Church, sending us with the gospel to our neighbors and to the nations as we await his return. The RF readings seek to align with these high points during the Church Year, even reflecting the colors of the Church calendar. Therefore, the books of the bible are not read in order, but in light of their doctrinal focus and alignment with the rhythm of the Church year.
Inclusion of a Daily Psalm. Each day a Psalm or a portion of a Psalm is included in the reading. In this way, you will complete the Psalms in a year. These Psalms serve as great aides for prayer in the evening or morning.
Reading on a Two Year Cycle. Because the reading plan is New Testament intensive, the Old Testament is read in its entirety over a two year span. If one completes the two year cycle, in two years they will read the New Testament six times, the Old Testament once, and the Psalms twice.
Days of Reflection and Make-up. We know that it is easy to get behind in any reading plan. We have scheduled every seventh day to be a day to catch up and reflect on what you have been reading. For those who are in step with the reading, they can use this seventh day to reread or study a particular section that spoke to them throughout the week
ADVENT: THE LONGING FOR CHRIST
CHRISTMASTIDE: THE ARRIVAL OF CHRIST
EPIPHANY: THE GLORY OF CHRIST
LENT: THE HOLINESS OF CHRIST
EASTERTIDE: THE INDESTRUCTIBLE LIFE OF CHRIST
PENTECOST: THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST
ORDINARY TIME: THE MISSION OF CHRIST
HOW TO READ YOUR BIBLE: LUTHER'S "SIMPLE WAY TO PRAY"
“I divide each biblical command into four parts, thereby fashioning a garland of four strands. That is I think of each commandment as first, instruction, which is really what it is intended to be, and consider what the Lord God demands of me so earnestly. Second I turn it into a thanksgiving; third, a confession; and fourth, a prayer.” This turns every biblical text into “ a school text, a song book, a penitential book, and a prayer book.” - Martin Luther
Luther's formula for prayer is an excellent and easy way to engage your Bible. Remember, the goal of reading the Bible and following through with a daily reading plan is not to check off a box, but rather to be meeting with God daily. Luther's method of prayer and Bible reading (often known as Luther's "Simple Way to Pray") can serve as a helpful guide to engage the Scriptures. We will use a familiar text of Scripture to illustrate how to use this simple pattern by Luther:
 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.  And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)
The instruction within this passage is very straight forward: "You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart,mind and strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
From this text, you can be led to thanksgiving in numerous ways.
- Thank Jesus for his infinite wisdom displayed in this passage
- Thank God for the wisdom we can glean from the Law
- Thank Jesus for his perfect fulfillment of these commandments: his perfect love for God,
and his perfect love for those around him while he walked this earth
3) CONFESSION OF SIN
"Jesus, please forgive me for the times I fall short of loving you with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength. Forgive me for the times that I do not love my neighbors as I should. Forgive me of my sins and clease me from all unrighteousness."
Here is where you can be led into spontaneous prayer according to what the Holy Spirit has laid on your heart after reading the text. Maybe you will return to thanksgiving for Jesus and to dwell on his inumerable treasures given to us through his perfect love. Maybe there are some in your life that you wished loved Jesus with all of their heart - pray for them. Let the Holy Spirit show you more ways as to how you can love Jesus and your neighbors. Often times other Bible verses you read may come to mind - say, examples of how Jesus perfectly loved his neighbors, or a quick read of the Parable of the Good Samaritan - turn to them, read them and pray through them.
We pray that this quick guide will be helpful to you as you engage this reading plan!