Where Do I Start Reading the Bible

godwin_bible460I’ve been doing this daily blog for over a decade now.  It started out as an email and then has morphed a lot into several forms. But basically what I’ve always done is this.  I follow the Morning Office out the Book of Common Prayer.  Here’s a link to the website I use.  Each morning there are three passages (an Old Testament, a New Testament, and a Gospel. There are also Psalms and other readings.

I read from them, and then whichever one speaks to me, I write a devotional on it.

But I’ve had something happen a few times recently, and it’s made me one to do something a little different.  I’ve had different people in different places come to me and ask, Andy, how do I start reading the Bible?  Where do I start?  What do I do?

And this is the thing that I tell them, and I want to be honest, it’s my suggestion.  I’m not saying it’s perfect for everyone, it’s just what I suggest.

I alway say this.  Start with Mark.  Don’t worry about starting in Genesis.  We can get there later.  Start with Mark.  I say start with a Gospel, because if you want to know who God is, you need to know Jesus.  He is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).  When you see Jesus, you see God.

So, start with a Gospel. But why Mark?  Like I said, this is just me, I like starting with Mark because it’s the shortest and quickest-moving.  Most scholars think it was the first Gospel written.  And I think it’s the easiest to understand.

Some folks say start with John, and that’s perfectly fine.  John’s got some of the passages that we love the most.

But I like starting with Mark.  To me, it’s the easiest to understand of the Gospels.

So, that’s what we are going to do. For the next, oh, I don’t know, until we are finished, we are going to read through Mark together.  Each morning, there will be a passage of Mark, and I’ll offer my own reflection from it.

I’m thinking about doing a podcast with it perhaps, and maybe even a vlog.

But I think this will be a nice change-up, and a way for us to really get into the Bible.

So, starting tomorrow, we’ll read through Mark. I’m going to be pulling the readings from Biblegateway.com and I’ll be using the NRSV, mainly because that’s the most commonly used Bible at the church I serve.

But the great thing about this website is you can read for any number of translations.

So, starting tomorrow, Mark 1.  If you want to get a head start, we’ll be looking at Mark 1:1-8.

What do you think?  I’d welcome any feedback.  Shoot me an email or connect with me through Facebook or Twitter!

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SOAP – Day Two – James 4:7-10

324904370_640I’m going to do my posts this week in the method of study that I talked about yesterday, the SOAP method.  So, let’s start!

S – scripture 

We are going to read James 4:7-10.  Read slowly.  Don’t rush through this.  Listen.  If it helps, write it out yourself.  Listen for God’s voice in this.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

O – observation 

What did you see when you read?  This is what I observed.

Submit yourself to God.  I am not the boss of my life. God is. I have to submit myself to Him.  It’s not about me.

Resist the devil, and he will flee.  The devil is not all powerful.  He is not unstoppable.  He is not the greatest power in the world, God is.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  God will be there.  He has promised.  He is always there. If we turn to Him, He will be there for us.

Cleanse, and purify.  Humble yourself.  My sin, my mistakes, they cause harm.  To others. To my walk with God.  To myself. I have to turn from them. I have to repent. I have to wash myself, and make myself clean.

A – application 

How will I apply this to my life today?

Today, I will not seek to do my will, but will seek to do God’s.  I will ask myself, before each decision, is this something that God wants me to do?  I will slow myself, I will consider my actions. I will think about my plans. I will submit myself to God.  I will do all that I can do today to live for Him, not for me.

I will keep my eyes open for temptation. And I will say no.  When faced with temptation, I will pray. I will turn to others for help. I will make sure that I resist temptation. I will remind myself that the devil is the father of all lies, and if it’s a temptation, it is a lie. And, I know that if I resist him, the devil will flee. God’s Word promises that.

I will truly repent of my sins. I will not just feel sorry for what I’ve done, but I will ask God to forgive me, I will accept that forgiveness, and I will allow God’s grace to allow me to be faithful.

P – prayer

God, help your Word to be made real in my life today.  Help me to submit myself to you today, to live for your purpose.  Help me resist temptation, in whatever way that it comes. And help me to understand my need for forgiveness and to truly repent of my sins.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phone.