Reading through the New Testament…Chronologically

I do not know how many of you are reading through your New Testament at this time, but for those CrossPointers who are doing so I would like to hear from you.

My mentor, Harry Lucenay, challenged me to read through the Bible every year of my ministry.  I accepted his challenge in 1987.  I am just weeks away from completing my 21st reading.  Thank you, Harry Lucenay, for your influence.

Each year I read God’s Word I learn something new, especially when I read through it in a different translation.  However, this year marks my first time to read through the Bible “chronologically”, and I must say I see the Bible with brand new eyes.

Reading the Old Testament chronologically was enlightening.  The chronological plan forced me to keep storyline of Scripture in my head.  Reading through the Old Testament sequentially enabled me to prepare for an Old Testament Survey class I am teaching for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary this fall at the Church at Brook Hills.  I will share more about that experience in a future blog.

Now that we are reading through the New Testament the Bible is coming alive.  I read several days worth of readings this morning because I was consumed with the story.  I could not put down my Bible.  I wanted to read all four Gospel accounts.
I think I have told you before, but for those who do not know I am “listening through the Bible” this year.

Thanks to Max McClean (click here: http://www.biblegateway.com to learn more) I “feel” like I am present with Jesus in the story.  McClean’s voice inflections, the moving music in the background and his precise articulation create a moving story.  McClean helps me picture the scenes and the setting.  Now I understand more clearly what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28).  Something powerful happens in the Bible study experience when you HEAR the Word of God.

Tomorrow, I want to show you what we can learn from Jesus in just a few short verses of exchange He shared with His disciples.  Again, I would like to hear from any CrossPointers who are reading through the New Testament with me.  Tell me what you are learning.


4 Responses to “Reading through the New Testament…Chronologically”

  1. 1 walt
    October 16, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Well, I’m neither a Crosspointer nor reading the NT chronologically, but I thought I’d add my two cents anyway.

    First, I’d be interested to see the chronological order that you’re using. Is it the order in which the books were written? Or the order in which the biblical events occurred (which would entail breaking Acts into sections, etc.)?

    You asked “What are you learning?”

    Whenever I read the first five chapters of Matthew (for example), I’m most impressed by the humility of the various people we encounter in those chapters.

    Here’s my working definition of humility: Acknowledging one’s absolute and total dependence on God (and surrendering to it), where one subordinates one’s “self” as much as possible to a) the will of God, and b) the good of the “other” (others).

    We see true humility modeled for us in the first place, and most perfectly, by Jesus and his desire to become incarnate. We see humility in Joseph and Mary, in the Wise Men, in John the Baptist, inn Jesus receiving baptism, and again in Jesus when he is tempted in the desert (though this might be more accurately called meekness, but that is very closely related to humility). We see humility exercised by the apostles who followed Jesus immediately when invited. Finally, all those demonstrations of humility lead us to the Beatitudes, the first three of which are so very intimately bound to the virtue of humility.

    Those first five chapters serve prepare us by teaching us humility, so we will truly have hearts open to receive the good news that follows.

  2. 2 Lee
    October 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I never noticed until reading them so close together the differences between the genealogies of Matthew and Luke: Matthew starts with Abraham to prove his succession as the rightful king of the Jews; Luke’s genealogy starts with Jesus and works backward all the way to God, proving he is the son of God, the second Adam who, unlike the first, remains perfect. REALLY COOL!

    Also, each of the three accounts (who might have had a central “Q” source) emphasize distinct qualities of Jesus for the sake of communicating with their specific audience: Matthew – the fulfillment of Jewish Prophesy to a Jewish audience, Mark – a brief account written with urgency that emphasizes Jesus as the son of God for a Gentile (mainly Roman) audience, and Luke, emphasizing the most comprehensive story of Jesus with an emphasis on the title “Son of Man,” giving particular attention to his empahty from being a man for the needs of men, demonstrating comapassion, mercy, and equal attention to everyone no matter their race, gender, or status. Following the accounts chronologically through all three is creating a comprehensive structure to the story that portrays a beautiful connectivy that forms a fuller image to the person, deity, character and purpose of Jesus as son of God, son of Man, and Messiah, like pieces of a puzzle connected to form a full image; his beauty is beyond compare.

  3. 3 Roxie
    October 16, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you so much, Ryan, for challenging us to read through the Bible. I think this is my fourth year to do so and it gets more exciting every year. In fact, I am looking forward to reading it again next year. But this year has really been different since we are reading through it chronologically. Now I understand what God was doing with His chosen people and why He had to discipline them sometimes, so now I can equate it with my own life. The New Testament is becoming more alive to me and as I see how different writers saw the same event in a slightly different way but it was still the same event.They don’t contradict each other, they compliment each other. I am enjoying it so much and look forward each day to reading the daily scripture. I am reading the Apologetics Bible which has given me some insights into how other denominations and cults twist certain scripture to fit their points of view. I am curious now as to why no other preacher I have ever heard has issued this challenge to his church. This should be a standard teaching, especially in this day and age.

  4. October 16, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Walt, our chronological reading plan is based on both the order of the books and the events, if that is possible. It is more event driven in the New Testament.

    You are welcome to download a copy on our church webpage: http://www.crosspointchurch.info. Click the tab for the Pastor’s Corner and then click the link to the Bible reading plan.

    We are using the One Year Bible next year for our Bible reading plan. It breaks down the daily Bible reading into four sections — OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs. Our people are ordering their Bibles here at CrossPoint. These Bibles are easy to find. You can call my assistant at CrossPoint Tina and she will order you one, or you can purchase one online or in a Christian bookstore.

    Grace always.

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