Resolved: To Grow in Knowledge of Scripture in 2012

January 2, 2012 — 3 Comments

Both for my benefit and yours, I thought it might be helpful to put some of my New Year’s Resolutions in writing. It benefits me by making it rather public and also helps me clearly articulate some areas of improvement to focus on this next year. It could benefit you by giving you some ideas for your own resolutions.

Now I realize not everyone is on the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon, and I wouldn’t really consider myself on it either. Some may feel that making any kind of resolutions for doing more/trying harder in the new years smacks of works righteousness. It certainly might, but I think it depends on your overall motivation. I’m not resolving to do anything so that God will accept me or love me more. I’m resolving to grow in my knowledge of God and Christlikeness because God already loves me and accepts me in Christ.

I think with that difference in mind, resolutions are merely an exercise in grace driven effort. I want to do these things to grow, and in order for that to happen God will need to supply the grace. Without God, resolutions are just me trying to pull myself up my bootstraps and the end result will either be pride (because I did it!) or despair (because I failed!).

So in that light, this week I think I’ll post some of the resolutions/goals I have for this coming year.

For starters, I’d like to grow in my knowledge of Scripture. As Edwards resolved:

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

To do that, I’m using the reading plan from Professor Grant Horner (10 chapters a day from various lists), which I posted about last month. Tim Challies has more to say about it as far as resources go, and there is even a Facebook Group.

You may notice a slight discrepancy between how this reading plan should work and what Edwards resolved (hint: Edwards says “study” and this plan doesn’t really allow that). My purpose in doing this plan is more saturation than study. I think I’ve got the study part down (the process, not the mastery of Scripture) but I’d like to do a plan aimed at really familiarizing myself with the totality of Scripture and seeing different connections I might miss by doing a sequential read through or in depth study of a single book.

Since the goal is to grow in knowledge of Scripture, I’m not bound to keep up this plan, but I’ll definitely see how it goes this first month and then go from there.

If you’re looking for a Bible reading plan to start off your year, and aren’t particularly interested in joining us in the 3650 challenge, here are two roundups for your enjoyment:

  1. Justin Taylor’s list
  2. Nathan Bingham’s list

If you can’t find one on there that works, maybe create your to own, but at least have some plan or reading Scripture is likely to fall through the cracks. Trust me on that, I know!

Nate

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I’m an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let’s connect!

3 responses to Resolved: To Grow in Knowledge of Scripture in 2012

  1. All right, I’m really gonna stick my neck out on this one, so bear with me and see if I’m able to support the assertions.

    1. “doing more/trying harder in the new years smacks of works righteousness.” … “…it might, but … depends on your overall motivation.”

    Good motivation, alone, is not enough. But there’s nothing wrong with “to grow in my knowledge of God and Christlikeness” in itself. Caveat, I’ll mention in a second.

    2. Paul has a great phrase, that his countrymen had zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Rm 10:2). In other words, Paul testifies positively about his countrymen, that their zeal was for God, yet his criticism was of their zeal not being informed.

    I’d like to provide some “knowledge” on this plan. Knowledge about its lists, in particular. Regarding the time being spent in the various books, the lists incorporate a preference, a large preference in some cases, of some book groups over others. When this is well-known, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it should be explicitly stated: read on!

    All this is fine, as long as you know a) that it is doing so; b) how to adjust it (another post). Here are the relative skews of each group, by group: in the following table, think of each group as normally getting all 100% of its relative time, but what you actually are doing when do it the “36500 way.” It has 10 groups. The groups give the following relative preferences to their group of chapters, compared to 100% being all get the same fair share.

    Group 1 (gospels): 134%
    Group 2 (Moses): 64%
    Group 3 (major Paul letters): 153%
    Group 4 (rest of NT except Acts) 183%
    Group 5 (OT wisdom except Prov) 191%
    Group 6 (Psalms) 79%
    Group 7 (Proverbs) 383%
    Group 8 (OT history): 48%
    Group 9 (OT prophecy): 48%
    Group 10:(Acts) 425%

    If you want to read Acts over five times as much as the Psalms, that’s fine, but this should help you know what the plan is structuring your Bible reading to be.

    We can make a spoof about this, since I’m guest of a very fine blogger who didn’t invent this plan. It sounds like the preferences of a church administrator who wants to get away with skipping the boring history stuff, and all that stuff about how people feel, as much as possible, and read the good stuff — the action movie stuff, over and over instead.

    1. Back to the motivation for doing this. What would be the difference between the very fine motivation you mentioned, and the following, three-word-change to it? “to assert growth in my knowledge of God and Christlikeness” Do I want to grow, or do I want to have a self-made measuring tool by which I convince myself of growth?

    • Larry,

      I like your stats, and think it does say something about the reading lists. I don’t intend to keep Acts on a monthly rotation, and the guy that made the list even said other books can be substituted in their for more in depth focus (which I plan on doing). I’m prone to personally tinker with things like this, so I may have modified it beyond recognition by the end of the year (or sooner).

      To your last point, I think someone could skew their motivation for doing the list and look at it as a one-to-one correspondence between “how much I’ve read the Bible” and “how much I’ve now grown in knowledge.” At least I think you’re pointing out that someone might just use this as a way to convince themselves they’ve grown simply because they’ve done all this reading. Certainly that’s a danger, but at least in my case, completing the reading list isn’t necessarily the measurement of growth. It is a tool, but the measurement will show up in my life elsewhere and is something other people will have to verify. Hence, the reason to do this in community.

      Does that make sense?

      Nate

      • Sure does of course. I’m going to go over to your stuff about change in the Christian life real soon; I’m very interested in that.

        “The measurement will show up in my life elsewhere and is something other people will have to verify.” I’d like to get that unpacked that in detail sometime.

        So. Until further notice, we can ask you anything we want, tomorrow, about Mt 1, Gen1, Rm 1, 1 Th 1, Job 1, Ps 1, Pr 1, Josh 1, Is 1, and Acts 1. And boy do I got detailed Q’s! đŸ˜‰ Lord bless I’ll look forward to reading your stuff.

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