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GBC Bible Reading Plan February 4-10

GBC Blog (15)

Week 6, February 4-10: Matthew 7-26

  • Sun Feb 4: Matt 7-9
  • Mon Feb 5: Matt 10-12
  • Tue Feb 6: Matt 13-14
  • Wed Feb 7: Matt 15-17
  • Thu Feb 8: Matt 18-20
  • Fri Feb 9: Matt 21-23
  • Sat Feb 10: Matt 24-26

Matthew’s Gospel gives one of four biblical versions of Jesus’ life and ministry. The Gospels all recount the most wonderful story there is, of the God of the universe coming in the flesh to be with the people he created. They tell the Good News of the long-expected Messiah, of his life and ministry, and his death, resurrection, and ascension. The rest of the New Testament unpacks the significance of this story and builds on what we read in the four Gospel accounts. Each of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—paints a distinct picture, with its own emphasis and message. They are equally true accounts of Jesus’ life, but when we read them we are not only trying to figure out “what really happened.” We are trying to understand and listen to the message each of these four biblical books is trying to convey. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all had something to say. When we read the Gospels, we do well to notice the particular things they want us to see about Jesus.

Matthew, more than the other Gospels, presents Jesus as the fulfillment of OT promises. He is the promised descendant of Abraham, the King in the line of David, and the new and better Moses who came to usher in a new and better covenant. In Matthew 4, Jesus succeeds where Adam failed and sinned, resisting the devil’s tempting promises. And in Matthew 5–7, like Moses on Mt. Sinai, Jesus goes up on a mountain and delivers a new set of laws to live by. As you read through Matthew, notice all the ways Matthew points back to the OT to show how Jesus fulfills what was the Scriptures anticipated.

Over the past weeks we have been thinking about the purposes for doing a read thru like this. The first purpose is to meet with God regularly and hear what he has to say. We could say more about that, but for now let’s shift to the second purpose, which is to cultivate a lifelong habit of growing in familiarity with God’s word. One of the most amazing things about the Bible is the way it can speak in different registers at the same time. It is both simple and complex. Its basic story and message can be grasped by children, and you can spend your whole life studying it and still just begin to scratch the surface of all it means.

I think this is a feature of Scripture that flows out of the loving character of the God who inspired it. He wants to be known, and he’s given us a way to know him. He calls us to have childlike faith (Matt 18:1–4; 19:14), and his word helps us know him from the very beginning of our lives as Christians. And on the other hand, the Bible is not the kind of book that we read just once and that’s it. It is meant to be read over and over. As we do, we can trust that God will show us new and wonderful things in it as we read it repeatedly over the course of a lifetime.

Reading through the Bible in one year does not have any kind of magic power; it doesn’t bring about the automatic effect of producing a more mature Christian life. But each time we pick it up and read it, we are building a foundation of familiarity with the story of our God and of ourselves in his world. This is a process that takes patience. We are conditioned in our present day to want immediate results, to get the quick, nutshell summary that will tell us what we need to know. There are some really good resources that synthesize the key themes of the Bible, but these are no substitute for the long, patient, soul-shaping journey of daily Bible reading. At whatever point in life you are, and whether you are just starting to read the Bible or have been reading it for a long time, investing a few minutes each day in God’s word will produce the kind of fruitful growth over the course of a lifetime that we cannot get anywhere else.

The goal of cultivating this lifelong habit is not to become an expert in the Bible, to master its content. The goal is to grow in familiarity with its message, and by becoming more familiar with it, we grow in our knowledge of the God who wrote it and in our love for him. We’ll think a bit more about this idea next week.