The Word: Luke

A new year breaking through brings fresh start. As we take down our old calendar and hang the new, we say goodbye to last year. 2018 is a blank page, ready to be filled with stories, adventures, and friends.

For believers, a common goal each year is to dive into scripture. We know that God’s Word is important, but for some reason we struggle to establish a consistent reading habit. I’ve managed to establish this habit, which has resulted in a true delight in the Word. Sure, I can be inconsistent. Some days I honestly don’t feel like opening the book. But when I’m away too long I miss it. I long for it. It’s important for believers to be connected to the Word.

I taught small groups Bible studies at church for more than seven years. I’ve developed curriculum and guided discussion for both adults and young teens. In 2017 I stepped away from that for a time, but the love for the Word, the discussions it brings, and the lives changed has never faded. Year after year I’ve had believers express a desire to learn more about the Bible…learn to read it for themselves, understand it, and have their lives shaped by it. This year, let’s do it.

My own personal experience tells me there is nothing mystical or mysterious about Bible intake, it just takes a little persistence. It’s a big book. There are a number of different literary genres at play. While it’s possible to start January 1 with Genesis 1:1 and move straight through, that really isn’t an approach that is likely to lead to much success. While much of Genesis can be engaging, by mid-February Leviticus hits…this is where even the best intentions of Bible reading go to die. I’m not saying to avoid this book at all costs, there is plenty of great stuff there. It just takes a lot more work than other books. Why do the heavy lifting so early in the journey?

The strategy I’ve recommended for a couple of years is modest. It’s two books of the Bible, Luke and Acts. I love this approach for a number of reasons. First, both books are written by the same author so it’s the same writing style and voice throughout both books. Second, Luke was writing to an audience not intimately familiar with the old Jewish texts. Kind of like you and me. Third, Luke was highly educated and had a great attention to detail. Because of this, he paints vivid pictures of what is happening throughout both books. Fourth, Luke set out to preserve history. These two books read like part one and two of a historical narrative. Much of it reads like an adventure story. Fifth, a lot of the narrative is already familiar. The traditional Christmas story comes largely from Luke. Jesus’s familiar teaching and life events are here. Much of the passion narrative is also here. Luke includes the resurrection, Great Commission (Acts 1:8), and the ascension. Sixth, Luke includes things that you never knew were in the Bible, too. While there will be a lot that’s familiar, there are some fun discoveries to find as well…like the night Paul preached so late that a kid fell out a window and died. Yikes! It’s okay, Paul healed him. Seventh, Luke provides the “what” of the Gospel in the Gospel of Luke, while giving us the implications of the gospel in the book of Acts (the formation of the early church, evangelism, helping others).

So here’s my big confession…although I’ve shared this strategy countless times I’ve never actually done it myself. So, as I hang my brand new calendar, I’m going to walk this path. Feel free to come along with me if you like.

Here’s my plan: I’ll start with Luke 1:1 on January 1. My goal is to read 6 chapters per week, which will complete the book of Luke by the end of January. I’ll move on to Acts, which I’ll read at a pace of 7 chapters per week. That will be 4 weeks for Acts. If I go a little slower, that’s okay, too. I’ve got a lot of reading to do for grad school, so I’ll adjust as necessary. Grace happens. Once per week I’ll write up a blog post about what I’ve read that week. Six chapters are a whole lot of content, so my post will be a simple highlight or application from the week’s reading. I’d love it if you’d join me in the journey…share with me what you’re getting out of the text or your struggles. Let’s hold each other accountable, too. Sometime in March, maybe we’ll go on and start a new journey after this one.

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4 thoughts on “The Word: Luke

  • January 1, 2018 at 4:56 pm
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    I!m excited about this David. Having a “partner”,one or many, will make me accountable. I will start this very day with Luke. May I read more than 6 chpts. Cause once I start reading my bible I really don’t like to stop. Ok 1 questions. My bible gives me scripture to go to in ref. to the scripture I’m readibg. Do you want us to do that? Or just straight through?

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    • January 1, 2018 at 5:06 pm
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      Olga, my goal is for this to be flexible enough for you to explore it in a way that is meaningful to you. I’m going to be reading it straight through without following the scripture references at all. I’d like to soak up what Luke is sharing. Keeping it simple. But feel free to read more or less…my goal is a chapter a day. Like you, I tend to keep going. By limiting it to one, it leaves time for me to do more journaling and spend more time in prayer, which tend to be struggles for me.

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  • January 2, 2018 at 9:06 am
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    I am glad I read this post because I read 6 chapters last night. I will go back and reread and soak them up (taking note of any comments or questions I might have).
    I tried to make a post earlier. Not seeing it. So, I will try again. Forgive me for I am new to blogging.

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    • January 2, 2018 at 5:43 pm
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      Oh my! It can actually be extremely fruitful to read through a whole lot of the text in one day, but that isn’t what we’re going for here! Our goal is to set reasonable and achievable expectations and then celebrate as we go. Consider it a “Scripture snowball” where we start small and build.

      Reply

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