Every year I have some sort of plan for reading through the Bible. Last year I took it slow and digested particular books of the Bible through inductive study and meditation (Philippians, John, Psalms). A few years ago I read through the entire Bible accompanied with a reading plan for Jim Hamilton's God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment (highly recommend) and really enjoyed it.
This year I am reading through the entire Bible accompanied by Tom Schreiner's The King in His Beauty. Schreiner is one of my favorite theologians for the reason being that he does Biblical Theology so well in all of his writings (E.g. His book on covenants). The King in His Beauty is a beautiful culmination of deep theological reflection coupled with a cohesive thread Schreiner masterfully weaves through each book of the Bible.
The book is broken into nine parts:
Each "part" groups books of the Bible together to give the reader a well-rounded, cohesive view of the entire canon. Schreiner's goal is that the reader would leave the book with a greater understanding of the "major themes in the narrative" (p. xii, TKIHB). I believe that a careful reading of Schreiner's book, accompanied with focused Bible reading, will help you see the broader story line of the Bible in each book of the Old and New Testament.
I commend you to read through the Bible this year with TKIHB as an aid for helping you grow in your knowledge and love of God. You can find one-year and two-year reading plans here. May the Lord bless you and keep you as you read His Word this year!
I love the annual THINK conference at College Park Church. So much in fact that my wife and I have weaved it into our anniversary celebrations over the years--romantic, I know. It's safe to say that I love THINK. But why? Three reasons stick out:
1. The emphasis on theological development.
A.W. Tozer is known for stating that the most important thing about you is what you think about when you think about God. I love that. By definition, everyone is a theologian because everyone has a view of God. The question is not—am I a theologian? The question is—am I a good one? Yet in my experience churchmen tend to gravitate towards other things: Christian practice, spiritual disciplines, social justice, and practical theology. While all of these things are good and right, they must be surrounded by an accurate biblical-theological framework in order to function the way God intended. THINK has served as a theological pulse check for me every year—reminding me of what is important. Namely, my view of God.
2. No matter who you are—you learn.
Bruce Ware. Jim Hamilton. Erwin Lutzer. D.A. Carson. John Piper. Ravi Zacharias. Every year the featured THINK speakers never fail to deliver robust theological truths in engaging ways. From the book of Jeremiah to an overview of the life of Martin Luther, each presentation I've ever listened to has left me captivated and inspired to learn more. So whether you are a new believer or a seasoned minister, you are guaranteed to walk away from THINK wishing it lasted longer.
3. Lots of (cheap) books.
One of the biggest perks of attending the THINK conference is the huge selection of solid books on sale for 40-75% off their original price.
I have friends that literally wait to buy books all year until the THINK conference because they can save hundreds of dollars. This is a great service to the church and a huge incentive to attend THINK.
THINK|18 is coming up March 2-3, 2018. Ravi Zacharias International Ministries will be speaking on apologetics and defending the faith. I encourage you to sign-up and attend. Soli Deo Gloria!
I read nearly everything written by Ray Ortlund and David Powlison. Why? Because what they write is typically prophetic, poignant, and filled with hope. Below are two articles they each wrote in 2017 that I found incredibly helpful:
"What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?"
This was the question Jon Gauger asked Tim Keller. Keller's answer is both shocking and convicting. Read what he said:
"I would do less surfing of the Internet, without a doubt. There are a hundred other things that would be better: more time with my wife, more time praying and meditating, more time reading. I think the Internet is a friend of information but an enemy of thought. It's great at snippets of information, but it doesn't help you think or reason. In fact, the more you're online, the less patient you are with sustained reasoning and with a longer narrative. It doesn't make you more able to think through critical issues. So I would certainly spend less time on the Internet."
I can't get over this sentence: "I think the internet is a friend of information but an enemy of thought." I've thought a lot about this over the past year or so—in part because of reading Deep Work and The Shallows. Keller puts his finger on that which we all know to be true: the Internet is a hurricane of information. Sadly, this hurricane often leaves our heads spinning—unable to meditate, spend time in solitude, or even to concentrate.
Let's heed Keller's advice in 2018. Spend less time in front of a screen and more time enjoying the company of others and communion with God.
My friend Don Whitney (who also endorsed my book, Mentoring Like Jesus) wrote up ten questions to ask yourself at the beginning of 2018. My favorite of the questions is the first one.