Life in the Word

by | 18 March 2023 | Encouragement

In 1982 my wife and I moved from New England to Florida. Soon after the move we decided to start attending a church. I’m not sure exactly why this was the case. Perhaps it was because we knew no one and were somewhat lonely. A pastor at the Church asked if we’d like to join the softball team, and we did. As we got to know this Pastor and his wife we all became good friends. One day he asked if I’d consider reading a small pamphlet that he handed me. It was a copy of the Gospel of John. I agreed, and my life has never been the same since.

By His grace and mercy, the Lord used that pamphlet and that Pastor to open my spiritual eyes. Before long my wife and I received Jesus as Savior, and we have been walking with Him as Lord for more than 40 years now. From that time until now I have loved God’s word, and have made it a priority in my life.

The Bible is an amazing account of God’s love for all people. It chronicles how across the ages people have either drawn near to God or run away from Him. So much more than a mere book, the Bible is a life-changing user’s manual for those who would draw near. For Example, Hebrew 4:12 (ESV) says:

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

And 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) states that:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

I cannot imagine trying to live life without God’s word as my guide. This world is a very dark place, and it’s becoming even darker as the return of Christ draws closer. It’s no wonder that Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Without the light of God’s word, I would be groping in the darkness and would quickly lose my way.

I’ve used various methods and schedules to read God’s word over the past 40 years. Sometimes I sense the need to use a schedule that allows me to read the New Testament (NT) several times in one year, and the Old Testament (OT) at a much slower pace. At other times I like to read slowly through both the OT and NT.

On January 1, 2022, I chose to try something that’s new to me. I decided to simply read through the OT and NT one chapter at a time. I do so most mornings. Using this method I finished the NT yesterday. It took me about 14 months. As I finished Revelation yesterday, for some reason a thought entered my mind. It went something like, “Wow, it took you a long time to work through the New Testament this time, you should do better.”

As I prayed about this thought, I sensed in my heart that my goal should not be to get through God’s word, but to live in it, to absorb it, and to be changed by it. Living life in God’s word is one of the greatest privileges anyone can know. There’s no reason to rush through it. May God continue to give me patience as I draw near to Him in prayer and through His word. And may God do the same for you as you seek Him with all your heart. Amen!

For what it’s worth, I’ve found that I much prefer to read the New Testament as a “stand alone” book rather than as part of the large Bible I use for the Old Testament. This allows for thicker pages. It also allows for one column rather than two, which leaves more space for notes. If you have an interest in this approach, I suggest that you search the Internet for “ISBN 1433565692.” This New Testament in the ESV version has worked very well for me.

I’ve pasted below a copy of the reading schedule I use to track my New Testament reading. As you can see, rather than reading the NT Books in order and thus working through the four Gospels all at once, I’ve interspersed the Gospels between the other Books so that I’m refreshed by them numerous times across the schedule. Feel free to download and use this schedule by clicking here.


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