Thursday, January 08, 2009

Plodding Towards Pancakes

It's a new year, and it's time for new things.

This year, I've encouraged our church to read through the whole Bible. Of course, we do that every year, but this year we added a twist: everyone who is successful is entitled to a Pancake Breakfast served by yours truly and my beautiful wife.

Praise God, it's generated a lot of momentum so far! We have had at least 75 reading plans snapped up in the last 3 weeks, and I've heard reports of children as young as 7 who are tracking along.

A little secret disclosed for you faithful blog readers: For many years I successfully read through the Bible myself, but in recent years have had trouble keeping it up.

The secret (and I've known this but haven't done it) is plodding...putting one foot in front of the next. [See this post about Jerry Seinfeld doing this very thing with joke writing.]

If you want pancakes, you'll probably need to plod.

My plan this year involves reading the new ESV Study Bible with the Robert Murray M'Cheyne reading plan.

In a great post about different Bible reading plans out there, as Justin Taylor says:
With this [M'Cheyne] plan you read through:
  • the NT twice,
  • the Psalms twice, and
  • the rest of the OT once.
The plan begins with the four great beginnings or "births" of Scripture: Genesis 1 (beginning of the world), Ezra 1 (rebirth of Israel after her return from Babylonian exile), Matthew 1 (birth of the Messiah), Acts 1 (birth of the body of Christ). John Stott says of this reading schedule: "Nothing has helped me more to gain an overview of the Bible, and so of God’s redemptive plan."

If you go with this route, I'd recommend D.A. Carson's For the Love of God (vol. 1 and vol. 2 are available--vols. 3 and 4 are forthcoming). Carson's introduction and preface--which includes a layout of the calendar--are available for free online.

Since there are four readings each day, it's easy to modify this one so that you read through the Bible once in two years, by reading just the first two readings each day for the first year and the second two readings each day for the second year.
As JT suggests, I am also reading Carson's For the Love of God (vol 1). I've done it before and always profit from it.

This year, I'm enjoying having an accountability/encouragement partner in Dan Ledford. Dan and I send an email to each other each day as we complete our assignment for the day.

Now, that would be enough to keep us busy, but 2009 also brings us to John Calvin's 500th birthday. So, Dan and I have committed to reading Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion in its entirety this year, as well.

We are using the reading plan put out by the folks at Reformation21 and are tuning into their commentary as we go [pdf].

So far, so good. Let's encourage each other to keep up the plodding!


Excellent post! I'm reading Calvin this year by the way. We'll have to talk it out.

I've been enjoying reading about your church's new reading bug. That's awesome.

Are you coming to Stay Sharp this year?

Bring your team.


Will your wife cook up the pancakes at OUR house??? If yes, you can sign up David and I to plod towards pancakes!!


If you are who I think you are, it might take us until July 2010 to make it there and make the pancakes, but you betcha then!