A Better Way to Know the Bible Better
By Pastor Tom Anderson
Do you want to know the Bible better? Studies show that a majority of people both inside and outside of the church answer with a resounding yes. The two overwhelming obstacles for most people are these: 1) They are too busy and 2) They just don’t know where to begin.
Did you know that reading the Bible actually makes people better? Research done by the Center for Bible engagement found that people who read scripture four or more times a week experienced far less destructive behavior in their lives: 62% less drunkenness; 59% less pornography use; and a 30% reduction in feelings of isolation and loneliness. Bible engagement is the single most powerful predictor of spiritual growth and greatly improves the quality of personal and family life.
I’d like to recommend a great book that will enable busy people who don’t know where to start to master the core message of the Bible in just 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for one year. It’s Core 52: A Fifteen Minute Daily Guide to Building Your Bible IQ in One Year by Mark E. Moore. Moore was a New Testament Professor at Ozark Christian College and now serves as a pastor in Arizona.
The strategy of the book is simple. Each week is focused on a single Bible verse for you to memorize. For example week one is Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Moore then supplies a 4 page essay on the meaning of creation in the Bible. Further scriptures are provided which elaborate on the theme of creation. Each week has a simple application exercise. For example in week one: identify one small thing you could do to care for creation.
Along the way Moore provides additional book recommendations and scripture for those who want to know more and can go further than 15 minutes. But I’d say you stick with the 15 minutes for a whole year. You can go back in future years to drill down deeper into the recommended resources.
The 52 chapters take a participant through many key concepts and the key storyline of the Bible such as human identity, the Fall, covenant, holiness, the cross and others. Key doctrines are also treated: incarnation, baptism, and resurrection. There’s even a week on "God’s solution to Racism" which has the key verse Acts 17:26 “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth…”
Some doctrines–like baptism– elicit different theological interpretations among Christians. Moore takes an irenic approach, seeking to affirm the differences and emphasize the common ground among Christians. He does not come from a Methodist understanding yet does not force the reader into a single conclusion. His key points are ones that all Christian traditions can affirm: Baptism is a sacrament. Baptism is the proper response to faith in Jesus, marking our new life in Christ. Baptism connects us to God through faith in Jesus Christ and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
If you’ve always been too busy to read the Bible, or if you just don’t know where to start, Core 52 might be a great option for you. Know the Bible better because Bible engagement will make you a better person. It’s only $11 on Amazon.