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‘Oh, how I love your law … Your statutes are my heritage for ever; they are the joy of my heart … ‘ Psalm 119:97, 111
‘At their best,’ writes Don Carson, ‘Christians have saturated themselves in the Word of God … The means by which God sanctifies men and women, setting them apart as his own people, is the Word of truth.’
Many people, however, would admit that they have allowed the pressures of life to crowd out serious and thoughtful reading of the Bible. Also, in a culture that has moved away from a Christian worldview, the Bible’s unwavering proclamations and fantastic stories seem ever stranger. The big picture of the Bible is gradually fading from view.
For the Love of God encourages us to face these challenges. Now, more then ever, the need to read the Bible and to grasp its relevance for our lives is critical.
This devotional guide follows Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible–reading plan, taking you through the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once. Don Carson has written thought–provoking comments and reflections to accompany one of each day’s scriptural passages. And, most uniquely, he offers a perspective that places each reading into the larger framework of history and God’s eternal plan, in order to deepen our understanding of his sovereignty and the unity and power of his Word.
Following a reading plan first devised by a young Scottish minister, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, this Bible companion works on the conviction that we should not read sections of the Bible in isolation. M’Cheyne felt strongly that we should always keep in mind the ongoing plotline of Gods Word, the whole story of God’s wonderful redemption. This will help us avoid the pitfalls of misinterpreting scripture, an inevitable consequence when individual passages are not “placed within the framework of the big picture”. Four different daily Bible readings will guide you through reading the Psalms and New Testament twice and the rest of the Bible once in one year. M’Cheyne further split the four daily readings into two readings for family devotions, two for private study and this is why there are two volumes with the same title. Reflections in Volume One are based on the family readings, whilst Volume Two focuses on the private readings. (Over the last 150 years many Christians have used the whole plan purely for private devotions). Each volume could be bought separately and you would still complete the reading plan for the year, but for those who have a real desire to dig deeper, the two volumes used simultaneously would add further depth and texture, providing a more holistic understanding. D.A Carson offers great advice in the introduction which I’ll share just in case you dive straight in and miss it. “If you must skip something, skip this book; read the Bible instead. If you fall behind, do not use that fact as an excuse for giving up the effort until next January 1. Either catch up (by an afternoon of diligent reading, perhaps some Sunday), or skip ahead to where you should be and take up there…Learn to distill what a passage is saying, and pray it back to the Lord – whether in petition, thanksgiving, praise, or frank uncertainty.” On numerous occasions I have picked these volumes up whilst browsing the bookstall, but it is only now that I have looked at them more closely, that I can appreciate what a truly great and helpful resource they actually are. I’ve put them on my Wish List, why not put them on yours?
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