Joel Arnold is on the Bible Faculty at BJMBC.
Transform your understanding of the Bible with this 25-day sweep through Scripture.
Read the Bible in 25 days?!?
Another year at BJMBC is nearly finished. The holiday fever has begun as students struggle to stay focused through their last week of classes.
But this year we challenged our students to end the year by blowing the top off of their expectations; to do something so radical it sounds impossible and to use their Christmas break in the best possible way. Specifically, we challenged them to read through the entire Bible in 25 days.
It’s a little crazy, but less crazy than you think. It’ll take about 2-3 hours per day, starting this Saturday.
And now we are inviting you to join us. We have a schedule (see below), a Facebook accountability group to keep everyone motivated, and more than enough excitement. Here are a few practical suggestions to make it possible:
Make the Impossible Possible
1. Be alert.
Don’t read lying down. We all know where that goes. Stand up, or walk around while you read if you need to.
2. Be active.
Buy a cheap award Bible and mark as you go. Keep it super simple—underline things that amaze you. But resist the temptation to get too detailed.
3. Be fast.
There are times to read the Bible slowly and digest every word. There are other times to just keep moving. The goal is to get a fly-by overview of your entire Bible. Discipline yourself not to stop—just keep moving!
4. Be creative.
You could read some books out loud together with friends. (Extra fun is to read it like a play with parts!) Or try reading and listening to an audio book at the same time. I suggest not relying on audio Bibles alone, though—your mind will wander.
5. Be accountable.
Have someone hold you accountable, either a friend or a family member. Or join the Facebook group for daily encouragement and check-ins.
Reading the Bible intensely in a short time transforms the way you understand it.
Why do we view so much of God’s words to us closed, confusing and opaque? Maybe because we don’t read the whole thing! Or maybe because even when we do, it is spread out too far for us to notice the constant, rich patterns in the tapestry?
The most powerful memory I have with reading Scripture was one Christmas break when I decided to read the Bible in as short a time as possible. It was like flying over Scripture in a helicopter. I’ll never forget it. It changed my life.
No question, reading like that is a lot of work. There will be days when you feel like quitting. Life will happen and you’ll have to catch up.
But I’m also absolutely certain that no-one who finishes this project will regret it. One month from now, you could have a radically expanded vision of the richness of Scripture. What better thing could you hope to accomplish in the next 25 days?
Come join us!
Dr. Atan Taclob is on the Bible Faculty at BJMBC.
We know prayer plays a vital role in missions and ministry. But we don't always know how to offer specific, gospel-centered requests for those on the front lines. Here are seven Scripture-based prayer requests we can pray for pastors and missionaries today.
In his epistles, the apostle Paul often encourages believers to live a life of prayer. However, there are five passages in which he asks churches to pray for him and his co-laborers in the ministry.
1. “Brethren, pray for us” (1 Thessalonians 5:25).
Chronologically, this is the first time Paul asks a church for prayer for himself and his ministry.
This general prayer request may sound like it was added hastily or unintentionally at the closing of his letter. But Paul’s request in 1 Thessalonians 5:25 is purposeful and loaded with evangelistic zeal. Behind this general prayer request lies the many conflicts, heartaches, and physical and emotional sufferings that Paul had already suffered during his second missionary journey:
But we can also add to this list the various trials and oppositions that Paul experienced during his first missionary journey:
Although this first passage is somewhat general in nature, the next four passages in which Paul asks for prayer are all very specific in nature.
2. “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
3. “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed” (Romans 15:30-32).
4. “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak” (Colossians 4:2-4).
5. “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20).
7 Specific Prayer Requests for Those in the Ministry
If we combine all of these prayer requests, it is clear that there are seven specific things for which Paul is asking for prayer. These are the same seven things that we should pray for those who are in the ministry.
1. The fast spread of the gospel.
"that the Word of the Lord may have free course" (2 Thessalonians 3:1a)
2. Acceptance of the gospel among unbelievers.
"that the Word of the Lord may . . . be glorified, even as it is with you" (2 Thessalonians 3:1b)
3. Protection from evil men.
"that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men" (2 Thessalonians 3:2)
"that I may be delivered from them that do not believe" (Romans 15:31a)
4. A well-received ministry to the saints.
"that my service . . . may be accepted of the saints" (Romans 15:31b)
5. Opportunity to share the gospel.
"that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ" (Colossians 4:3)
6. Clarity in presenting the gospel.
"that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak" (Colossians 4:4)
7. Boldness in presenting the gospel.
"that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel . . . that therein I may speak boldly" (Ephesians 6:20)
These prayer requests all have one thing in common—the gospel.
Paul was consumed with the gospel. He lived a gospel-centered life.
He petitioned churches for gospel-centered prayers.
Knowing that many prayed to God for Paul, can we say that God answered their prayers?
God delivered Paul from many dangers. Through his ministry many souls came to know Christ. Churches were planted and strengthened. And at the end of his life, Paul was able to say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."
A crucial part in the success of Paul as a Christian and as a missionary was the fervent prayers of churches to God for him.
We also can help other believers succeed in their Christian life and in their ministry by praying for them with these prayer requests in mind. Let us labor in advancing God’s kingdom on earth by praying for one another with these gospel-centered prayer requests.
Download a copy of these 7 prayer requests for your church or personal use.
Keep your focus on God's Word with these beautiful printables.
Deuteronomy 6 reminds us that God’s words should be always on our hearts, written on the doorposts of our houses, on our gates, and even as a sign on our hands and between our eyes.
A pretty good modern equivalent for that might be to keep God's Word visible on the tools we use every day—our gadgets and computer desktops. What if we made special effort to put Scripture before us everywhere we go? What if we printed beautiful designs of Scripture and put them all about us? But where to start?
Beth Naval, a graduate of BJMBC and professional art designer created the following layouts and made them available for your benefit and edification. Put the word of God all around you, memorize it, love it and let it change your life!
Please contact the BJMBC office in order to contract Beth Naval for her professional design services.
Timothy W. Berrey is the Director of Graduate Studies at BJMBC.
Have you personally experienced the gift of God's love?
HOW MUCH DOES GOD LOVE YOU?
1. He loved you long before you loved Him.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:4-5).
2. He refused to just let you perish in your sins (like you deserve).
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
3. He sent His Son into the world to take on humanity so that you could have eternal life.
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9).
4. He poured out His wrath against your sin on His own Son.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).
5. Because His just wrath against sin has been completely satisfied, He now offers you mercy instead of wrath, life instead of death, eternal kindness in Christ Jesus instead of inescapable bondage to sin and to Satan—all (because of His grace) through faith alone.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:1-9).
6. He wants to rescue you from your current sinful lifestyle, apart from any works of your own, by the cleansing and transforming work of the Holy Spirit, freely available through Jesus Christ.
For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:3-6).
7. He allows all who have received His Son Christ Jesus by faith to be called one of His children.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God (I John 3:1).
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (John 1:12).
8. He is calling you through the Gospel (through what you are reading now!) to enjoy the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and experience eternal comfort and genuine assurance.
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ….Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace… (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, 16a).
9. He will not make you wait until you arrive in your home in glory in order to enjoy His presence but will instead make you His home during your life on earth.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23).
10. He guarantees you victory over anything that you think might separate you from His love.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).
God Loves You!
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Reading, learning, growing. God calls us to be changed through His Word. At BJMBC, our goal is to speak truthfully and clearly about that Word, while we prepare a future generation of students to proclaim it.