There are three reasons why I am reading the Old Testament books of the Prophets–from Isaiah to Malachi–this year.
Last year was the end of seven years of service to young adults at my church. During my ministry I would issue a yearly challenge to read a certain portion of scripture, which we would also go through together when we met. We read and/or studied much of the Bible together, including the Gospels, Acts, the writings of Paul, Peter and John, not to mention the narrative books of the Old Testament and Psalms. In a way, reading the Prophets is simply a continuation of the journey through the Bible I have already begun.
I may not have a group of young adults to lead anymore, but I do have a family. So this reading plan is not just for me alone, but for my wife as well. When we read the same thing in scripture each day it becomes a springboard for discussion throughout the week. As we talk, God begins to open up His Word to us in new ways and we have an opportunity to build each other up.
I’ve been a Christian for 30 years now. I’ve attended church faithfully. I’ve gone through Children’s Church, Youth Groups, and discipleship groups. I attended a Christian school from first through twelfth grades. I went to a Christian university and even got a graduate degree in Christian Apologetics. I’ve been in worship ministry for over 20 years and (as I mentioned) I was a young adult pastor for seven years. Nevertheless, there is one glaring hole in my Christian education. I must at last confess: I have never read the entire Bible.
I know much of the Bible very well, and I have a feel for most of it. But any time I have ever tried to read the Bible all the way through I’ve gotten stuck somewhere in the Prophets. One would think that after getting through the Psalms the Prophets would be easy. Maybe it’s the 66 chapters of Isaiah that are so daunting, or the jolting shift from the love poetry of Song of Solomon to the stern tone of prophetic judgement. Whatever my previous impediments, this reading plan is now on the calendar. It’s out there. It’s public. Whether or not anyone else joins us, my family and I have committed to reading all the major and minor prophets in 2012. That means you can stop me on the street and ask me how my reading is going. Because this year will go down in history as the year I finished the Bible.