Approximately 100 people joined Pastor Zhenya and me last Thursday in our first Bible Challenge 2022 discussion group. Personally and through Zoom, we discussed our thoughts, experiences, and questions that arose after we began January with a commitment to reading the whole Bible or New Testament throughout the year. I ended the time with this simple statement: “Remember, the goal of reading the Bible throughout the year is not to learn more or understand more. It’s a happy by-product, but it’s not the goal. ” If learning or understanding is not the goal, then what is?
The central tenet of our faith is that transformation in our lives comes through the grace of Christ, not through our own hard work or effort. This is difficult for those who are “workers” or achievement-oriented. I always explain it with a simple illustration: find the calmest, happiest, most spiritual Christian you know and ask him how it is. None of them will say that their spiritual life grew because they worked harder or worked harder. Instead, they will always give some version of the same story – they began to open their lives to Christ, to take his love for them really seriously. Then he began the work of transformation in their lives. It’s the way a story is always told because that’s how it really happens.
The goal of reading the entire Bible during the year is not to learn more or understand more, although it will, of course, happen naturally. The purpose of a focused, dedicated time of reading the scriptures throughout the year is to establish a daily, prolonged encounter with the grace of Christ. As we say every Sunday after reading the Bible, “God speaks to us through reading the Scriptures.” Taking the time to meet God through daily reading of the scriptures creates tremendous opportunities for our hearts to experience grace. We learn and understand, but we are also open to Christ who transforms us.
Kudos to those involved in the Bible Challenge 2022, and it’s not too late for everyone else to join us! May your life be reopened to the ever-effective grace of Christ.
God bless you,
Rev. Lance Marshall
biblical challenge 2022