Friday, January 4, 2013

Studying the GOSPELS in 2013

Note: This Bible Study schedule has been updated.  Please go here for part 2.

More than a year ago, after I finished studying my way through Nehemiah, I started praying about how to intentionally continue Bible study.  I loved the personal nature of reading and journaling through verses in the Bible so really wanted to continue that type of studying.  But, what made the Nehemiah journey so compelling was that I felt so CALLED to it.  It so closely paralleled the struggles of my real life at the time that I felt like I was drawn into the book in a personal and intimate way.  I think I was waiting for that to happen again.  So, as 2012 started and I decided I was going to study the Gospels (Matthew-John), I waited to get "motivated" ...and in the mean time, I just let life get in the way.  I could give lots of reasons (excuses) why I didn't pursue the study more, but just know that by the middle of the year I'd nearly forgotten about it.

Do you ever find yourself saying "ALRIGHT ALREADY, I'll do it", in response to being nearly beaten over the head with a message? Am I the only one that sometimes has to have things practically written on the wall before you act on it? I mean, really, sometimes I can be so HARD headed.
Commence head beating.
I'm not exaggerating that event after event over the last couple of months have said "Allison, you really need to KNOW Christ, know more about Jesus, who he was, what he taught, how he lived.  STUDY THE GOSPELS already."   So, I'm gonna try again.  Studying the Gospels.  But this time I have something that was lacking in 2012...a (super simple, easy to follow) plan.

So, here's my plan:

1) READ the GOSPELS (in parallel)
I've done some research on parallel Gospel tables and this is the one I like best:
I like it because it is really easy to use and its just the WORD, no commentary (although you can click on links to commentaries very easily from the home page).  And the links for each section work (and are still easy to read) from my ipod touch.  Making the study, like me, very mobile. 
I will say- I don't know anything about this site.  I'm not getting anything for recommending it.  And please click on any advertisements or other links at your own risks, or better yet just don't.

I'm going to do about 4 sections of this breakdown a week, but have divided it up so it flows based on the story and length of the sections (for example the whole Sermon on the Mount is only one section so I left a whole week for that).

Because I'm specifically wanting to read and study about Christ, I'm journaling through in a very intentional way.  I've got a spiral divided into the following categories:
- Characteristcs
- Teachings/Commands
- Miracles
And I'm sure as I go I may add other sections.

3) MEMORIZE the Word with my family
Our kids are young, but they can already memorize scripture.  We are thinking about doing 1 verse a month.   Because we hadn't started the reading yet in January, we chose a "prophetic" verse about Jesus to start

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ISAIAH 9:6

Why am I telling you my plan? You know, I'm not really sure. 
I guess I hoped that saying it out loud will help me commit to it.
But I also hope that maybe some of you will join me. 
Adding an element of community perspective to a personal Bible study.

As a busy working mom, I've been frustrated with the structure of Bible Studies I've been part of.  PLEASE DON'T HEAR ME WRONG ON THIS.  I love/need the perspective of community while studying, and I've had some awesome opportunities to be part of those kinds of studies.  However, with 4 kids aged 6 and under, it is very difficult to have something specifically scheduled into an evening, that requires me to drop my children off (yet again) in childcare, and work my way through a workbook that may or may not be at all relevant to where I am right now.  Not that there is anything wrong with that kind of studying AT ALL, it works great for some people, it just doesn't fit into my lifestyle right now. That said- I BELIEVE that the WORD always has/needs a place in my life.  And maybe some of you feel the same way.  If so, you are exactly who I feel called to encourage in this.  Together, we can find a way to dive into the Word in a way that lets it resonate with us where we are. 

If that is what you need right now, do you wanna try this together?

Like I said, I'm following the chart below and I'll let you know each month which verse/verses our family is memorizing (probably one from the previous month's studying).  But feel free to move at your own pace, do what works best for your family, and share what you are learning on your own blog, on facebook, with me via email/text/comment- or don't share a bit.  Totally up to you.  The journaling, especially, will probably look totally different for different people.  If you are looking for a model or triggers for journaling, I've used the "Discovery Bible Study" method and "S.P.E.C.K." prompts and liked both.  I've also just journaled verse by verse.  Do some research, there are lots of good suggestions from others on how to just read and study the Bible without a workbook, so to speak.

 Its only four books of the entire Bible.  Over the course of an entire year.  So, the idea is for it to be SUPER SIMPLE and accomplish-able.  However, the idea is also for it to be very purposeful and intentional. AND to involve our families. 
Because this whole thing may be a huge learning curve, but here's what I DO know for SURE.  The Word is ALIVE, it is TRUE and it is RELEVANT.  And I have to believe that as we study about Christ- his teachings, his life, his characteristics, his miracles- we will know Him in new ways. 

Lets stand there together at the end of 2013.  Because that is the real goal.  Whether you join me in this kind of personal study, whether you attend organized Bible Study, or whether you are attending Church regularly for the very first time.  No matter how different our experiences are as we read and study The Word this year- Let's all arrive at December 31, 2013, and say we know CHRIST more fully, more deeply, and as a result our hearts and lives are changed.  And that, folks, is my New Year's Resolution!


Here are the first six months.  The numbers coordinate with the numbered sections on this link:

January (I've spent this week praying and planning.  I'll start this specific plan next week, Jan 6th)
Wk 1: 1-5
Wk 2: 6-9
Wk 3: 10-14
Wk 4: 15-18
Wk 1: 19-22
Wk 2: 23-26
Wk 3: 27-30
Wk 4: 31-35

 Wk 1: 36-40
Wk 2: 41-44
Wk 3: 45-47
Wk 4: 48-52

Wk 1: 53-56
Wk 2: 57
Wk 3: 58-63
Wk 4: 64-67
Wk 5: 68-70
 Wk 1: 71-73
Wk 2: 74-76
Wk 3: 77-79
Wk 4: 80-83

Wk 1: 84-89
Wk 2: 90-93
Wk 3: 94-98
Wk 4: 99-101 


Kendra said...

I'm in. And thankful you listened to the prompting of the Spirit to do this!! I'll be in touch...and thanks for the outline - LOVE a good outline :). You are a blessing

Courtney said...

The gospels are my favorite books of the moment. We studied Luke last year with our small group and it was by far my favorite study we did. No better way to learn how to live and love like Jesus than by studying how he lived and loved... I might just have to join you. You can't read the gospels too many times, right?

Tami Weaver said...

Great idea. It really helps to have a plan with New Years Resolutions. I know God will bless your study.

suzyj said...

I am excited about this study! I went and got my brand new spiral notebook today and I am ready to roll! Looking forward to the journey we will take as the Spirit of the Lord instructs our hearts!