Wednesday, March 12, 2008

growing your faith through daily practice

This is a series that we're doing throughout the 6 weeks of Lent at the church I serve as pastor. I'm going to blog my way through these daily readings from now through Easter.

Reading Large Chunks of Scripture

We often read the Bible in our lives of faith, in worship, sharing favorite passages, maybe on a verse-a-day calendar. But we don’t often study or read through large chunks of scripture. The goal of this is more to get the whole story, the big picture, as opposed to studying or reflecting in depth upon a particular passage or event.

There are many ways to read the Bible. Reading through an entire book on a regular basis can be one of the most powerful in terms of experiencing the Gospel message. Most books of the New Testament were written with the goal of them being read aloud in one sitting to a particular church community. In our efforts to squeeze worship within the bounds of 1 hour (or up to 90 minutes when I’m really preaching J) we miss out on some of the purpose for which many Biblical books were composed – to be read in one sitting – to be experienced.

This week’s spiritual discipline to try out is to read through the Gospel of Mark in one sitting, or more realistically in 15 sessions from now until Easter Sunday.


  • To experience God in reading through the Gospel of Mark.

The Exercise

  • Sunday, March 9 Mark 1
  • Monday, March 10 Mark 2-3:12
  • Tuesday, March 11 Mark 3:13-4:41
  • Wednesday, March 12 Mark 5:1-6:6
  • Thursday, March 13 Mark 6:7-6:56
  • Friday, March 14 Mark 7
  • Saturday, March 15 Mark 8:1-9:1
  • Sunday, March 16 Mark 9:2-50
  • Monday, March 17 Mark 10
  • Tuesday, March 18 Mark 11:1-26
  • Wednesday, March 19 Mark 11:27-12:44
  • Thursday, March 20 Mark 13
  • Friday, March 21 Mark 14
  • Saturday, March 22 Mark 15
  • Sunday, March 23 Mark 16

Tips for the Practice

Don’t try to understand every nuance in the passages that you read each day. Rather focus on the big picture. It’s more about experiencing something that “getting it” intellectually. As you read, take in the story.

If it helps use these three questions as guides for your reading and reflection:

  • Who is this Jesus of Nazareth?
  • Why do so many abandon everything to follow him?
  • Why are you following him in your life?
  • Or why might you begin following him.

If you like this practice there are many ways to do it. Many study Bibles include reading timelines in them. You can also find many books written to empower such scripture experiences. One I like is Mark My Word. 40 Days with Jesus through the Eyes of St. Mark by Richard Giles.

Reflection Questions on your experience of the Gospel through this practice:

  • How did this practice challenge you?
  • How did you hear the gospel anew, or differently, through this reading practice?
  • Has your vision or experience of Jesus of Nazareth changed these past 16 days? How?
  • Has your vision or experience of yourself changed these past 16 days? How?

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