Jim Kerwin's Show Notes for Kernels of Wheat Podcast
Episode 012—Are You Fulfilling Bible Prophecy?
Prophecies You Don't Want to Fulfill!
- Some Christians will fall away from the faith, drawn away by deceitful spirits, teaching of demons, and conscience-less liars — 1 Timothy 4:1-3
- The time will come [has come!] when some Christians won't endure sound teaching, will want their “ears tickled,” and will turn their ears away from the truth — 2 Timothy 3:13–4:8.
- False Christs and false prophets will be bent on deceiving God's people — Mark 13:21-23.
- The most sobering prophecy — the day when Jesus says to many of those who thought they were serving Him, “I never knew you; depart from Me.” — Matthew 7:21-23
How Do We Keep from Fulfilling These Prophecies?
- Regular, daily reading of the Bible
- Cover to cover
- Every year
- The only kind of real disciple of Jesus is a disciplined one.
Standard, Boring, Nothing-Original-Here Excuses for not Reading the Bible Systematically
- “I don't have the time.” Not true. Usually this means, “I'm lazy” or “I have other priorities” (as in “I can't miss my favorite TV shows” or “Football [or baseball or basketball or hockey”] is way more important to me.” File this under “The dog ate my homework.” God doesn't believe it — and you don't either.
- “I don't like to read” or “I have a learning disability.” Remember Brother Bruce's story. (And here I must set aside a line for an erratum: Denise points out to me that Bruce's learning disability is severe dyslexia, not ADD—Attention Deficit Disorder—as I said in the recording. I stand corrected.)
- “I don't understand it.” And that will never change until you start reading it and keep reading it!
- “I get hung up on the thees and thous.” Get a translation that's less than 400 years old! (With all due respect to the King James translation, which I love and read as a part of my translation rotation, so many words have changed or become “extinct,” that for many people reading the KJV is like trying to push a boulder uphill.)
- “I trust my [fill in the blank — pastor, minister, parent, Sunday-school teacher, TV evangelist, etc.] to teach me all I need to know about the Bible.” Chances are awfully good nowadays that your spiritual leader doesn't read through the Bible regularly and systematically either. And that person can never file the role of the Holy Spirit in opening up the Scriptures to you anyway!
- “I might miss a day or two, and get too far behind on a regular reading schedule.” There's no might; from personal experience I can tell you that you will miss days on occasion. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances (a.k.a. “real life”) occur.
- Do what you do with TV programs or overdue bills — catch up!
- If you promise God to read through regularly, keep your promise to Him. Disciple = disciplined follower.
- [Not mentioned in the podcast] One hidden blessing in falling behind — you may discover the blessing of reading a book of the Bible in one sitting, and getting the full “flavor” and import of the book.
- What good does it do to say, “I believe that the Bible is God's word, infallible, inerrant, inspired,” etc., etc., if you don't read it regularly and systematically? If you don't read it, your life declares what you really believe about the Scriptures.
- There's a one-to-one correlation between those who faithfully and systematically read the Scriptures and those who hear from God. You need to make “daily deposits” into the “bank account” of your heart.
- If you set it in your heart to read regularly, you can count on the fact that you'll draw “enemy fire,” the goal of which will be to discourage you before systematic Bible reading becomes a fixed habit. As with physical exercise programs, the first 30 days are the most difficult. After that, it gets easier and you begin to notice real dividends.
- Let me commend to you the idea of reading through the Scriptures in a different translation each year. Each one breathes something fresh into a year's reading. My “base” translations are King James and New American Standard, weaving in New International Version, Phillips' New Testament, a translation of the Septuagint/LXX version of the Old Testament (see Kernels of Wheat #5–God’s First Popular Bible Translation), and New Revised Standard. This coming year I'll probably be reading through the ESV (English Standard Version), a gift from my wife for Christmas 2010. (She promptly confiscated it and used it for her 2011 Bible reading.)
- “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16
- “O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97
- One of the requirements for a king to reign over God's people was for him to make his own personal copy of the Bible, writing it out “long hand” by and for himself , and reading from it “all the days of his life.” Deuteronomy 17:18-20
Your Own Bible-Reading Chart
I offer the following links as samples, not recommendations. My thought was to introduce various types of charts that might suit different personalities and reading styles. This quick list is by no means exhaustive. Just Google “Bible-reading charts” and you'll get over a million (yes, literally over a million!) links.
- The chart you already have: Chances are good that your own Bible has a systematic reading chart, either in the front matter or (more likely) as one of the appendices in the back matter. That's where I found my first Bible-reading chart, and that's what I followed for the first few years of my reading.
- Calendar-based chart: I used these for many years. If they have a downside, it's that they (almost) always start on January 1st. If you want to start reading on, say, March 16th, that presents a challenge (especially when your brain keeps telling you that you're 2½ months behind, based on the chart dates). But a calendar-based chart is great for those of you working off the “New Year's Resolution” motivation. Try this one—http://70030.netministry.com/images/BibleChartdailyOTandNT.pdf, the link for which is found at IntoThyWord.com.
- Week-based genre chart: Our friend Maxine, who has gone to be with Jesus, recommended this method. Scripture reading is broken up into 52 weeks, but otherwise undated. Each day of the week is devoted to reading from a different area of Scripture (e.g., Saturday = Gospels, Sunday = Epistles, Monday = The Law, etc.). This is sometimes called a “genre chart,” because each day of the week is devoted to a Bible genre (e.g., Prophets, Poetry, Gospels, etc.) Personally, I think this would drive me a bit crazy, because it would take me eight weeks to get through a sixteen-chapter epistle like Romans. But I provide it here as a suggestion because, as with Maxine, it might be your “cup of tea.” You'll find this sort of chart at www.Bible-Reading.com, specifically at http://bible-reading.com/cgi-bin/download-calendar.cgi. This particular chart has the advantage of not tying the reader to a date-specified chart; “Week #1” is whatever week the reader chooses to start.
- Set-your-own-pace chart: Maybe you want to read through more quickly than once a year. Maybe it will take you longer than a year. Perhaps you want to read through the books of the Bible “out of order.” Here's a chart style that's fairly adaptive and less structured. A sample of this can be found at http://NTResources.com/other.html, and specifically http://NTResources.com/documents/BibleRdgChart.pdf.
- A start-in-Genesis-and-end-in-Revelation straight-through chart: This is how most people read any other book. In my mind, this is almost a “guaranteed failure” approach, especially for the first-time reader encountering early on the intricacies of tabernacle furniture, Levitical rituals, minutia about sacrifices, and genealogies, for instance. (This method nearly derailed my reading the first time through; I didn't think I'd get out of Leviticus and Numbers alive!) I much prefer a system that allows me to read something in the New Testament and Old Testament every day. But I include it as a possible method anyhow, to be found on IntoThyWord.com at this link–http://70030.netministry.com/images/ThroughtheBiblePlan.pdf.
- Chronological chart: Many years ago, after numerous times through the Scriptures, I concocted a chronological Bible-reading chart, which integrated and interleaved the various Old and New Testament readings based on when they happened on the timeline of history. For instance, Psalm 51, David's psalm of repentance after his sin with Bathsheba against Uriah was exposed, was assigned reading on the same day 2 Samuel 12 was on the chart; or the various Gospel accounts of a particular miracle or parable might be read on the same day. I've long since misplaced that chart. And there are others on the ‘Net; but I haven't had a chance to read through them, so I don't know if there are any I can recommend. Nevertheless, if you do your own homework, you'll no doubt find one that fits the bill. This is a particularly fresh reading approach for those who have read through the Scriptures several times and are looking for a unique and instructive journey through a year's worth of Bible reading. If you find one you like, or you've been using one that has been a blessing to you, drop me a note in the Comments area below.
- The chart I currently use: This works for me, but I don't recommend it, any more than an experienced runner would recommend that you run a 26.2-mile marathon on your first day of jogging. (As I mentioned, I'm now reading through the Old Testament twice a year and the New Testament four times a year.) This chart's not perfect, and I'm tweaking it all the time. I mainly include it here to show that you can create your own, individualized Bible-reading chart if you have just a little bit of ability with a spreadsheet program like LibreOffice Calc or Microsoft Excel–Jim's Chart.
Don't Miss Out on the Blessings!
Your feedback is appreciated. Leave a comment (below) or drop us an e-mail.
More teaching by Jim Kerwin and others can be found on the Finest of the Wheat website.