If you believe in working through the biblical text, why don’t you work through an entire book?

Sometimes we might work through a whole book! But mostly we’ll do short series lasting at most a few weeks, working through a contiguous section of text. There are several reasons for the short series:

  1. I find with sermon series and group bible studies, people get fatigued after a while with looking at the same biblical genre, or the same book. Variety is important to keep up interest. The goal is to be motivated to read the Bible each day, not just “tick a book off the list.”
  2. If our application is properly driven by the biblical text (rather than trying to find something different each week), the application will often be quite similar throughout the one book (particularly epistles). After all, a letter was written to be read out in one sitting, and addressing a particular topic. Two months through 1 Corinthians, for example, is a lot of time to be getting the message “be united” (1 Cor 1:10).
  3. If people join this site and want to keep up with the daily posts, I don’t want a “natural starting point” to be too far away. It’s a bit unmotivating to start at day 18 of a 35-day study through 1 Corinthians!

How do you select which texts?

“Prayer and the Holy Spirit” is the pious answer. But it’s also got a lot to do with what I happen to be lecturing in at the time, what parts of Scripture I already have material written for, and the judicious choice of the different genres of Scripture.

Why do you use the NIV?

It’s the most commonly used English translation, and is a pretty good one when you consider its aim of being faithful to the biblical text while communicating in contemporary, understandable English. But feel free to use other translations: the ESV, NRSV, and Holman are all good too. Rest assured, in preparing the notes I look at original language issues, but only refer to them if absolutely necessary (no-one likes a Bible scholar showing off their Greek unnecessarily, except other Bible scholars).