Some Thoughts on What the Gospel is and is Not

I came across this great quote in a larger interview with Carson in regard to How Do We Work for Justice and Not Undermine Evangelism?

To preach moral duty without the underlying power of the gospel is moralism that is both pathetic and powerless; to preach a watered-down gospel as that which tips us into the kingdom, to be followed by discipleship and deeds of mercy, is an anemic shadow of the robust gospel of the Bible; to preach the gospel and social justice as equivalent demands is to misunderstand how the Bible hangs together.-D.A. Carson


Reading 10 chapters of the bible a day


Yesterday I started my new bible reading plan. It is the Horner plan. You read 10 chapters a day, with the readings coming form 10 different books of the bible. I have thus far enjoyed it ton! I chose to change what and how I was reading in the word because I saw my heart growing unimpressed with God in my bible reading. So I figured I should overwhelm my heart with God in his word.

In football terms, I’m loading the box. No quarterback can get a play off with ten men in the box. The pass is going nowhere. You might get the ball to the running back, but its a tackle for a loss; you aren’t getting out of the back field.

And this is what I want to do with my heart; I’m dialing up a blitz every morning.  I can’t escape God when I’m reading about him in this many places.

I walked away from my bible reading today amazed with who God was.

As a result I want to tell you more about the plan:

Horner writes of the plan,

On day one, you read Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, and so forth. On day 2, read Matthew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day 29, you will have just finished Matthew, so go to Mark 1 on the Gospel list; you’ll also be almost to the end of 2nd Corinthians and Proverbs, you’ll be reading Psalm 29 and Genesis 29, and so forth. When you reach the last chapter of the last book in a list – start over again. Rotate all the way through all the Scriptures constantly.

Since the lists vary in length, the readings begin interweaving in constantly changing ways. You will NEVER read the same set of ten chapters together again! Every year you’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the OT wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the OT History and Prophetic books about 1 12 times. Since the interweaving is constantly changing, you will experience the Bible commenting on itself in constantly changing ways — the Reformer’s principle of ‘scriptura interpretans scripturam’ — ‘scripture interpreting scripture’ IN ACTION!

That last line is one of the elements other than the before mentioned heart blitz. I want to have the scripture interpreting itself in my reading plan. part of why i don’t like the M’CHEYNE plan is that I read the same four chapters at the same time every year. I’m all for reading the bible in a year but after doing that plan a few times i like that this one has me in a different set of readings after the first go round.  With the lists you are finishing and starting over at different points in time. take a look:

List 1 (89 days)
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

List 2 (187 days)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

List 3 (78 days)
Romans, I&II Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, Hebrews

List 4 (65 days)
I&II Thess, I&II Tim, Titus, Philemon, James, I&II Peter, I,II&III John, Jude, Revelation

List 5 (62 days)
Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

List 6 (150 days)

List 7 (31 days)

List 8 (249 days)
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

List 9 (250 days)
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

List 10 (28 days)

I know some of you worry about how fast you read. Again, Horner says,

After you’ve read any particular book once or twice, your speed in that book usually doubles or triples because you’re familiar with it and can move quickly and confidently — because you are no longer merely decoding the text but thinking it through in the context of all of the scripture!

Even an ‘average’ reader, if focusing on moving through the text, rather than trying to figure everything out, can usually do this in about an hour a day – 5-6 minutes per chapter. Many people report moving confidently through the ten chapters in 35-40 minutes. If it is taking you longer, then you are ‘reading wrong’ – stay relaxed, focus, and just keep it moving. Moderate but consistent speed is the key. This is “gross anatomy” — looking at the whole body; you’re not closely studying organs or systems or tissues or cells — it is not microbiology. BUT — microbiology and the study or organs makes more sense when you know what the whole structure of the human body is like, and how all the parts, large and small, relate in perfect interdependence.

After just a few days the reading gets much easier; in a month it will be a habit, and in six months you’ll wonder how you ever survived before on such a slim diet of the WORD.

My hope is that I will look back in six months and wonder how I did four chapters a day before.

One Tip I do recommend following is this one:

get ONE Bible, keep it, and do all your reading in it, so you learn where everything is. I’ve had the same Bible since 1983 and I know it intimately. If you keep switching Bibles, you ‘lose’ this intimacy with the text. Find a translation and format you like and stick with it. THIS IS CRUCIAL.

I agree with this one. I tried this plan once before and did not take this advice and it died out after a few days.  I selected a bible that I would want to read for the rest of my life. In my case it was an ESV Single Column Reference Bible, Brown/Cordovan, TruTone, Portfolio design.

I selected it for the following reasons:

One more thing about having one bible you do the reading in. Leave it at home. I don’t plan on my daily reading bible to be used for anything other than the Horner plan. It will stay on the coffee table. I have a few other bibles i use outside the house.

Another Tip I recommend:

Keep a journal and write down one phrase about what you read for each section. Today I read psalm 1 and I wrote, “Lord make me the blessed man.” simple and short. I am not with my journal now and I could recall it. and that is the whole point. The act of writing one short easy to remember phrase for each section of the reading down is that you can recall what you read later.


Lastly I leave you with this link for a downloadable description of the plan and printable bookmarks (get them laminated).

Click here to download the plan.

Ortlund on 1 Timothy 6:4 and Blogging

Great thoughts on blogging. take a look.

1 Timothy 6:4 and Blogging

The Forerunner EP

Get it at Lamp Mode, iTunes, Amazon

Something to Consider

The first sexual thought in the universe was God’s, not man’s. —Doug Barnett

America’s four gods

New Research is out that we have Four ideas about who or what god is. They are:

The Authoritative God

The Benevolent God

The Critical God

The Distant God

To read more about the study click here

I am a fan of none of this gods, I perfer the real God, the God of the bible.

Keller on Late or Post

Earlier in the week I posted a longer quote on Postmodern thinking and why I don’t buy in, following up on that I cam across a great essay by Tim Keller on the topic:

In the past, many of our neighbors could understand traditional Christian preaching even when they responded with disagreement or indifference. During the last 15 years, however, our message is increasingly met with dumbfounded incomprehension or outrage. Until a generation ago in the United States, most adults had similar moral intuitions whether they were born-again believers, churchgoers, nominal Christians, or nonbelievers. That has changed.

Many have characterized the change over the last generation as “the postmodern turn.” The “modern” era, we are often told, was characterized by confidence in rationality and science and the pursuit of a grand social order that would be mediated by institutions such as the academy and the nation-state. The postmodern era is marked by pluralism, a loss of confidence in the rational, a desire for experience, and so on.

Recently, however, I’ve been reading thinkers who believe that this way of describing things obscures much of what is happening. They say that the term “postmodern” overemphasizes the discontinuities with the recent past and fails to see the strong continuities. They propose that what we have today is not so much a departure from modern patterns of thought and life, but rather an intensification of these patterns as they have now penetrated further into our institutions. These thinkers prefer to talk of “late” modernity or even “liquid” modernity, and here is why.

The root idea of modernity (even more fundamental than confidence in rationality) is the overturning of all authority outside of the self. In the 18th century, European Enlightenment thinkers insisted that the modern person must question all tradition, revelation, and external authority by subjecting them to the supreme court of his or her own reason and intuition. We are our own moral authority.

Modern society nonetheless continued to be dominated by relatively stable institutions for a long time. People still were able to root their identities to a great degree in family and clan, in local civic communities, and in their work or vocation. Yet now even these institutions seem to be passing, worn away by the “acid” of the modern principle, namely individual happiness and autonomy must come before anything else. Marriage and family, workplace and career, neighborhood and civic community—none of these institutions can now remain authoritative or stable long enough for individuals to depend on them. People live increasingly fragmented lives, no longer thinking of themselves in terms of basic roles in communities (“Christian, father, lawyer.”) Instead, their identities constantly shape-shift as they move through a series of life episodes that are not tightly connected to each other. They are always ready to change direction and abandon commitments and loyalties without qualms and to pursue, on a personal cost-benefit basis, the best opportunity available to them.

Here’s an example. The new Christian Smith book, Souls in Transition (Oxford, 2009), profiles the beliefs of young adults age 18 to 23. In an interview with Ken Myers on Mars Hill Audio, Smith relates how he often interviewed people and asked them if their moral convictions (some of which were very strong) were mainly subjective feelings or really true to reality. He found that most had difficulty even understanding what he was asking.

The underlying thread that ties all this together is the inconceivability of a moral order based on an authority more fundamental than one’s own reason or experience. That was the founding principle of the Enlightenment, and that is the cornerstone of the most recent generation. So how can we say the Enlightenment is over?

We can certainly use the term “post-modern” to refer to many aspects of our life in the world now. There certainly are discontinuities with the recent past. But I conclude that an over-emphasis on the post-ness of our situation can lead us to celebrate the greater tolerance, the end of “Christendom,” the fall of Reason-capital-R, and the openness to the spiritual, without seeing that it is based on a kind of hyper-modernity that is perhaps more antithetical to Christianity than ever.

I am old enough to have seen both the “high modern” and the “late modern” / “post-modern” opposition to Christianity, and there are unique opportunities and difficulties in both situations. In the end, I don’t prefer ministry in one over ministry in the other, for I believe the continuities between these ages are more fundamental to ministry than the discontinuities. -Tim Keller

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