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Christian Living

Start Each Day with God

Make Spending Time with the Almighty a Priority

God deserves our best, not whatever’s left over at the end of the day—if anything. This may be why he told the Israelites to give to him their first fruits, the first of their harvest (Exodus 23:16). That’s why we should start each day with God, with a focus on our Lord.

Here are some ideas to start each day with God.

Seek Him Before You Get Up

Before I leave my bed each morning, I turn my focus to God. I thank him for what happened yesterday, for the sleep that rejuvenated me, and the potential of the day ahead. I begin my day with a focus on him, which sets the foundation for what happens next.

Give Him Your Day and Invite Him into It

Before I arise, I thrust my arms into the air in a physical display of worship, giving the Almighty my day and inviting him into it. And the days when this feels the most difficult to do are the days when I need it the most.

Thoughts of trying to navigate the day without my Lord’s help are foolish.

Morning Prayers

At this point I’ve thanked God and prayed for my day. I’m up and have used the mindless task of shaving to shake the slumber from my soul. I’ve done some basic exercises and am (mostly) alert.

I now ask for God’s blessings on my family, for future generations of my family, and those closest to me. This prepares me for what follows.

Read and Study His Word

Next, I spent time reading and studying his Word. Sometimes this is part of a regular reading plan. I often make notes about key insights the Holy Spirit reveals to me from that passage. Though most people do this in a journal, I do it on my computer, organizing my observations by book, chapter, and verse. This way I can merge my thoughts for the day with observations from prior readings.

Other times my Bible reading and studying is in preparation for the book I’ll be working on that day. If I intend to write about a certain passage, I want to first fix my thoughts on it and meditate on it.

I’ve been doing morning Bible reading the longest and it’s ingrained into my day. It’s a lifelong habit that I formed. Only rarely do events distract me from it. I invest about fifteen minutes—though sometimes more—each morning focusing on Scripture.

This action is essential for me to best start my day with God.

Then Take Him Throughout Your Day

With these prerequisites complete, I feel ready to move into my plans for the day. But when I skimp on them, it’s not the best way to start each day with God.

End Your Day with Reflection and Thanksgiving

Though the focus of this post is about how we start each day with God, in some respects this effort begins the night before on how we end each day.

As I snuggle into bed my goal is to thank God for the day and what he enabled me to do. I pray for his blessing on my sleep and that even in my dreams I will hold every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).

This is what I struggle with the most. This isn’t because of a lack of will, but because some nights I fall asleep before I can take this step, or I slip into slumber halfway through.

In case I missed doing this or fell short, that’s why I try to begin the next day by thanking God for the prior one.

We should start each day with God and give him our best. He deserves nothing less and there’s nothing we need more. Click To Tweet

Start Each Day with God

We should start each day with God and give him our best. He deserves nothing less and there’s nothing we need more. Though I don’t always do this as fully as I’d like to, this is how I try to start each day with God.

I pray that you have a regular rhythm for your day that begins with and focuses on our Lord. And if not, use these ideas to encourage you to move forward and place your focus on the Almighty as you begin each day.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Listen and Obey

Be Doers of the Word and Not Hearers Only

I write a lot about the importance of reading Scripture and studying God’s Word. But reading and studying the Bible is not enough. We must apply what the Bible teaches to our daily lives for it to matter, for it to change us and impact the world. We must listen and obey what Scripture teaches.

If we hear the Word of God and don’t apply it to our lives, we’re deluding ourselves. Paul, a most knowledgeable man himself, writes to the church in Corinth that knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Today’s church focuses on knowledge and rarely mentions putting that knowledge into action. Often this knowledge righty focuses on the Bible, but if we don’t do what it says, if we don’t obey, it accomplishes nothing. Instead, through our knowledge, we become puffed up people.

James writes that merely listening to the Word of God isn’t enough. If we only listen, we deceive ourselves. His prescription is clear: do with it says (James 1:22). The requirement is obedience. Action should be the outcome of our Bible study.

Over the years, many people have told me they want to join a good Bible study. That’s a God-honoring desire, yet for most of these folks, they think that merely reading and studying and talking about Scripture is enough. They don’t realize that they must listen and obey.

Their Bible study, they reason, will honor God. And it will, to some extent. But what God wants us to do is to read his word and apply it to our daily living. He wants changed lives more so than informed minds.

Read God’s Word and then do it. Listen and obey. Click To Tweet

We can read about loving our neighbor, but until we actually do it, what does it matter? If we know we need to love others and don’t follow through, what good is that to them? And what good is it to us? Knowing and doing are two different things.

I think it was Joyce Meyer who said that most Christians already know more Bible than they’re putting into practice.

Don’t be one of those Christians. Read God’s Word and then do it. Listen and obey.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

The Two Most Influential Books I’ve Ever Read

Study Scripture and Then Use Other Resources as Needed

My book Jesus’s Broken Church was about a decade in the making, perhaps longer—maybe even a lifetime. When I sensed something wasn’t right with how today’s church functioned, I begin praying and searching for answers. Over time, piece by piece, God’s Holy Spirit revealed the answers to me. And they all came from the Bible.

This took years, but eventually a full picture emerged. That’s when I began writing, first in various blog posts and eventually a book.

Two Most Influential Books

Along the way, two additional sources opened my eyes to prepare me to hear what God would tell me. These came in the form of two books. Aside from the Bible, they are the two most influential books I’ve read in my entire life.

They provided insight and a firm foundation for me to stand on as I considered building on these works to determine what would happen next, of what should happen next.

Pagan Christianity?

The first book was Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices by Frank Viola and George Barna. (Check out my review of Pagan Christianity?)

Pagan Christianity? looks at the past. It delves into what was to uncover the influences of our church practices today. Much of what we do today at church is a result of our predecessors’ taking practices from secular society and adapting them to church. In short, many of our Christian traditions don’t have a spiritual origin but one that is more so pagan in nature.

The result of realizing these many shocking revelations was that I begin to ask why, a lot. I looked at every faith practice to examine its relevance and see how scripturally germane it was.

The result was a nagging feeling that our church practices today are far off base from what Jesus intended.

That’s why Pagan Christianity? is one of the two most influential books I’ve ever read.

The Great Emergence

The second of the two most influential books I’ve ever read is Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why. (Check out my review of The Great Emergence.)

Whereas Pagan Christianity? looks at the past, The Great Emergence explores the future. Building on a history of semi-millennia religious shifts, Tickle posits that we are on the precipice of another grand transformation.

She envisions what this reformation will look like and its impact on today’s church. Spoiler alert: today’s church will be much less relevant in the future, with other forms of spiritual community and connection supplanting it.

That’s why The Great Emergence is the second of the two most influential books I’ve ever read.

Today’s church — for all the good it does — isn’t functioning as it should, as Jesus intended. Click To Tweet

Jesus’s Broken Church

Standing on the firm foundation of the two most influential books I’ve ever read emerged a biblical prescription and how to move forward. I dared to suggest that today’s church—for all the good it does—isn’t functioning as it should, as Jesus intended it to.

Building on Scripture, Jesus’s Broken Church advances a new vision of what church could be and should be. But claiming that it’s new is incorrect. In truth, this isn’t a new understanding, but the reclaiming of an old one, one that’s nearly two thousand years old.

Read more about this in Peter’s new book, Jesus’s Broken Church, available in e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

Do You Plan to Read the Bible?

Follow a Strategy to Regularly Study Scripture

Most years I read the entire Bible in a year. It takes 12 to 15 minutes a day. If you’re up to the challenge, I encourage you to join me as I read the Bible next year. Here’s the Bible reading schedule that I like to follow.

Though a few minutes a day isn’t a huge time commitment, it is a habit that takes a while to develop. Though many people start strong with their desire to study Scripture every day, after a few weeks it looms as a huge commitment, which requires a lot of self-discipline. The temptation is to quit, just as most people do with their New Year’s resolutions.

Monthly Bible Reading Plans

For that reason, if you’re new to the idea of reading the Bible every day, I recommend taking smaller bites to begin with. Instead of committing to reading the entire Bible in one year—blocking out 12 to 15 minutes a day, every day—how about committing to reading one book of the Bible in a month, 3 to 4 minutes a day?

An ideal place to start is with Luke and then Acts. Read Luke one month and Acts, the next. It’s a great duo of books to get you started. Luke teaches us about Jesus, and his story continues in Acts, letting us know about the early church.

Another consideration is John. John is a book that many people adore. He writes with a poetic flare. So, reading John requires a slower, more thoughtful pace.

You can find other books to consider as you read the Bible each month. If you follow this list for twelve months, by the end of the year you will have read many of the Bible’s essential passages. From there you can move into one of the following more comprehensive plans for the following year.

New Testament Reading Schedule

Though all the Bible is useful for us and can help us on our faith journey, the New Testament contains more relevant, readily applicable passages. Reading the New Testament in one year is an ideal way to help you develop the habit of regular Bible reading. The commitment is 3 to 4 minutes a day, Monday through Friday. That’s right, you can take the weekend off when you focus on the New Testament as you read the Bible in one year.

Old Testament Reading Schedule

The following year, read the Old Testament in one year. This can build on the habit you formed by reading the New Testament in one year. This requires 10 to 12 minutes a day for an average reader. The Old Testament helps us better understand the New Testament, adding insights and clarity that we would have otherwise missed.

Read the Entire Bible in One Year

At this point, you will have developed a habit of regular Bible reading. Congratulations! You’ve read the New Testament and the Old Testament, covering the entire Bible, albeit in two years, not one. Now you can grow your habit of studying Scripture by reading the entire Bible in one year. As I mentioned, it only takes 12 to 15 minutes a day.

Develop a habit of regular Bible reading. Click To Tweet

Plan to Read the Bible

It doesn’t matter which of these Bible reading schedules you follow. Any plan is better than no plan. The point is to pick a plan to read the Bible and move forward.

You, too, can set a goal to read the Bible next year.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

Read the Bible in 2022

Daily Scripture Reading Guides Available Now from ABibleADay

Every year I intentionally explore the Bible, reading a few chapters each day. Some years I focus on the New Testament and other years, the Old Testament, but usually I read the entire Bible in a year.

Will you join me this year?

To guide us, the 2022 Bible reading guides are now available. Get your 2022 Bible reading plan today.

Chronological Bible Reading Guide

New last year was a chronological Bible reading plan. This year it’s tweaked and improved, based on feedback from the inaugural offering.

Though a comprehensive chronological reading of the Bible requires a lot of details that won’t fit on a concise handout, it is possible to make an approximate chronological reading guide by putting the books of the Bible in order.

Following this Bible reading plan only takes 12 to 15 minutes a day. And each Tuesday throughout 2022, I’ll blog about a passage from that day’s reading.

Download your own chronological 2021 Bible reading guide.

Other Reading Options

If reading the entire Bible in a year seems too big of a task, scale back to a more manageable goal. I have a series of other Bible reading plans to guide you. Pick the one that works for you:

Form a habit to read the Bible. Download your 2022 Bible reading plan today and be ready to start reading this January.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Ways to Access the Bible

Don’t Take Scripture for Granted

Each morning I began my day by reading and meditating on God’s Word. I use a printed copy of Scripture for this. Throughout the day, however, as I write about the Bible, I go online to research and study. I use BibleGateway.com. On Sunday I don’t carry a printed Bible to church, but I do carry God’s Word with me electronically. I use the YouVersion app.

This means that most of my ways to access the Bible are online.

My friend William recently reminded me of the importance of having the written Word of God. In this time of hyper vigilance, the app store could remove Bible apps from their repository. Even worse, powers hostile to Scripture could restrict or even eliminate our access to online resources.

It’s a chilling thought. It’s also not that farfetched. It could happen. Here are four ways to access the Bible. May we strive to maintain all four.

1. The Printed Word of God

As my astute friend pointed out, having a printed copy of the Bible is the best solution should we lose our access to online Scripture resources and apps. I have several copies of God’s Word at my house. I use one every day and consult the others occasionally. But I don’t value the diversity of Scripture that I have at home because I can readily access it online—at least for now.

This is a reminder to treasure the printed word of God.

2. Access the Bible Online

When we access the Bible online, it’s convenient and fast. I’ll continue to use it for as long as I can. And I’ll be more appreciative of it, knowing that it can be taken away in an instant.

3. Digital Version of Scripture

I recently downloaded a public domain copy of Scripture on my computer. It’s the WEB (World English Bible). It’s nice to have an electronic version of Scripture on my computer and backed up in multiple places—just as I meticulously backup copies of the books I’m writing.

It would be devastating to lose one of my books. It would be even more disastrous to lose the electronic copy of my Bible.

May we hide God’s Word in our hearts. Click To Tweet

4. Our Hearts

I take each of these three options for granted, having easy access to anyone of them at about any moment. Yet I know each one could be taken away. History shows that to be true. What then are we to do?

The psalmist writes that he has hidden God’s Word in his heart (Psalm 119:11). This is the surest way to make sure we can always access it.

Access the Bible

May we read and study the Bible. And as we do, may we hide God’s words in our hearts.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Does Reading the Bible Make You Cry?

Scripture Can Produce Tears of Joy and of Sorrow

A minister in Africa passed out Bibles to his people so they could have their own copy and read Scripture in their native tongue. He said that “I see many believers crying and praying as they read the Word.” This report makes my heart soar with joy, yet at the same time it gives me pause. I ask myself, “When does reading the Bible make you cry?”

Yes, I read and study God’s Word often. The Scripture fills me, teaches me about God, and draws me closer to him. But does it ever make me weep? I fear not.

Tears can come in two forms. We can have tears of joy. And we can have tears of remorse. Scripture can accomplish both. Scripture should accomplish both. But does reading the Bible make you cry?

Tears of Joy

It’s hard for me to conceive of not having a Bible. I have a shelf full of them. I can also access Scripture online through BibleGateway.com and the YouVersion app.

I use BibleGateway almost daily and YouVersion at church on most Sundays. My printed copies of the Bible don’t get that much use anymore. I take it for granted to have the biblical text readily available to me—anytime, anywhere.

But what if I didn’t have access online and didn’t own a copy of the Bible, not even one? The only way I could hear the Word of God would be for someone to read it to me.

I can imagine being spiritually hungry and not having my own Bible to read. I envision someone sliding a copy of the Scriptures into my hands. Tears well up in my eyes as I open its pages and began to read.

Does reading the Bible make you cry tears of joy?

Tears of Sorrow

Of course, the biblical text can also confront us. When this occurs, we have another reason to weep. This time it’s tears of sorrow. Though not pleasant, Scripture can bring about repentance. The most important one is to turn to Jesus and follow him as his disciple.

Yet the Bible can also convict us of a need to make changes in our life. This could be to stop doing something we shouldn’t do or start doing something we should. These changes aren’t an effort to get God’s attention or to earn anything from him, but the result of us wanting to better offer our life as an act of worship in appreciation for what he’s done for us.

The book of Nehemiah records a time when the people hear Scripture read and explained to them by the Levites. The words convict them, and they weep and mourn over their many shortcomings (Nehemiah 8:7-9).

Does reading the Bible make you cry tears of sorrow?

As we read and study the Bible, we should invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us and teach us. Click To Tweet

Reading the Bible

We should praise God for providing us with his written Word. For those of us with ready access to the Bible, we should pause to appreciate him for providing it to us—even to the point of producing tears of joy. God is good and Scripture confirms this.

As we read and study the Bible, we should invite the Holy Spirit to speak to us and teach us. Sometimes his insights will produce joy and other times we may face a tearful conviction for change.

These are the reasons why we should read the Bible.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

How Much of a Priority Do You Place on What the Bible Says?

Most Christians Don’t Let Scripture Get in the Way of What They Believe

I recently shared with some friends that “Most Christians won’t let the Bible get in the way of what they believe.” It’s a shocking statement—one that no doubt offends some—but the attitudes of many people about what the Bible says prove that I am right.

In truth, most people base their beliefs on multiple sources, such as what others teach them, what society thinks, and what the Bible says—usually in that order. (I’m not including those people who just make up their own religion and do whatever seems right to them. They may be sincere about their beliefs, but they are sincerely wrong.)

What Others Teach Them

Many people give a lot of credence to what their ministers and spiritual gurus teach. Though often a worthy source, some are in error. They could lead us astray if we don’t scrutinize what they teach with Scripture (consider Acts 17:11).

As a basic example, most children are taught to bow their head, fold their hands, and close their eyes when they pray. Guess what? I’ve not found that in the Bible. Yet we cling to this practice with religious fervor as if a failure to follow these three basic instructions will render our prayers ineffective. Instead, we should pray like Jesus teaches in the Bible (Matthew 6:5-8).

In a much weightier instance, a common instruction is that we must ask Jesus into our hearts to be saved. Yet I’ve not found this in the Bible either. What Scripture says is to believe in Jesus (Acts 16:31 and many other places).

Yet when our preachers tell us something that’s not in Scripture, we accept their words anyway. Even worse is when these words contradict what’s in the Bible. We believe them and dismiss God’s word. Shame on us.

What Society Thinks

Many people believe that if their life is mostly good, or if they do more good things than bad, then God will welcome them into heaven when they die. Not so fast. The Bible says that in this rule-based approach, one mistake condemns us (James 2:10).

Or what about, “God helps them who helps themselves.” Often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and reinforced by pop-culture, the original source is not the Bible. It may sound spiritual, but it lacks a biblical foundation.

Another common view is that God and Satan are equals, battling each other as evenly matched contenders in the fight of good versus evil. Not true. Satan is a fallen angel. God created angels, just as he created us. The creator is greater than the created. Therefore, God is greater than Satan. Consider Romans 16:20. In the end, God wins (Revelation 12:7–10).

When the Bible doesn’t align with our opinion, do we dismiss the Bible or our opinion? Click To Tweet

What the Bible Says

We’ve already covered that the Bible says to believe in Jesus and be saved (Acts 16:31). It’s a perfect place to start. But there’s more.

Consider Jesus’s promise that we will do everything he did and even more (John 14:12). Scripture proclaims it, so I believe it, even though some ministers dismiss it, and society deems it as foolish.

Another promising passage is that when we align our will with his, God hears and answers our prayers. All of them (1 John 5:14-15).

There are hundreds of more examples, of course, but these three are an ideal place to start. Read the Bible to find more.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Six Eras in the Bible

Though God Doesn’t Change, but the Way He Relates to Us Has

We divide the Bible in two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament focuses on the relationship of Father God to his people and looks forward to the coming Savior. The New Testament centers on Jesus and the work of his followers. Each testament has its own focus, and we must not lose sight of it.

To further enhance my understanding of Scripture, I look at the Bible in three parts, each one focusing on one aspect of the Trinity. God the Father is central throughout the Old Testament. God the Savior—Jesus—is central in the Gospels. God the Spirit takes center stage in the rest of the New Testament, Acts through Revelation. Jesus, of course, stands as the foundational part of the godhead that saves us and draws us into right relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We can break this down even more, however, to better guide us as we study Scripture and apply it to our daily lives.

In this regard, it helps to consider six eras in the Bible. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He never changes. (Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8) Yet the way he relates to his people does change throughout Scripture. We will do well to keep this in mind as we read and study the Bible, taking care to not take one passage from the past and misapply it to our situation today.

Consider these six eras in the Bible.

1. Paradise

God creates the world in which we live and places people in it. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. They walk with God in the cool of the evening. But they break the one rule he gave them. They eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

So that they don’t also eat from the tree of life, and live forever in their sin, God forces them out of this idyllic paradise.

This takes place in Genesis 1–3 and moves us into the second of six eras in the Bible.

2. No Law

Though most people think of the Old Testament’s focus as being on God’s law, this doesn’t occur yet, not until the third era. The second era is what happens after Adam and Eve leave the garden and prior to God giving the Law to Moses.

During this time, God continues to speak to his people (Adam, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and others). Throughout this time, God is patient. He does not hold people accountable for their sins. This is because there are no laws to let the people know that they are doing wrong (Romans 5:13).

During this era, God wipes out the depravity of the people he created by killing most all of them through a flood. Only Noah and his family survive. It’s creation 2.0, a restart of humanity, a do over. Then God calls Abraham and later Moses.

God tells his people he wants them to become a nation of priests (Exodus 19:6), but the people are afraid of God and don’t want him to talk to them. They request that Moses stand in for them. This ends the second of six eras in the Bible, covering Genesis 3 through Exodus 18.

3. The Law

Then God gives the people his laws and shares his expectations. This begins the third era, which covers the rest of the Old Testament of the Bible, Exodus 19 through Malachi.

This era has three phases, but they all fall under Old Testament law. In the first phase God rules as their sovereign Lord, and judges lead the people from time to time. The people, however, go through cycles of following God—usually under various judges—and turn away from him after each judge dies.

For the second phase under the law, the people ask for a king, which effectively rejects God as their king. He starts with Saul. David then replaces Saul, and God establishes David’s line forever, from whom the Messiah will come. In this phase, kings rule instead of God. Most do so badly, and the people rebel against their Lord. Most of the prophets do their work during this era.

For the third phase under the era of the law, God’s people are conquered and deported. They have no ruler, and they have no nation. Though some eventually return to the promised land, they subsist without leadership, except for some of the latter prophets. The people wait for the coming Savior to rescue them. This is the third of the six eras in the Bible.

The New Testament is critical to guide our behavior as Jesus’s church. Click To Tweet

4. Jesus

Jesus comes to earth, calls people to follow him, and dies as the ultimate sacrifice for sin to end all sacrifices. But he overcomes death, proving his power to serve as the once-and-for-all sacrifice. This is the fourth of six eras in the Bible and is the pivotal point around which all Scripture—and all humanity—revolves. The four biographies of Jesus cover this: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

5. The Church

After giving his followers final instructions, resurrected Jesus returns to heaven. The Holy Spirit arrives to guide the church and remind them of Jesus. Acts through to Revelation 3 cover this fifth era of the Bible. We currently live in this era today, which is why the New Testament is critical to guide our actions as Jesus’s church. And the Old Testament supports this because it looks forward to this era.

Yet to conclude the six eras in the Bible, there is one era remaining, a time we anticipate for our future.

6. A New Heaven and New Earth

Starting in Revelation 4 we read of John’s vision of the future. Though the details confuse most and trip up many, the main point is that there will be an epic spiritual battle between good and evil. God wins. Satan is defeated.

After this we will see a new heaven and a new earth. This is paradise restored. Everyone who follows Jesus will spend eternity with him there.

This is the sixth era of the Bible and the one we anticipate as Jesus’s disciples.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Celebrate the Gospel of John

Slow Down to Appreciate the Poetic Rhythm and Evocative Style of the Apostle John

I once quipped that the book of John was my fourth favorite biography of Jesus in the Bible. Another time I wrote about the Ten Most Difficult Books in the Bible. To the dismay of many, I included the Gospel of John in my list.

Given this, it may seem surprising that I’ve written a devotional Bible study about the book of John, called Living Water.

I embarked upon this effort because readers requested it, and the Holy Spirit confirmed that I was to do so. As I studied the Gospel of John more thoroughly so that I could write about it, God grew my appreciation for the apostle’s words.

I learned quite quickly that the key to embrace his evocative writing and poetic rhythm, was to slow down. Slowing down is sometimes hard for me.

Though I can read Matthew, Mark, and Luke at a normal pace and glean much from those words, that reading speed left me frustrated with John. What I needed to do to better appreciate his words was to read slower, to mull over one phrase before moving on to the next.

Though I always strive to meditate on Scripture as I study it, embracing John required that I be more intentional.

Once I slowed down, however, the profound beauty of John’s words became immediately apparent to me. Even though I’ve read John’s good news at least twenty times in my life, this last reading stands out as the best by far.

This is all because I took my time to really contemplate each word, each phrase, and each sentence to better comprehend its meaning.

When I did this, God’s Holy Spirit guided me in drafting my book, Living Water, about the Gospel of John. I’m most pleased with the results. It’s one of the most personally rewarding books I’ve written. I’m proud of those words, which I hope is a God-honoring pride.

Once I slowed down the profound beauty of John’s words became immediately apparent to me. Click To Tweet

Given what I’ve learned—that I needed to slow down to appreciate John’s writing style and profound content—it’s wise to go back and do the same thing with the other nine on my list of challenging books in the Bible. Indeed, I’ve already done this with Isaiah and am in the process of doing so with Revelation.

This is a good reminder of what Paul wrote to Timothy when he said that all Scripture comes from God and is useful to teach and train us (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Yes, every book of the Bible is beneficial, if we will but take the time to appreciate it.

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.