So You (Still) Want to Read the Bible?
Word of Life Part 2 begins with the second of the four gospel cycles and the most extensive: that based on the two volume work of Luke – doctor, historian and companion of the apostle Paul. The cycle includes the letters of Paul and those written at the time of the events recorded in the Acts of the Apostles are included with Acts in the readings.
The Old Testament readings span more than 300 years from the reign of Solomon (961-922 B.C.) to that of Jehoiakim (609-598). During this time the nation divided into two kingdoms, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, and the northern kingdom of Israel effectively disappeared in 721 B.C. when its capital, Samaria, was captured by the army of Assyria and its people exiled. This period also saw the emergence of the prophets as champions of Israel’s ancient traditions and discerners of God’s voice in history.
The readings remind us that God’s people in both Old and New Testaments have always given him problems. They begin with the apostasy of the man God blessed more than any other in the Bible, Solomon, and they end with the complacency of the whole people in the time of Jeremiah. Even a church as full of the Holy Spirit as that of Corinth could be described by Paul, its founder, as selfish, immature, unspiritual and divided.
Yet amid the sorry tale of unfaithfulness and compromise, there are those, like Simeon and Anna, who wait patiently for the coming of God’s kingdom, others, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, able to discern the hand of God in the events of their day and still others, like Elijah and Paul ready to count their lives as nothing if only they may complete the task God gives them. It is my prayer that Word of Life will inspire all who use it with a desire to serve God ever more faithfully and wholeheartedly.