Thursday, December 01, 2005

almost there

I've almost completed Robert Murray M'Cheyne's design for reading through the Bible in one year...something I've never accomplished, and in the process I've found some pages and passages I'd never before read throughout my life. Why the M'Cheyne schedule? Who is he?

Robert Murray M'Cheyne was born in Edinburgh in 1813, living a short 30 years before his death. He was a passionate preacher of the word, with a beautiful approach to loving and serving his parish...some of the same things I've grown to love from Thomas Chalmers (one of his teachers and mentors). Early in his pastoral ministry, a heart difficulty was discovered, preventing him from preaching because his body simply could not handle it. He resolved to continue to serve his congregation and the community in the midst of such trials.

One of his priorities was to encourage his people--and himself--to read the Bible. In his words to a young man, "You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and understand it, and still more to fell it. Read more parts than one at a time. For example, if you are reading Genesis, read a Psalm also; or if you are reading Matthew, read a small bit of an epistle also. Turn the Bible into prayer...this is the best way of knowing the meaning of the Bible, and of learning to pray." He developed a scheme for daily reading that takes readers through the New Testament and Psalms twice each year, and the rest of the Bible once. In many instances I have been found myself reading the same words in different places in the Bible at the same intentionality of M'Cheyne's to connect the Gospel story from Genesis to have ongoing context in whatever passage you are reading.

A helpful tool has been For the Love of God by D.A. Carson. It is a 2 volume collection stemming from M'Cheyne's chart of daily readings. He ties together the reading material from each day with a big-picture, contextual more life to the words. I highly recommend this, and plan to start over again January 1st, this time stretching it out over the next 2 years to continue along the path but gain more focus on the passages (the one-year approach is great, but moves very fast!).


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