January is a time for fresh starts. Ask the many Americans who make resolutions every January. Most of us keep them, too- for a day or week or even a month. However, research completed by the University of Scranton finds that only about 8% of those of us who make resolutions achieve them. 1
Many Christ-followers make New Year’s resolutions to read the Bible more frequently. This is a great goal, especially for those who hold our North Alabama value that “The Bible, as the inspired word of God, guides our work together.”
The Bible: The Bible is a collection of sacred writings in Judaism and Christianity. The Jewish Bible (also called the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament) consists of 24 books divided into the Torah, Prophets and Writings. The Protestant Bible re-categorizes the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible into 39 books and adds 27 New Testament writings. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Christian churches recognize additional books and passages as part of the Old Testament. The Bible includes a range of literary types including narrative, law, prophecy, poetry, gospels, letters and apocalyptic literature.
The Bible tells the story of God’s relationship with humanity. As we read the pages of Scripture we learn much about the character of God and the nature of people. The Scriptures drive home again and again that God’s love for humanity is boundless. The Christian Bible culminates in God’s ultimate expression of love- Jesus Christ.
As the inspired word of God: We believe that the Bible is inspired by the living God. The inspiration did not cease once the words were recorded as Scripture, either. The Bible is a means through which God continues to speak in fresh and relevant ways to us today. Indeed, encounters with Scripture are often transformational as well as informational.
Guides our work together: The Bible is a primary way in which God communicates with us. As we read, study and meditate upon Scripture, we grow in knowledge and grace to live as faithful Christ-followers. No wonder many Christians start the New Year with a resolution to read the Bible more frequently. As the inspired, living word of God, the Bible guides our lives and ministry.
Yes, January is a time when many of us establish New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s resolve to make the Bible increasingly central to our lives and decisions throughout 2015.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference
1. Diamond, Dan. "Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year's Resolutions. Here's How They Do It." Forbes Magazine 1 Jan. 2013