Starting in January, I am challenging every member and friend of Haymarket Baptist Church to read part or all of your Bible during the coming year. On January 2 and 9, we will distribute two Bible reading pledge cards
in every worship bulletin. I am asking you to pray about your decision and then choose what pledge you will make to God. We will collect the pledge cards on January 9 and subsequent Sundays in January. I hope each one reading this column will make a pledge.

The first option on the pledge card will be to read the Gospel of Luke. Allan and I are preaching through Luke every Sunday through Easter, so reading that gospel will give you a deeper understanding of our biblical messages. Luke is only 24 chapters in length, so you could read one chapter a week and finish by June.

Allan has suggested the second option—to read one book of the Bible per month, so 12 books of the Bible in all. This might be an intriguing option for some of you who are interested in a variety of books in the Bible.  Perhaps you will start with Luke but then read something totally different, like the Song of Solomon (an Old Testament love poem!). If you get behind in your reading you could choose a very short book to read, such as Philemon (which you can read in 5 minutes) and easily catch up!

The third option is to read the entire New Testament in 2022. This will require you to read an average of one chapter per day—a stiff challenge. But reading the entire New Testament will give you a much deeper understanding of Jesus, his message of salvation, and the cost to follow Jesus that Peter, John, Mary Magdalene, Paul and others paid to follow him. If you are willing, this will be a fruitful option for you to choose.

The fourth option is to read the entire Bible in 2022. This is not an easy task as it requires you to read an average of four chapters per day throughout the year. Several members of our church have done this previously (a few of them have read the Bible through multiple times!) and they tell me it has really helped them mature as believers. God has certainly blessed me in the years when I have read his Word from cover to cover! If you have done it before and are looking for a different wrinkle, choose a different translation to read through. If you normally read the NIV, choose The Message. If you normally read the New Living Bible, choose a word-for-word translation like the New American Standard Bible. If you are used to the English Standard Version, try the NIV.

Whichever option you choose I firmly believe God will bless you as you read!

In Christ,
Pastor Mark