Even though we won’t be flipping all over the Bible, it is still nice to keep a bookmark so you won’t lose your place in 1 Corinthians. But I also don’t want you to lose your place in the ongoing reading plan, so I’ve made a bookmark for you to slide in your Bible and keep track of what we’re doing each week.
I’ve included a letter-sized .pdf to print out if you’d like–that way you get the sizing right. Although if you’re coming to church this Sunday you will find one slipped into the bulletin. I hope this helps you spend more time reading and in prayer, and less time flipping through papers or checking the website to find that week’s assignment.
Bookmark Letter Sized for Printing
I mentioned a week ago that memorization would be playing a greater role in this Year in the Bible. That may have already scared off some people. You may think that you’re awful at memorizing anything, let alone a verse of the Bible. I’m not going to argue with you. You may be awful. I don’t know.
What I do know is that this is a valuable thing to do and I want to help you as much as I can. Imagine going through 1 Corinthians for these five months and at the end looking back and having 22 Bible passages memorized, stored in your heart, that give you a good sense of what the book was about. After learning from God’s Word, if we have those verses in us, how much easier will it be to go back and find other passages? How much better will we understand the structure of Paul’s letter? How much more will God be able to call us to remember those passages?
I think we can do it. But I think it’ll be tough at times. So again, I want to make it easier. If you’ve got tricks you already know about memorizing, send them my way. I’m open for suggestions. I wanted to give you a teaser now of one thing we can do. Visualizing can really help out, so I put together this mini-poster. You can print it out (it’s letter sized, 8.5×11”) and use it to see the way the opening verses of 1 Corinthians are laid out.
Here’s the basic structure:
- Verse 1 – Who the letter is from and on whose authority it is written (in white)
- Verse 2 – Who the letter is to–and take note it is to more than just the Corinthians (in grey)
- Verse 3 – His opening greeting (in white)
With a bit of coloring, arrows, and even some simple pictures, I hope I’ve put together something that helps you to internalize these lines of scripture. Not all weeks will have three verses, but I thought knowing the “from” and “to” of 1 Corinthians is a good place to start.
Have you ever quoted your mother in giving advice? Has a famous line of some presidential speech made its way into your conversation? How did you do it? Do you carry around a quote book, organized by topic, to pull out and read from at just the right time?
Of course not. These nuggets are stored deep down in your brain. They live alongside movie lines you could recite in your sleep, sports statistics such as a starting lineup of a decades old baseball team, and your childhood street address. We commit all sorts of things to memory. Some clearly of more value than others. But value is what gets it there.
What we value we focus on, we repeat, we talk about, and eventually we memorize–often without even knowing it.
As Year in the Bible slows down to focus on 1 Corinthians, I want memorization to take a central role. God’s Word has tremendous value, therefore we should take the time and energy to store it in our hearts. Since we are reading fewer verses each week we have more time to dig deep, we’ll have the time to meditate on these verses, reading them over and over. As we do so, God’s Spirit will strengthen the roots that Scripture has within us.
Each week we’ll have a couple of verses to memorize. Think of it almost like a parallel to last year’s focus passages. I’m working on ways to encourage and make it easier, but it will still take dedication. We’ll have verses printed on paper the size of business cards to tuck away in your pocket. I’m often thinking of visual aids, and have already worked on one for our first memory verses: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3 (Paul’s Opening Lines).
My hope is that by the end of these several months, we’ll have a great storehouse of Scripture in our minds, ready to be used by God in us, for us, and through us.
After taking some time to investigate what is next for Year in the Bible, I decided I wanted to slow things down a bit. Reading through the Bible with many of you last year was a fantastic experience, and I know that I learned a great deal. But how often did we wish we had more time to sit and pray over certain passages? We gained much by reading everything–we now have a great breadth of knowledge. But now we’ll change our approach. Our next reading plan will focus on depth.
Rather than read 20 plus chapters a week, we’ll be reading around 20 verses. From June through October you are invited to read 1 Corinthians.
We will slowly go through Paul’s letter to Corinth and its sixteen chapters that deal with the cross of Jesus Christ, the Lord’s Supper, spiritual gifts, sex, love, resurrection, and more. Given the slower pace and the ability to read such short passages quickly, we will try new ways to keep the Bible in front of us for these months. The website – YearInTheBible.com – will again provide tools, tips, and insights, and I hope to have memorization play a role this time. Also, given its short length, this reading plan can easily be added on to whatever current plan you may have.
In this last year I heard how helpful it is to have some plan to guide our reading, and I think this will be another enriching time to join others in the church and learn from God in his Word.