If there was ever a time men needed hope, it is now. So much unrest, turmoil and tragedy seem to have become a regular part of daily life. However, the Bible is a constant reminder that even in the midst of this world’s mess, our lives can be filled with HOPE. In his epistle to the saints in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13). Hope is to be found between the covers of your Bible.
This Bible reading plan will help you draw closer to God as you come to better understand the “big picture” of His will revealed by the Holy Spirit. Our goal is to help you understand the Bible’s over-arching theme as it pertains to redemption and hope for an eternal reward. This Bible reading plan is designed to keep the redemption story foremost in the reader’s mind. Our wish is that you will commit yourself to daily Bible study and thus grow closer to God. Let the journey begin!
Week 1 — Genesis 1 thru 6 (Dec 31, 2017-Jan 6, 2018)
In Luke 24:44-47 Jesus indicates the Bible story is about Him. Although He is not mentioned specifically in the beginning of the Bible, John says, “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:2,3). The Bible story begins with the creation of our world and it tells us what went wrong. Genesis is often called “the book of beginnings”. Genesis 1 stresses the infinite power of God and the unique nature of man compared with other living creatures. Only man is said to have been created “in His own image” (v. 26). Genesis 2 adds more details pertaining to the creation of humans and tells the story of woman’s creation. Genesis 3 is a chapter worth special attention as it introduces us to the commission of the first sin. Because of their sin, Adam and Eve’s relationship with God is fractured and they are forced to exit the garden of Eden. From their introduction of sin into this world, all men have followed suit and have sinned (Rom. 5:12). Genesis 4 portrays sin spreading in the lives of man. This chapter also traces the lineage of two people: Cain and Abel. We will find that Cain’s people were wicked while Seth’s descendants worshipped God (v. 26). Genesis 5 traces the descendants of Adam to Noah, while Genesis 6 introduces the story of Noah and the flood.
These sections of our reading plan are designed to help us determine ways to make application of the readings. You may find “conversation starters” in the ideas mentioned in these sections. We encourage you to consider them as your family discusses the reading assignment for the week. This week we should focus our conversations on God the Creator and His power and authority over the world (especially over us!). As our Creator, God has given us the duty of serving and worshipping Him and He expects us to do it. Children should be taught about sin, what constitutes sin and what it does to our relationship with God. As you get further into the reading assignment, discussion should focus on how sin grows.
Week 2 — Genesis 7 thru 12 (Jan 7-13)
This week we continue the story of Noah and the great flood (Genesis 7-9). In chapters 6 and 7 we find that Noah was a righteous man who walked with God and did all God com-manded him. Obedience and God’s grace are themes to watch for in your reading assignment. Genesis 10 recounts the genealogy of Noah’s sons who were saved from the flood. In Genesis 11 we learn that even the knowledge of God destroying the earth and almost all mankind did not deter people from defying God and sinning again. Because of their pride and arrogance, God confused the languages of those attempting to build the tower of Babel and dispersed them over the face of the earth. Genesis 12 introduces the steps God took to begin implementing His plan to save mankind. God called on Abram of Ur to leave his homeland to a land He would show him, then promised to make a great nation of his descendants. The blessings promised in verse 3 will someday be fulfilled in Christ (Gal 3:16).
Do you regularly consider God’s grace and mercy in your life? It was God’s grace and mercy that saved Noah and his family. It was God’s grace and mercy that caused Him to call Abram to leave his home and to make promises to save mankind from the penal-ty of sin. If you have children in your home, they will undoubtedly be fascinated by the story of Noah’s ark. It is important to help them rec-ognize that Noah’s obedience saved him from destruction. Finally, it is good to emphasize Abraham was not a perfect man. In spite of this fact, God worked with him. Help your children see God can work with us as well, even though we are imperfect. He can help us develop and grow our faith as He did Abraham!
Week 3 — Genesis 13 thru 17 (Jan 14-20)
While Lot becomes a key figure in our reading, the focus must remain on the promises made to Abraham. God keeps his promises of protecting and caring for Abraham in Genesis 13 and 14. God restates and reaffirms the promises in Genesis 15, empha-sizing their significance. Abraham makes another mistake in Genesis 16, but we find God still working with him in the following chapter.
Don’t get distracted by speculating about Melchizedek. We will learn more about him in Hebrews. The main theme of this sec-tion has to do with the faithfulness of God and Abraham. God repeats the promises which will shape the remaining events of the Old Testament. As we read, we will see these promises fulfilled. Make sure your family understands this is the “map” for the rest of the Old Testament.
Week 4 — Genesis 18 thru 22 (Jan 21-27)
Genesis 18 will reveal the depth of Abraham’s relationship with God. Despite many obstacles, God’s promises will be fulfilled! We are introduced to a discussion of the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and see how Abraham interceded for the people. However, in Genesis 19 we read that Abraham was only successful in helping save his nephew and his daughters. God protects Abraham again in Genesis 20 and the account of the birth of Isaac is recorded in Genesis 21. God gives Abraham’s faith a great test in Genesis 22.
Although we might be in awe of how Abraham passed the testing of his faith, we need not loose sight of the fact that his faith had grown over a long period of time. Look at your own faith development. What temptations can you resist today that you could not in years past or when you first became a Christian? How is God working through His word and providence to strengthen your faith? Children may have difficulty understanding the sacrifice of Isaac. Help them see Abraham believed God would have raised his son from the dead even if he’d killed him (Heb 12:17-19). However, it was not God’s intention to have Isaac killed, but rather to present a means for Abraham to show his faith. Children should learn that sometimes obeying God means we may have to do difficult things.
Week 5 — Genesis 24 thru 28 (Jan 28-Feb 3)
The narrative in this section redirects focus on a new character, Isaac. Genesis 24 shows us the elaborate precautions his father takes to prevent him from marrying a Canaanite woman. Once again, God answers Abraham’s prayers and blesses his family. In Genesis 25 Abraham’s story comes to an end and we are introduced to his twin grandsons, Jacob and Esau. You will note the promises made to Abraham are repeated to Isaac in Genesis 26. Isaac promptly follows in his father’s footsteps by lying, but is also protected by God as was Abraham. As the story continues, it becomes evident that lying and deceit are a regular part of Jacob’s life. In fact, Genesis 27 reveals that he lied to his father in order to steal the blessing. However, in Gen-esis 28 we see the providential working of God as he sends Jacob away to a land where He will give him the promises He had given to Abraham (verses 3,4,13-15).
Already we see distinctions between Abraham’s people and the people of Canaan. Is there a lesson to be learned by us? (see James 1:27). Jacob’s lying and trickery provide good illustration to the idea of “the end justifies the means”. Help your children see the fallacy in this behavior. Children often follow the example of their parents! Another point of emphasis when you discuss this section with your children is the providential working of God in the lives of men.