read the Bible

Most people think about reading the Bible in a year, or in a lifetime. So where did 90 days come from? We interviewed Ted Cooper, the founder of the Bible in 90 Days program, to find out how he drew up three months as an appropriate time frame, and why this former skeptic even started to read the Bible. Find out and hear for yourself how God took ahold of Ted’s life through His word.

We all think about what we need to be doing and doing better in a brand-new year and that includes reading the Bible, doesn’t it?

For as many people who have now done this, there are still tens of millions, hundreds of millions, even billions of people who haven’t, so this is the crusade, this is the mission, to help all of God’s people read God’s word.

Tell us what was going on in your life when you even started to read the Bible.

This all started for me back in 1999. We were at a point where I was agnostic, my wife was agnostic, and we had three children at that point who were getting to the age where they were impressionable. And we decided that rather than have them grow up in a non-Christian household or in a household in which we were blatantly disavowing God and Jesus Christ, we thought, well gosh, you know, let’s let them go to church, be in Sunday School and make up their own minds. We had otherwise remained silent on the subject. So we decided to bundle them up, throw them in a car one Sunday, take them to a church that we knew had a great youth program, and that I had in fact attended as a child, and walked through the door with them. And as we joke now, that was our big mistake. Becky and I crossed the threshold ourselves.

You were Thomas. You were a doubter.

I had gone to church as a child, gone through in fact, even the confirmation process, but very much the kicking-and-screaming approach and did it more than anything else because it was going to make my parents happy. And I walked away from that. The bottom line was that we were agnostic, and I’ve always felt that the reason we were agnostic was we just weren’t brave enough to be atheists. We weren’t brave enough to say, “No, absolutely, there is no God.” But we just don’t think that there is one, and even if there is, why waste the time, frankly? Why waste our lives wondering about this thing that will never be proven, until in fact we die? That was very much my mindset. However, let’s don’t impose that thinking on our children. And if we were wrong, we didn’t want to impose that on them.

We joined a class called Discovery 101 that was led by a wonderful pastor by the name of Carl Hamilton, and a woman by the name of Susan Ray. They just did a wonderful job, for four weeks, of introducing what were prospective members of the church to the Christian faith, to the faith as practiced by that church. So we just went, and thought, “Well, we’ll see what they have to say.” And frankly, we would leave every week, kind of shaking our head, and going, boy, they’ve got this wrong. I remember vividly the opportunity to study the prodigal son. And Becky and I both left there thinking, “Wow, that’s just all about bad parenting.” But what did happen during this particular hour each week for four weeks, was that Carl Hamilton would ask a question, pose a question, that I just couldn’t answer, that my worldview couldn’t answer. And that would make me mad. And he suggested that the Christian worldview really did have the answer. This made me mad, it took me out of my comfort zone, and I wanted back in my comfort zone just as quickly as possible. The noodling that I did arrived at a point … and the plan was, I want to get back into my comfort zone, the way that I can do that is to actually read the book that’s supposed to tell me all about the Christian faith and I needed to do it and do it as quickly as possible so that I could go back to my disbelief and my own comfortable life.

Ted, how did you work this out? You’re a linear thinker, and you decided you wanted to check the book out to see if it was really true. 

I’m a businessman and I was used to thinking in terms of projects and I was used to thinking through things, how I make sure this project was going to be successful. This particular project was to read all of God’s word. I knew and had met plenty of people who had started out to read the entire Bible and the vast majority had failed. So I thought through the process of what kind of resource do I need, and that would mean a particular Bible, what would be the timeframe that would be successful for me, and in my case, I thought, “I won’t stick with it over a year.” And so 90 days made a lot of sense for me. I thought, “I can do anything for three months.”

It’s amazing that you did this, and went to all this trouble, to not believe in something—that you didn’t expect to be having any impact in your future or in your kid’s lives, either. But you started the project, and you started reading the Bible through in 90 days. So I guess, as they say, the rest is history, but what happened?

The first half, I was reading along. I was trying to be very open-minded about it. I didn’t want to go in with a defeatist attitude. I didn’t expect to have my mind changed by it, but I didn’t want to read it in such a way that I would clearly not have my mind changed by it. So with a fairly open mind, I started reading it. I kept reading it. I read 12 pages a day. And darned if halfway through, I didn’t realize that I was actually believing what I reading.

For anyone who’s never read the Bible all the way through, you were still in the Old Testament, you hadn’t even gotten to the New Testament yet, had you? 

I was still in the Old Testament, somewhere in Isaiah or Jeremiah. And you know, this was my first time through. I wasn’t keeping them straight, which one was which. But yes, in the Old Testament, and then back in the major prophets, which is not a particularly likely place to become a believer, but I did.

So you actually lost your agnosticism somewhere between Isaiah or Jeremiah. The spirit of the living God was actually speaking to you.

I believe so. I wouldn’t believe it before. But at this moment, this great revelation was, I believe this. It changed my life so dramatically and yet so subtly at the same time. When I woke up the next morning, I still had the same personality, I still had a lot of the same quirks and approaches to life and my compass had been changed. The big issue for me had been, I had always thought that I was in control. And once I accepted that there is a God, and that He sent his son to die for his sins, to be our savior, I had to accept that I wasn’t in charge but that he was in charge, is in charge. And if I’m going to have a life that has meaning, I better figure out what the creator’s plan for me is, and get with the picture.

I am so amazed. This is a risky thing. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior, you know in your heart that you’re not a believer, we’re going to ask you to do this, but you better be careful for what you ask for.

I think that’s what people’s big fear is. And I do understand it, coming from one side to the other. The neat thing that I can guarantee is that if you take the leap, you will not regret it. If we accept the notion that God created us, that He created this incredible universe, with wonderful blessings, and also horrible tragedies, then what we want to do, I believe, is be on His team. And if we’re not, then what we have to understand is, that we’re in a battle against the creator. And that doesn’t make any sense. We’re not going to win that battle. So as much as we may fear change at any point in time, the great thing is, he has wonderful plans in store for us.

And I can tell you, 13 years ago, I would have been very, very cynical if I heard somebody telling me. What I would just ask people, invite people, very heartily to do, is to go find out for yourself. That is a big part of what we think the mission of this ministry is, to help people find out for themselves what this wonderful scripture says. God gave us this gift. And most of us including the vast majority of Christians, have never fully unwrapped it. Please do. When you do, you get to respond to it. You get to decide whether it makes you happy, it makes you mad, it makes you knowledgeable, it confuses you. You go through this process, and I think you’re going to come out on the other end going, “Gosh, I’m glad I did that.”

As the leader of the 80-year-old Haven Ministries, Charles Morris is always thinking of ways to lead Christians and non-Christians to Christ—hence the familiar slogan, “Telling the great story … it’s all about Jesus.” Charles is a former secular journalist, working for United Press International, and a former press secretary for two U.S. senators. After seminary, he started working in the Christian world, coming to Haven as the fourth speaker in 2000. He and his wife Janet are looking forward to their soon-to-be-released book Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story.

From the very first words of the Bible, the foundation for all of human history is laid out – creation, the fall of humanity, and God’s promise to redeem us from the curse of sin.

The first week of your 90-day challenge should be an enjoyable one. This section is fast-paced and covers a lot of ground. Pay close attention as you read stories that may be quite familiar. God has a way of bringing fresh insight to what we have heard and read many times before.

And if you get behind, don’t be discouraged! Pick up where you left off. Or catch up by going to a coffee shop, settling in for a couple of hours, and maybe even getting ahead! 

Genesis – Exodus:   Themes

Genesis and Exodus are packed with stories tracing the history of one particular family, often with great attention to detail. Here are the major characters and storylines to watch for:

  • Gen 1-11: Creation to Babel
  • Gen 12-25: The Life of Abraham
  • Gen 26-36: The lives Isaac and Jacob
  • Gen 37-50: The story of Joseph and how the family of Jacob came to Egypt
  • Exodus 1-4: God Calls Moses
  • Exodus 5-11: Moses Returns to Pharaoh
  • Exodus 12-15: Passover and God’s Deliverance
  • Exodus 16-23: Ten Commandments and Giving of the Law
  • Exodus 24-31: The Tabernacle and Worship
  • Exodus 32-40: Israel Sins, God Forgives, then God Comes to Abide with His People

Genesis and Exodus are full of stories foreshadowing God’s great plan of salvation through Jesus. Look for this especially in the stories of Noah, God’s promise to Abraham, and Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery. Consider the parallels between the details of the Passover and the cross of Christ, such as the blood of the sacrifice covering those who took shelter under it as the angel of death passed over. This is perhaps the greatest foreshadowing of the cross in all of scripture!

How did God speak to you through His Word this week?


Encouraging Comments from another B90 reader

Like Hagar we cannot run away from our problems….

El Shaddai “I am God Almighty” Or More than enough, Not God I am getting by, More than enough!

Nothing is too hard for God, He gave Abraham and Sarah a son, He can help you too.

I did not realize that after Sarah died, Abraham married again and had several more children.

God has no Grand Children, we each must have our own relationship with Him. We cannot get into heaven on someone elses coat tails.

Wow I am really excited about this, the Holy Spirit is shining light where before I had not understood, I am also reading this in my Life Application NIV, and it sheds alot of info.

Connie L.


B90 Insight of the Week

Again and again Abraham and his descendants sinned terribly against God, often to such an extent that we wonder why God chose them in the first place. Yet God commends the faith of Abraham and confirms His promise to save all nations through him.

This is the same God who calls us to Himself today, not because we are so morally righteous or deserving, but because of His great love for fallen and helpless sinners. So great was His love that even thousands of years beforehand, He shows us evidence of His plan to send His own Son to do what we could not and to bring us back to Himself.


The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!

Congratulations!  You’ve completed Week 1 of your 90-day challenge. And in the process you have read hundreds of years of biblical narrative; a family history of sorts that sets up the rest of the Bible!

The plot of God’s great story has taken shape. His perfect world was shattered by our sin and the curse of death held creation captive. But God did not leave us there. He promised to redeem, he showed the dramatic rescue from slavery (a detailed picture of God’s great rescue yet to come), and the journey of God’s people through life as they learn to love, trust, and obey him from the wilderness to Canaan.

When we read these first books of the Bible it can be tough to see ourselves in Israel’s story. It’s tempting to look at the sin of God’s people and wonder how they could be so foolish. And yet, if someone else were to read a history of our life – complete with the details we would rather leave out – would we really look that different than Israel?

As the Apostle Paul later wrote about sin’s continuing presence in our lives, “Nothing has overtaken you except that which is common to man.” God wants us to see our own inability to keep his perfect law, and then see how big a savior we need.

“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful humanity to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the human flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us…”
Romans 8:3-4

Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy:   Themes

Leviticus  Named for the tribe of Levi, who assisted the sons of Aaron with the priestly duties in the tabernacle. This book gives detailed instructions for various types of offerings and sacrifices.

  • Burnt Offerings:  To make atonement for sin, this sacrifice was totally devoted to the Lord and completely burned.
  • Grain Offerings:  Given to honor God’s provision for life, also includes instructions for other types of “firstfruits” offerings.
  • Fellowship Offerings: Given out of love and devotion for one’s relationship with God.
  • Sin Offering:  For unintentional sins which, although accidental, still made someone impure before God.
  • Guilt Offerings: For sins committed intentionally (sometimes referred to as “sins with a high hand” in defiance of God) to restore relationship with God and atone for the evil committed.

The rest of the book is devoted to instructions for worship, priestly service, laws for cleanliness and daily life.

INSIGHT:  Note how many of the laws and regulations are not simply arbitrary “because-I-said-so” rules, but are for the good of God’s people. In this era of history before germs and diseases were better understood, these laws prescribed basic hygiene that would have made life better for everyone. Indeed ALL of God’s laws are for our own good, that we might live life to the fullest as God lovingly intends!

Numbers  So named because of the censuses taken of God’s people at the beginning and end of the book. Sadly, much of Numbers is the story of how, despite God’s miraculous provision again and again, the Israelites doubt, grumble and rebel against God.

As Michael Williams notes in How to Read the Bible Through the Jesus Lens:

The Israelites had been delivered from Egypt with mighty displays of divine power. Before their very eyes they had witnessed incredible demonstrations of God’s sovereignty … but in the Israelites’ eyes, the visible, physical challenges they saw lying ahead of them in that land seemed greater than the invisible, un-physical God who was with them. Their trust gave way to doubt and rebellion. God’s patience love and forgiveness had to make room for his discipline.

Deuteronomy  The first five books of the Bible are sometimes referred to as “The Law” or the “Books of Moses”. This final book of Moses contain God’s final instructions through Moses to the Israelites. Soonthis great prophet of God will die, and then Joshua will take his place as leader. In effect, Deuteronomy summarizes the previous four books, highlighting events and instructions to remind God’s people to follow Him in faithfulness as they proceed to take the Promised Land.

In the final day of your reading this week, note how Moses summarizes the purpose and intent of the Law:

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.  (Deut 10:12-13)

How did God speak to you through His Word this week?

 


Encouraging Comments from another B90 reader

 

It amazes me how God’s people kept up with all the sacrifices and offerings that they had to make. When I think of all the offerings: the grain offering, the peace offering, the drink offering, the burnt offering, etc., I am thankful that Jesus was all those things because of His life that he poured out for us. And now, He is the perfect sacrifice and there will never have to be another because He has done it once and for all!

Debra Reed


B90 Insight of the Week

You might think Israel would have learned something by now about grumbling against God. But once again, in Numbers 21, Israel’s stomachs growled and the rumblings of discontent began. In response, God sent snakes into the camp whose venomous bites were deadly.

It’s hard to mistake the visual imagery of how God provided relief from the venomous curse of the serpent. When the Israelites repented, God responded by instructing Moses to set up an image of their sin, a bronze snake, on a pole. Anyone who gazed upon – as they were dying – it would be given back their life.

In the same way, later God would raise his own Son on the cross and all who turned from their sins and looked to him would receive eternal life. John 3:14-15: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.Jesus would be lifted up on the cross so that those who grumble and complain against God could turn from their sins and – in him – have eternal life.


The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!

You made it to week three! If you are still on schedule, then you’ve completed one of the hardest weeks in the 90-Day challenge.

If you’ve fallen behind, don’t give up. Reset your schedule and keep going! Maybe you can even plan a date with just you and your Bible and catch up over the weekend.

Last week you read how God’s people were left wandering in the wilderness. The week ended with Moses giving his final instructions to the Israelites on how to live faithfully in the Promised Land.

This week you will leave the books of the Law and read about how God begins to fulfill His promises.

At this point in the 90-Day plan the clear benefit of reading through Scripture at high speed becomes clear. Only a few days ago you read how God promised Abraham that his descendents would inherit the land of Canaan. For Israel the fulfillment of this promise took hundreds of years, but for you – it’s only been two weeks!

Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth & 1 Samuel:   Themes

End of Deuteronomy    Moses blesses and exhorts God’s people before passing the reigns of leadership to Joshua.  After Moses dies, Joshua faces the tough task of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land where they are sure to encounter hostility.

Joshua  God uses Joshua to lead His people and give them what He has promised. The first half focuses on God’s fulfillment of His promise by delivering the land of Canaan into the hands of the Israelites.

Along the way we learn the danger of being presumptuous that things will always go our way. We see that looking to the Lord for guidance matters more than anything else.

The second half is devoted to dividing the land among the tribes. God tells Israel He intends them to become a land of justice and worship, but sadly this does not last long.

Judges  The people of Israel are on a downward spiral of chaos and apostasy, so God raises up “judges” in the land to lead the people out of their depravity.

Constantly, the author tells us that this was an era when people “did what was right in their own eyes.” Their behavior turns into a vicious circle of sin, punishment, repentance, peace, and regress. In fact, it can be summed up in this passage:

The Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. (Judges 2:16-17)

Have you ever felt like we live in a similar era today? Secularism is on the rise, and the values of a Christian worldview are increasingly disregarded as irrelevant.

Like Israel in the time of the judges, the whole earth is waiting for the true King to finally deliver creation once and for all.

Ruth  She lived during the time of the Judges. Most of Israel had turned away from God, except for the small group of people in this story. We follow Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, both widows. They are destitute and powerless to change their situation. They need a savior.

Have you ever felt like that?

As you read this and see Boaz step into the roll of “Kinsman Redeemer,” think about how Jesus did this very thing for us by becoming the redeemer who brings the fullness of life to our emptiness.

1 Samuel  This book brings a nice change of pace. We read stories of hope, many of which clearly foreshadow the coming of Christ.

Saul is appointed the first king of Israel, and he seemed the perfect candidate for the job. But things go badly – fast. David is then anointed as the next king of Israel, but before he can don his crown, he will have to live on the run from Saul who is trying to kill him.

You’ll read many of the stories you’ve grown up learning in Sunday school, but instead of drawing out the same moral lesson, try to focus on the character of God. If you do that, you’ll learn more about who God is, what He does, and what life is like with Him and without Him.

 


Encouraging Comments from a B90 Reader

 

As I was finishing chapter 8, I tried to picture Joshua reading ALL of Moses’ words (our Genesis through Deuteronomy) to the WHOLE assembly — ALL the men, women…EVEN the children.  Imagine the patience of the listeners.  Yet, they had just witnessed God’s power and justice and mercy, so they were hungry to hear His voice.  I, too, have witnessed God’s power and justice and mercy in my own life.  He saved me!   May I be hungry to hear His voice…and attentive…and patient.

Nancy


B90 Insight of the Week

One of the most interesting things to discover in Scripture is how God uses unlikely characters to bring about His will. This time, it’s Rahab. Not only was she a Canaanite (the very people Israel was fighting), but she was also a prostitute.

When two Israelite spies are sent to check out Jericho, she hides them and helps them escape. She confesses her faith in the Lord as the true God and King over the land that she was living in.

Much later, we find Rahab to be a great-grandparent of David, and therefore an ancestor of Jesus. Her story is a beautiful picture of how we are not saved by works, but by faith in the living God.


The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!

You have now read 25% of God’s Word!

If you find yourself falling behind, ask the Lord to help you. Even when reading God’s Word you need His grace and His Holy Spirit. Join together with a prayer partner who is also reading the Bible and ask for accountability in getting through your 90-day challenge.

What you read in the last two days from 1 Samuel sets the tone for the reading in week 4. Israel rejects God as king and asks for a king like the other nations have (1 Sam. 8).

But because God is always faithful to His promises, He will not forget Israel completely. He first gives the people a king according to their own desires – Saul, a tall and handsome man – but an ungodly king. In time, God replaces Saul with David, a man after God’s own heart. 1 & 2 Samuel could be called, “A Tale of Two Kings.” We see the stark contrast between the first type of king, Saul, esteemed in the eyes of men, and the second, David, the anointed of the Lord.

1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings:   Themes

1 Samuel (Conclusion)    Even though the Lord had commanded Israel not to associate with those who summon spirits (Deuteronomy 18:11), Saul seeks the words of Samuel’s dead spirit. God mysteriously allows this and Samuel predicts that Saul and his sons will join him in death the very next day.

As anticipated, the Philistines overwhelm Saul and the first king of Israel meets his end.

2 Samuel  The first six chapters of 2 Samuel describe the transition between the houses of Saul and David. These crescendo in a series of victories for David and God’s promise in 2 Samuel 7 that David’s “throne will be established forever,” a messianic promise anticipating the King of Kings to come from David’s line.

1 Kings  In 1 & 2 Kings David becomes the measuring rod for what it means to be a faithful king. As Solomon begins his reign the Lord says, “If you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” Sadly, this is an enormous if. In the end, keeping the decrees of the Lord would prove too difficult for Israel’s kings.

Their wickedness increases generation after generation to the point that even a prophet like Elijah is run off by King Ahab. In this story, Elijah cries out to the Lord in anguish becuase he believes he is the last worshiper of the true God left in Israel.

And yet, God always keep a small group of faithful followers for Himself. The Apostle Paul calls them “a remnant chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5).

2 Kings  As the decline of Israel continues, the moment of judgment finally comes as the now-divided northern and southern kingdoms are sent into exile.

The indictment of God’s people is somber: because they worshiped worthless gods they themselves became worthless (2 Kings 17:15).

Although it had its glory days with David and Solomon, even the great city of Jerusalem (of the southern kingdom of Judah), is eventually besieged and captured by Babylon in 2 Kings 25.

As we finish this book, our hearts should be longing for Jesus: the promised coming Messiah and the only truly faithful King.

 


Encouraging Comments from a B90 Reader

“What does it mean when the Bible calls David a man after God’s own heart? This time through the Bible I thought about it again.  I think that it means he understood how God works; how God thinks. What gives it away are the unusual ways he reacts in situations where people expect him to do something totally different.

He spared the life of his enemy Saul twice, he challenged Goliath and didn’t take any armor, he mourned when his child was sick and stopped when his child died, he accepted the cursing from Shimei as from God, and he was absolutely stricken with grief when the usurper to his throne was killed. Each of these incidents shows a deep understanding of what God would think in those situations.”

Tim (California)


B90 Insight of the Week

It is through the darkest moments in Israel’s history – days of exile, disappointment and death – we are reminded of the one true King of the world – Jesus Himself. The Isaelites may not have realized it then, but He is the King they had always looked forward to!

Faithful and selfless, Jesus surrendered His life to be lifted high on the cross so that sinners who have made themselves like the worthless gods they served can draw near to God. He rose with authority over death and ascended to the right hand of the Father sending out disciples to preach Good News to the world.



The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!

“No one is righteous. No, not one” (Romans 3:10).

It’s true. We can’t please God with our works. But we can’t be all that bad, can we? Perhaps we tithe, we donate to charitable causes, we bring soup to the sick, or we listen to the hurting. God must nod approvingly at us for some of the things we do for good, right?

And yet, the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah paint a very different portrait of the human heart. Isolated acts of obedience and goodness cannot atone for sin or even prevent it. For if we were to rule kingdoms on earth, we would also fall short. Perhaps we would commit adultery and murder like David. Or acquire countless wives like Solomon. And if we weren’t given the gift of rule, then we might be like David’s son, Absalom, and revolt against our own father!

At this point in history Israel has returned from a humiliating, defeating, and painful trip to exile. 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah remind the Israelites of their years of disobedience, and how they got to the point of exile in the first place.

This is one crucial distinction between the books of Kings and Chronicles. Whereas Kings was directed at Israel before exile, Chronicles is directed at Israel after exile. See if you can keep yourself in that mindset as you read.

Perhaps the greatest takeaway from this section is that the hope is found in a recognition of failure. Knowing we have fallen desperately short of God’s standard is beginning of repentance, and repentance is a prerequisite of grace. Only then can we recognize that it is God who accomplishes all the good in us and through us. In that light, those who believe in Jesus’ power to save have tremendous hope.

At this point in the 90-Day Challenge, you are most likely saying, “OK, I get it! When is the happy ending going to come?” Hang on, keep reading, Matthew is getting much closer. Soon we will be rejoicing with the magi.

1 Chronicles 1:1—Nehemiah 13:44:   Themes

God had promised the Israelites a king. With the death of Saul and God’s promise to establish David’s house, it seemed like David was the one God would use to fulfill His promises. But David committed sins of such serious magnitude that it was clear he was not the one. King after king would come after David, none wholly good, in a general trajectory down into depravity and sin. But surely, God will keep His promises. Surely, there is a king to come that will rule over all creation and eternity.

1 Chronicles   How did Israel land in exile? God, through the writer of Chronicles, answers this question through genealogies, beginning with Adam. The book shares a common storyline with Kings, with a few differences. In some ways it is painful to have to read, again, all of the sins that Israel committed.

There are drastic consequences for not following the Lord.

2 Chronicles  As with Samuel and Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles were originally written as one book. The second half of Chronicles picks up with Solomon and David, and ends with the sequence of kings that followed, the majority of which disobey the Lord. Chaos reigns, not kings. Most of the 39 (yes 39!) kings following Solomon and David are faithless, one after another, except for a very few. Is there no hope? There is. The kings who are faithful are enough for Israel to keep their confidence in God.

The Lord raises the humble, but He will humble those who take their pride in anything other than Him.

Ezra  The Israelites return to rebuild their temple, per the permission of Persian King Cyrus. It is encouraging that they do, despite the fact that nearby adversaries make them afraid to do so.

Nehemiah  Just like children today who don’t remember 9/11, the children described in Nehemiah don’t remember exile. So they don’t worry so much about straying to other gods away from the one true God of Israel. Nehemiah leads Israel and rebuilds the city wall — a physical and spiritual separation between Israel and those who follow pagan gods. At the end of the book, the people of Israel once again begin to act as God’s children.

 


Encouraging Comments from a B90 Reader

We are truly more sinful than we ever imagined…   God motivated pagan kings to bless the people of Israel. The foundation of the temple was built.  People shouted and sang, making noise unto the Lord.   But their hearts were not content to focus on God alone — and they disobeyed by marrying unbelievers.  But God did not abandon them.  He motivated Ezra who interceded for Israel.  And his example –and God’s prompting – brought others to the place of confession and repentance and obedience.  Though we all are more sinful than we could ever imagine, we are more loved and accepted than we could ever dare hope.

Nancy
California


B90 Insight of the Week

Clearly, God’s people are not able to maintain His law and they are not able to rule themselves. They are hardly able to do anything right.

The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah mirror the state of our own hearts. Again and again and again we will fail on our own. Even when we triumph over sin, we are quick to be prideful. Even in our repentance, we are not fully humble. As Isaiah said, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (64:6).

Praise God that He has a far better plan for our righteousness than we ever could. His perfect love means not only that Christ died so that we might live, but that when God looks at us, He sees only the perfect righteousness of His Son.

Can you imagine God looking at you with love and seeing nothing but goodness and purity?



The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!

Take a quick moment to look at Genesis 1 and then look at where you are this week.  In the printed edition of The Bible in 90 Days, you have now read 420 pages of the Bible in 35 days.  Amazing!  And even if you’re a bit behind, the journey has been worth it.  It’s very exciting to think that God is speaking to each of us in different places at different times through the same sections of scripture. What new insights have you discovered about God’s nature?  What new facts have you treasured away in your heart?

Don’t forget to make a comment below and let us know what God has been doing in your life as you read through The Bible in 90 Days.  It will be an encouragement for all of us.

After you wrap up Nehemiah this week, you will meet two of the Bible’s most interesting characters – Esther and Job.  Both stories give us insight into God’s providential work, both within a nation and a single person.  Finally, you’ll wrap up the week by reading through a majority of the Psalms – Israel’s songbook filled with honest lyrics that flow from the heart.

Nehemiah – Psalms:   Themes

Nehemiah  Israel has returned from exile, rebuilt Jerusalem’s walls, and begun to live as God’s people once again.  And yet, by the end of the book, we see how easily they slip away from following God.  Nehemiah reminds us that God will punish sin, but it also shows us that His “steadfast love” towards His people will endure forever.  This doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for sin, but it does demonstrate that those who are in Christ have a sure foundation.

Esther  Though this book does not mention God directly, we see His providential hand working to preserve His chosen people.  God  promised Abraham that the Messiah would come from his seed and, despite the best efforts of Haman, God would not allow His promise to end in Persia.  He uses a young girl named Esther to win the heart of the king to save His people.  Hollywood doesn’t write fiction as good as this true story.

Job  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Ever heard that one? The book of Job gives us a unique look into the spiritual dimension where we learn that God is always in control.  Though our circumstances may often be challenging, the book of Job teaches us that God cares about His people.  Often our suffering demonstrates God’s glory in our weakness.  What we end up learning is that Job’s faith is the ultimate gift from God and no amount of suffering can separate God’s love from us.

Psalms  This ancient hymnal captures the high praises and deep laments felt within the hearts’ of God’s people.  Every human emotion is on display as God’s people pour their hearts out to Him.  Dr. Michael Williams writes, “We are reassured that within the context of our relationship with God the great King, these feelings are okay to have.  No matter how and what we are feeling, we can tell God about it.”  Through these inspired songs we can cry out to God and seek to have Him draw near to us.

 


Encouraging Comments from B90 Readers

THANK GOD! I finally caught up. I was 2 weeks behind. Saturday I was still reading 1 Samuel, but I pressed forward this weekend to finally get back on course! IT FEELS GOOD!
Kathleen
Texas

 


Both my wife & I have accepted the challenge to read through The Bible in 90 days. I am up to date & into the Psalms. They vary from praise & thanksgiving to God, to almost despair wondering where God is. But that, after all, is the story of my own life & I suspect of many others as well. Thank you, Haven, for issuing this challenge. I am using the Contemporary English Version I am finding it most helpful.

Ken Seburn
International


B90 Insight of the Week

Jesus told His disciples in Luke 24:44, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”  Jesus knew and loved the Psalms.

In fact, many of the Psalms anticipated His coming.  Some of them, like Psalm 2, clearly proclaimed the coming Messiah.  It’s interesting that Jesus often quoted from the Psalms.  Even on the cross, as He was suffering for our sins, He quoted from both Psalm 22 & 31.  And of course Jesus fulfilled the Davidic promises found in many of the Psalms, like that in Psalm 45:6, where it talked about David’s thrown lasting forever.  Obviously the Psalms were important to Jesus, so as you read through these Spirit-inspired songs this week, look for Jesus to show up.



The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!

By the 2nd day of reading this week you will be halfway through the Bible! Congratulations! This week we dig into Jesus’ favorite Bible passages. The Gospels quote the book of Psalms and Isaiah more than any other books of the Old Testament.

Jesus quotes Psalm 118 saying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” upon His entry into Jerusalem for the last time. A few days later on the cross He cries out Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Keep your eyes and ears open for Jesus this week because each of these books whispers His name.

Psalms – Isaiah:   Themes

Psalm 89-150
The Psalms are a songbook for the people of God throughout history. But we usually forget that these poems are supposed to be sung. Psalm 98:1 says, “Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things!” Psalm 105:2 tells us, “Sing praises to him; tell of his wondrous works.”

This wonderful songbook ends with a call to the whole world: “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 150:6)

Proverbs
In this book of wisdom, a father and mother sit down with their son and explain to him that a full and rich life begins with “the fear of the Lord” (1:7). They explain that wisdom is better than gold and that living a life of wisdom is like walking along a safe path that slowly draws you into mature fellowship with God. They warn him to stay away from the seductive and adulterous women, and the mother, specifically, teaches her son to look for the type of woman who fears the Lord.

Yet perhaps the best perspective to have on the book of Proverbs comes from Paul, in his book to the Corinthians. He reminds us that the wise man, the teacher of the law, and the philosopher must all look to the cross in order to find the summary of all true wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18-20).

Ecclesiastes
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” So opens the book that shows us how a self-centered life in this world is completely vain and means nothing. Earthly pleasures – even pursuing wisdom and hard work – are all meaningless unless we “fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecc. 12).

Song of Songs
This love song has often been interpreted throughout church history as a description of the love Christ has for His bride, the church. The concluding crescendo speaks of strength and faithfulness that comes from the best kind of love:

Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
(Song of Songs 8:6)

Isaiah 1-13
This book of prophecy begins with an accusation against God’s people. God had shepherded and provided for His people. But rather than responding in love and admiration, they ran from their Father. Oxen and donkeys know to love and serve their master. But Israel does not (Isaiah 1:3).

But God will not leave His people in their own sins. Somehow He will take soiled and obviously broken people, wash and clothe them, and make them new.

 

 


Encouraging Comments from B90 Readers

I am 14 years old and my family and I are taking the challenge of reading the Bible in 90 Days. I must say it has not been the easiest thing. Many times there are after school activities, etc. This has made me realize how we were doing things other than worshiping God, which is most important! I hope everyone taking this challenge is being made to think about the wonders of God because it really is making me.

WDAC listener – Lancaster, PA

 


Wow. Can you believe we are over 1/2 way. I don’t know about you but it seems a breeze now. I’ve got the wind at my back and it’s full sail ahead! My comment on today’s reading comes from Proverbs 30:7-9, “Give me neither poverty nor riches.” I need Him. He sustains me. He is my provider. My help comes from the Lord. Thank you, Thank You, Thank You. What extravagant love God has for those who trust in Him!

Jim Martenson – Michigan


B90 Insight of the Week

Jesus sang the Psalms and knew them by heart. He quoted them often. As you read this week, imagine what it would be like to sing the Psalms together with Jesus. Join with God’s people, pleading before the Father that we would be heard. “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! Hear my voice” (Psalm 130:1).

And think of this as well – your Savior is never ashamed to sing with you. The book of Hebrews 2:11-12 tells us, “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.’” What are these words Jesus is singing with His true brothers and sisters? They are the words of Psalm 22:22.



The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!

“How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:2).

This week we are solidly in the prophetic section of the Old Testament as we read the end of Isaiah and all of Jeremiah. So far we have covered books of historical narrative, law, and wisdom literature. In the prophetic literature the tone, message, and style changes significantly from prior books.

We have already seen Israel and Judah subjected to exile. And we have seen some who returned to God. Isaiah and Jeremiah are reminders that God had sent prophets warning His people away from their sin and begging them to return to Him. In fact, Isaiah’s whole life was dedicated to imploring the people of Israel to return to God!

At this point we can see that Israel has fallen far, her former glory a distant memory. Yet God’s glorious promises remain. Abraham’s line has grown through the generations, but it does not yet number more than the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore. These promises are still waiting for their ultimate fulfillment. And that great day is now closer than before.

Isaiah 14:1—Jeremiah 33:22   Themes

Isaiah  Throughout Isaiah, God tells the Israelites that they have cursed God and will therefore be cursed if they don’t turn from their ways. Israel had already succumbed to the Assyrians. Judah was now threatened with destruction by the Babylonians. God had called Isaiah to tell Israel to turn from her ways and avoid his wrath. It is a warning that still echoes to our ears.

And yet, Isaiah overflows with hope and a deep longing for the coming Messiah. We see shadows of Him in the first chapters, and it ultimately the messianic theme culminate in chapter 53 with the “suffering servant.” In fact, throughout Jesus’ future ministry it would often be the words of Isaiah used to describe and authenticate it.

This is an incredible picture of the biblical tension that exists throughout Scripture – that a holy and just God will punish sin, yet will Himself pay the ultimate price to rescue the people He loves.

Jeremiah   Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet.” This book of prophecy is also full of messianic themes predicting the coming Messiah, and also foretells a new covenant between God and His people.

Throughout his writing, Jeremiah pleads with his countrymen to turn from evil and repent – but to no avail. God had called Jeremiah to be His witness to a generation that would never listen or repent.

Still, he foretells a day to come when God’s law will be written on the hearts of His people.

 


Encouraging Comments from B90 Readers

Wow, what a difference reading through the Bible in 90 days makes. I’ve just turned 90, and I have tried several reading plans to get through in a year. The readings would often end in the middle of an idea or event, leaving you sometimes wondering where you left off. But reading through in 90 days means you go from one complete event to another. I really can’t wait until tomorrow to see where He is leading us. Just because I’m 90, doesn’t mean I’ve stopped living or waiting. I don’t see anyone in the Old or New Testament retiring. So bring on the kingdom.  

Sugar Ray, Washington

 


I hope it isn’t wrong to say that I am proud of myself, but I am. I have never enjoyed reading the Bible like I have come to now. I find that my focus all day, every day, is to complete my reading. Reading a sufficient amount of Scripture each day gives me a much clearer vision of this awesome Word.

Victoria Clark, Tennessee


B90 Insight of the Week

After seeing Israel fail over and over to keep the law, our first thought might be disbelief: “How could they be such incredible failures?” But our second thought, if we’re honest, is that we are the incredible failures as well.

At the end of Isaiah and Jeremiah, God offers hope through the promise of a new covenant. Israel turned from God and suffered His punishment, but God would send one person who would listen and obey Him. And even better, He would listen and obey on the behalf of others.

How much does God love you that He would see your failures, forgive you, then see you as righteous because of Christ?



The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!

With week eight completed, you are now more than two-thirds of your way through the Bible!

The readings for the coming week are fascinating. All of the prophecies are forward-looking. Some will come to pass in the lifetime of the exiles, others will come to pass before the end of the New Testament, but some of it remains a mystery even today from our vantage point.

Doubtlessly you will find yourself asking questions for which there are no apparent answers in the text. This is where keeping the 90-day schedule gets difficult. It’s tempting to stop and consult a study Bible or a commentary, but if you do it will be difficult to complete each day’s reading.

When you come upon an intriguing passage and have a question, discipline yourself to wait until you complete your reading. Then go check out what your study notes have to say. This discipline will help motivate you to get through your reading and stay on track!

Jeremiah 33:23 — Daniel 8:27 Themes

Jeremiah  As Israel continues to reject God and persist in sin, we see God’s judgment and faithfulness beautifully intertwined. Israel claims God has rejected them, but here is His response:

I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky. I will never abandon the descendants of Jacob or David, my servant, or change the plan that David’s descendants will rule the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.
(Jer 33:25-26)

A new covenant is coming and God will not desert His people!

Lamentations   The prophecies and warnings of Isaiah and Jeremiah have come to pass. Israel had placed their hope in countless things that were not God, and now they must realize the futility and foolishness of their disobedience. Jerusalem is gone. The temple is gone. Their ability to worship God as prescribed in the books of Moses is gone. Has God deserted His people?

This is a book of lament, full of grief, regret, and desperation for God.  In it we see God’s purpose for the exile of His people as their hard hearts soften into repentance. They knew they deserved to be destroyed completely, but God had allowed them to survive as a people. From the poet-writer of Lamentations, here is their response to God’s mercy:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
(Lam 3:22-23)

God knows what He is doing!

Ezekiel   Ezekiel is a book of prophecy written by the man who bears the same name, overlapping the time period in which Lamentations was written. Ezekiel was one of 10,000 people taken as a captive by Nebuchadnezzar into Babylon. There his visions and prophecies explained to Israel what was happening to them.

The central theme of this book, as noted in How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens, is that “God’s presence is the key to life.”

As God’s presence departed from the temple, so did the life of the nation of Israel. They were dying a slow death, but were stubbornly unwilling to repent until they were completely conquered and all of their former glory was gone.

The most poignant moment comes as Ezekiel looks out over a valley of dry bones, symbolizing God’s people. But God says to the bones, “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” (Ez 37:5)

It would be more than 600 years before the fulfillment of this prophecy would take place, as Emmanuel (God with us) brings life and the very presence of God back to His people in a way no one expected.

Daniel   Next to the book of Revelation, Daniel contains more eschatological (end-times) prophecy than any other book of the Bible. Daniel was only a young boy when the exile to Babylon took place. He was quickly identified as someone with a promising future and was selected to be groomed for service to the very king who had just defeated Israel and carried her into captivity.

Amazingly, Daniel serves a pagan king with integrity and excellence, while remaining faithful to God. When faced with a crossroads, he always chooses obedience to God, even at the cost of losing his own life. But God miraculously preserves his life year after year.

 


Encouraging Comments from B90 Readers

Lamentations is such a sad, sad book…yet one of my most favorite passages comes in the middle of it: Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lam. 3:21-23)

Nancy, California


B90 Insight of the Week

Referencing the lessons of the book of Ezekiel, Bible commentator Michael Williams notes that, like Israel, “A lot of us have spiritual attention deficit disorder. We get so distracted by the things that surround our lives that we forget where our life comes from in the first place.”

Can you relate? It will be a couple more weeks before we get there, but this theme shows up prominently in the Gospel of John. Jesus tells us in John 4 that He is the “Living Water” who sustains life. And again in John 6 that He is “true bread and true drink,” more important to our continued existence than our next meal.

The weaknesses of Israel are our weaknesses too. We are quick to forget that all life comes from and is sustained by God Himself. And we are so apt to place our hope in things that are not God.

So today ask the Lord to remind you that true life is found in Him. Ask God to make you even more hungry for His Word and for His presence.



The Bible in 90 Days

Reading the Bible in ninety days is easier than you thought!

Once you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be a formidable challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Fulfill what for many Christians is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible!