First of all, a brief apology to regular readers of my blog for my failure to post anything much this year. I have been preparing a Saturday morning theology course to run at my church, on the subject of ecclesiology. Hopefully all the course notes will appear on this blog in due course.
I bought John Stott’s "Through the Bible Through the Year" with the intention of making it my main Bible reading companion for 2007. The basic idea is that he follows the traditional Christian year and works through the Bible in three stages. Part One goes through the story of the Old Testament. Part Two is the life of Jesus. Part Three is the early church (Acts, Epistles and Revelation). Or you can think of it as Father, Son and Spirit as well. If you start in January you do parts two and three first so that the Christmas and Easter stories fall come at the appropriate times.
Each day has a short Bible passage to read followed by a section of John Stott’s comments – usually three or four paragraphs. John Stott is one of my favourite expositors, and as usual his comments are fresh and insightful. Those who have read a lot of his Bible Speaks Today series will recognise some of the material, but it is worth hearing again in succinct form.
Having said all this, I did have a couple of disappointments with this book. First, the Scripture readings for each day are very short. If you only read the suggested passages you will not end up reading very much of the Bible in a year. I found myself wanting to supplement the reading with some extra material, and it was not always easy to keep pace with where the book was. It would have been nice to include extra readings to get you through the entire Bible in a year in a way that kept you roughly in sync with the comments. Also, I think the book could have done with some daily suggestions for prayer and worship.
Anyway, I would recommend this to anyone who does not have a regular habit of Bible reading and doesn’t have much time. It will require only five minutes a day of you and will help you to begin to grasp the overall story-line of the Bible. Anyone in Southampton who wants to borrow my copy to start at Easter is more than welcome.