This week the Foundry Bible Immersion began with seven new, courageous students who have left their homes and have moved to DC for 10 weeks of intense discipleship.
This year we are blessed with an international flavor. We have Scott and Ryle from Canada, Priscilla from Italy, Mikayla and Keanen from Arizona, and Ryan and Kathy from Virginia.
They have decided to come here because they want to grow in their knowledge and love for the Lord. They will be doing evangelism and learning in the classroom with our pastors, but perhaps the most important aspect of the school is the reading through the entire Bible in such a short amount of time.
At the age of 18, I went to a similar school in Italy. I was super depressed, unable to sleep at night, and with no direction in life when I began reading through the Bible. It was exactly what I needed. The Lord completely changed my life thorugh it. In so many ways.
It changed my life because it caused me to understand that I exist for the purpose of glorifying God. Reading the Bible so quickly allowed me to see that God is the central focus of scripture. Sure, John 3:16 is one verse that focuses on God’s love for his children, but throughout Scripture I was exposed to the fact that God alone deserves the glory and that He shares it with no one. I was born selfish, thinking that my happiness was all that mattered. And reading the Scripture so quickly from start to finish exposed me to the folly of selfish, man-centered thinking, pushing me towards living for God.
It changed my life because it caused me to believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. One of the greatest “aha!” moments of the school was in reading Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17. As I read through the names, I slowed down my pace and I noticed a few incredible names. The one that struck me the hardest was the name of Rahab. The prostitute of Jericho who by sheer “coincidence” ran into the spies and helped them escape, ensuring for herself a place in Israel, and unbeknownst to her, a place in the line of David leading to the Messiah. What an incredible picture of the sovereignty of God. And throughout the Bible there are thousands of stories just like hers. The Old Testament was a testament to the absolute orchestration of God from beginning to end. My trust for all the words of the books of Daniel, Zachariah, and Revelation was established, and I knew the future was already set in stone.
It changed my life because it caused me to see that the sovereign God of Scripture was sovereign over my personal life as well. Hardships I had faced growing up may have seemed difficult and unfortunate for me to have gone through. But ultimately, because I was overwhelmed by God’s sovereignty by reading through the Bible so quickly, I was convinced that the same God who protected Joseph in the pit, was the one who had allowed me to face whatever challenge I had gone through. And, although He could take it away at any moment, just as when He restored Job his health and wealth, He had a reason for why He allowed whatever situation to occur in my life. This caused me to trust Him, and to be able to sleep at night.
It changed my life because it was clear that God called His people to stick out from the world. I wanted to be a Christian who could just live a normal life, have a family and a job, and die a wealthy man. It was obvious that God calls His people to so much more, to live lives of complete dependence on Him. Whether it was Jeremiah in the pit, Daniel in the lion’s den, Paul half dead on the street, or the unnamed men whom the world was not worthy of from Hebrews 11:38. Scripture was filled with men who considered this world as chump change compared to eternity.
It changed my life because it showed me that I am totally depraved. I was overwhelmed with the idea that God hates sin, and not just sin in a general way but my personal sin. He detested Israel’s continual turning to false gods. He hated the worlds evil and destroyed it at the flood. He hated Sodom and Gomorrah and now they no longer exist. He was days away from destroying Nineveh. The whole Bible is a song that declares the holiness of God and establishes Him as the only Holy, Holy, Holy. It’s pretty difficult to read the entire Bible so quickly and not be overwhelmed with the holiness of God and man’s gross, total depravity. My sin was exposed in a way that I had never felt before, every chapter seemed to scream that to me. James was wise in saying that the Scripture is like a mirror that reveals our sin. If you’re feeling pretty good about yourself, read quickly through the Bible and it will very quickly reveal your depravity.
It changed my life because it showed me that people need God. He will punish sin. In verse after verse, God declares that sin has consequences, and they are not temporal, they are eternal. I was overwhelmed with a need to share the Gospel with all people, not only because the Bible is filled with warning passages, but also because the God of the Bible is so awesome that you would be crazy not to worship Him. I was overwhelmed with how awesome God is, and my desire was that all people everywhere needed to hear about him. I couldn’t help but awkwardly start conversations with people because I was convinced by Scripture that, not only did they need to worship the Lord, but that without Him they would spend eternity in Hell. Reading through the Bible so quickly will be a great motivating factor for your evangelism.
Obviously, reading big chunks of Scripture should not be our bread and butter. The careful study of God’s Word and the memorizing of Scripture has a far greater impact on our day to day life. But I would say that reading through the whole Bible as quickly as possible should be something that every Christian does at least once in their life. And believe it or not, it does not take that long. It only takes 70 hours to read from start to finish. I mean it took Max McClean 77 hours to read out loud, and if you’ve ever heard him, he’s more of the tortoise than the hare as far as Bible readers go. Reading through the whole Bible so quickly may be a great challenge, but It changed my life and I believe it will be profitable for any Christian, as well.