So today’s post is an update on my progress with Prof. Horner’s Bible reading system.
…so what has that got to do with what the Romans did or didn’t do for us?
I’m getting to that, just stick with me. As I was saying, I’m now two weeks into the Bible reading system, that’s day 14 for those of you who like numbers. I have to say it’s been interesting. I won’t lie to anybody and say I read ten chapters everyday at the right time, I did miss a day on Tuesday I believe, so Wednesday and Thursday I was a day behind in my reading. Friday, I had a bit more spare time, so I decided to catch myself up and read an extra 10 chapters.
Using the Bible app /bible.com plan is really helpful for keeping track of my reading as it allows me to tick off the chapters I’ve read. Which is useful as I can get some reading done whilst I’m at work either at my desk from their website or on my phone.
It’s a good idea to generally keep up with the plan reading everyday, if you miss a day or two it’s possible to double up your reading, or to read a few more chapters each day over the course of a week or so. However, if reading ten chapters is stressful enough, just keep going and be a little behind from your original schedule.
Personally, I am enjoying this reading plan, I like hitting milestones. So as I’m typing, I’ve read 140 chapters of the Bible this year. It sounds like a lot but considering there are 1186 chapters in the Bible, it’s barely scratching the surface. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly. It’s more than 10% of the number of chapters in the bible (11.8043845% to be exact).
I’m learning so much and gaining insight on details I didn’t take much notice of before. An example of this is; I didn’t notice that the Gospel of Matthew went from 0-100 real quick. What I mean by this is, in Matthew 1 is a list of Jesus’ ancestors and Mary and Joseph being told Jesus will be born (as in Jesus wasn’t born yet). In Matthew 2 Jesus is born, (in fact Matthew 2:1 talks about Jesus’ birth in the past tense so Jesus was born somewhere between the last verse in Matthew 1 and the first verse in Matthew 2). By Matthew 3 Jesus is being baptised and Matthew 4 Jesus is inviting Simon Peter and Andrew to become fishers of men.
…I thought you were going to tell us about Romans?
I was just coming to that! So, I’m not exactly sure what the Romans had or hadn’t done exactly, but what I do know is, they had started a church and Paul decided to write to them to encourage them. I actually read something today that I found really interesting and this was Romans 14. Yes, the whole chapter! I guess if I had to narrow it down to any particular verse I would say
8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
This verse tells us that whatever we do or don’t do as Christians is to the honour and glory of our Lord. As Christians whatever we do, we need to remember we do these things as representatives of Christ. Just the same way that if you work for a particular company or organisation what you say or do is perceived as a representation of the organisation that you work for. That’s why when you undertake charitable activities your employer will endorse you, however, if you said something controversial on social media your employer may disassociate themselves from you and in some instances even terminate your employment for bringing them into disrepute (dishonour or discredit).
I’ve read this particular verse before and it was even already highlighted in my bible but reading the whole chapter gave me some understanding about something that I have wondered about before.
The chapter is talking to believers about being more accepting of, and criticising other believers less. Especially with regard to what they think is right or wrong. Sticking with one of the examples that Paul gave with regard to eating and drinking, I was often confused as to whether as a Christian it was right or wrong to drink alcohol. Depending on what church you go to and which Christians you speak to you will hear a whole host of reasons, arguments and explanations as to why as a Christian you should or shouldn’t consume alcohol. Reading this chapter I have discovered the actual answer, and the answer is: it depends.
Anyone who works with me will find that answer hilarious, we use “it depends” as an answer to so many questions. As a response it sounds like a cop out, it sounds like sitting on the fence and not trying to commit to something for fear of being wrong. The truth, however, is that it really does depend from person to person and their faith.
21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
For example, it may be wise for someone with a history of falling into sin whilst under the influence of alcohol to abstain from drinking alcohol completely. Likewise, it may be prudent for someone who has never partaken in the consumption of alcohol to refrain from alcohol as it could be their downfall. Also, as alcohol is often consumed in social settings meaning that it is likely that you may be encouraged to drink more than you should or may encourage others to drink more than they can handle. This is why I believe within a lot of Christian circles it is frowned upon to drink alcohol as people have different tolerances. Whereas one particular individual may be unaffected by consuming alcohol from time to time, their brethren may not be the same and therefore the drinker may become a stumbling block to their brethren. So, rather than have groups comprised of stumbling blocks and those who fall because of the stumbling blocks it safer for all to abstain. That way no one falls or is a stumbling block, both of which are negative.
6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.Romans 14:6
Therefore, before you choose to do something or not, take into consideration whom you are and what you represent. Question yourself as to whether or not, according to your faith your actions or omissions give honour to God.
So I think this can be summed up with this verse taken from the New Living Translation.
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.
Romans 14:17-18 NLT
Thanks for reading. Those who haven’t already (and even those who have) I’d love to read, hear and see your feedback and comments. If there’s anything you’d like to see on this blog please let me know. Also please like, share and subscribe.
Until the next time, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!