35 Day Challenge

Are you ready to take your Bible reading to the next level? Then take this 35 day challenge. The whole point of this blog is to encourage people to read the Bible the way it was written to be read. That is, letters are to be as whole letters, histories as stories, etc. With the exception of Proverbs and other select portions, scripture verses are not designed to be read in isolation from their surrounding context. So in order to demonstrate this, let me encourage you to take this challenge. It will be a challenge, requiring a real commitment on your part. However, I guarantee that when you are done, you will never approach reading and studying the Bible the same again. Are you up to it?

Here’s the challenge. Let’s start with a relatively straight forward New Testament letter written by Paul – 1 Thessalonians.

Step 1. Read the introductory notes on 1 Thessalonians found on the 1 Thessalonian Notes page.

There is nothing special about these notes. Most good study bibles or a good bible handbook would contain this information. I have made these available for you convenience. Fill free to print them and use them in any way you see fit.

Step 2. Read or listen to the whole letter every day for the next 5 weeks – 35 days.

This should take you less than 15 minutes each day. I highly recommend you listen to it via an audio version, reading along in your Bible. Or better yet, pretend you are in the original audience in Thessalonica and just listen. After all, when the believers at Thessalonica received Paul’s letter someone would have read it to them. YouVersion has great apps for this. I highly recommend you take advantage of their free Bible resources.

Step 3. Everyday mediate and journal on a different verse from the letter as follows:

Week 1 – Each day journal on a different verse from chapter 1 of 1 Thessalonians. There are only 10 verses in this chapter, so that means by the end of the week you will have meditated and written in depth on all but three of them. I recommend using the SOAP method when you journal.

Week 2 – Each day journal on a different verse from 1 Thessalonians 2. There are 20 verses in this chapter, so that would be roughly 1 out of 3 verses.

Weeks 3-5 – Continue this practice for each of the 5 chapters. Five weeks – five chapters.
Here is what I want you to think about and mediate on when you journal on the verses: What was Paul saying to the original hearers of the letter and why? First try to figure out what the verse meant to the original audience in the context of the letter. Then and only then ask the Lord to show you how it might apply to you today.

Step 4. At the end of each week, read over the chapter notes found on the 1 Thessalonian Notes page.

After you have meditated and journaled on that week’s verses, take some time to look over the verse-by-verse notes I have provided on this page for the corresponding chapter. Do this at the end of each week. You short-circuit your learning process by reading someone else’s thoughts and opinions before forming your own.

After you take the challenge, please post a comment on your experience. What worked well? What was the hardest part? Would you do it again with a different book of the Bible?

2 Responses to 35 Day Challenge

  1. Pingback: A 5-Step Approach to Devotional Bible Study « Jim Haw

  2. Pingback: 40 Days of Philippians « Jim Haw

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