Be God's Light Overview

    January 07, 2024 | Be God's Light

    BEGINS JANUARY 8, 2024

    This year-long study of the Old Testament is a follow-up to the previous studies on the four Gospels (“Be with Jesus”) and the rest of the New Testament (“Be on Mission”).

    The Old Testament can be intimidating for many Christians. It is much longer (929 chapters) than the New Testament (260 chapters). Additionally, the Old Testament covers a much longer time period (2000 years plus) than the New Testament (less than 100 years). Also, it contains several kinds of literature including history, poetry and prophecy. Some of these are difficult to understand, further confounded by the fact that the prophetic books are not in the kind of sequential order that the modern reader is accustomed to.

    To address these challenges, this study contains just 235 daily readings, only about one-fourth of the Old Testament. We will cover the grand sweep of the entire Old Testament, but many chapters will be left to the reader for further study. Still, we will explore the history of the people of God from creation to the time period only a few hundred years before Jesus. As we do so, we will explore what the prophets had to say to challenge and encourage the people to turn their lives toward God. While the wisdom literature (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs) are not a part of the daily readings, they will be referenced throughout the devotions to give insight to the themes covered.

    Together, the Old Testament and New Testament are part of God’s continuous story. That is why they are both in the Bible! Along the way, we will examine how Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament, and how the two testaments fit together.

    There are several components to this year-long exploration:
    Daily Scripture Readings – Actually, they are five days a week. Consider reading each weekday to anchor your day in Scripture.
    Daily Devotions – These are written by me and correlate with the daily readings to help you think more deeply about what you are reading.
    Daily Poems – These are written by my sister-in-law, Rev. Dr. Martha FrizLanger. They will help you imagine the Old Testament through poetry.
    Weekly Studies – These studies, written by my colleague Rev. Dr. Ben Greenbaum, are great tools for small groups and classes.
    Weekly Sermons – If you cannot attend worship with us in person, you can always watch them HERE
    Weekly Podcasts – Ben and I and some special guests will spend some time each week dialoguing about that week’s readings, listen HERE. 

    As with the previous studies, throughout my devotions for the “Be God’s Light” study, I use capital letters when referring to Jesus: Son, King, Messiah, His, He, Him, etc. This sets Jesus apart from other mere humans. An exception is when talking about his relationships (e.g. “Mary’s son”). I do the same for references to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The hope is that we are all drawn to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in this study as One who is Holy, yet approachable through His kindness and salvation. All Scripture references are NIV unless otherwise noted.

    It is my prayer that you will be motivated to explore the Old Testament like you never have before, then pursue God and minister for Him to a waiting world. It is my hope that you will “Be God’s Light!”

    Enjoy the journey!

    Rev. Mark A. Ellcessor
    Senior Pastor, Fishers United Methodist Church

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