The 66 in 66: A Year-Long Preaching Series
Why the Bible Matters
It didn’t used to be the case that a pastor would have to argue the importance of the Bible. Times have changed. Increasingly, the wider culture rejects the Scriptures, or at least relativizes them as a guide for basic morality. But I’m most concerned with those in the Church, and specifically those whom God has given me to oversee. The fact is: most people in the Church today know very little of God’s Holy Word. And what they do know, they struggle to articulate it. Every Christian should know what God says about Himself in the person of Christ, and what His truth is in a world that rejects it.
Therefore, I am doing something that addresses this issue.
We need to be clear—the Bible is the fully revelatory written Word of God that proclaims His plan for the salvation of His creation centered in the promise, person, and work of His Son Jesus Christ. It is inerrant and inspired by the Holy Spirit. The entire canon of Scripture (the authoritative list of the books of the Bible) each contributes in some way to the telling of this story. It is the repository of God’s truth and will, and indeed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
66 Books of the Bible in 66 Weeks
Over the course of three years, we use a reading system that employs a fair amount of the Bible in worship. We call it the Three-Year Lectionary. It is comprised of Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel readings that reflect the themes and content of God’s Word as well as the Church year. I am a fan of the Three-Year Lectionary. It serves a good purpose in the Church. However, as good as it is, it does not cover the majority of Scripture and certainly leaves out a lot of great content. Indeed, many of the books of the Bible get very little attention in worship, even over the course of three years.
So, to directly address the paucity of biblical knowledge and to reclaim some “lost texts” that never get heard, I am embarking on a year-long sermon series called The 66 in 66. This series presents all 66 books of the Bible over the course of a worship year. Using every service we have in that time (66), each book (66) will have a portion read and a sermon preached on that text. While we cannot hear every single word in worship(!), we can have each autograph of God’s inspired Word treated over the course of a year in a substantial way. We will still hear the readings from the Three-Year Lectionary read in worship. It will be the sermon that focuses on one of the 66.
But this is not all. There are limitations with respect to time and attention span. I can only say and present so much in worship. So, to support the goals of better learning all of the Bible, I will also provide a few other tools. First, each worship folder will have notes about the book for that service and its role in the canon. Secondly, I will record a Bible study for each book and post it on the website. This will allow me to take a “deeper dive” into each book and its themes.
What We Gain; How We are Blessed
So, what is the upshot of all of this? What do we stand to gain? For those of you who have read through the Bible several times, this is an opportunity to learn more, maybe even in a fresh way. We never stop learning and growing in the Word of God. Never. I learn things every day (sometimes things I had forgotten!). We should never tire of being formed and shaped by God’s Word. This gives us some broader exposure to more of it. Secondly, The 66 in 66 is meant to help the Bible neophytes. For those who are new to it, the Bible can be an intimidating book. There are many strange and mysterious passages; while its message is universal, it was written to people of a different time and place. This series gives the novice a chance at the “bigger picture”. We can together learn and grow in the saving knowledge of God’s work in Jesus Christ as laid out in the Holy Scriptures.
Much like my encouragement for you to partake in The Congregation at Prayer, this series will bless you. It will give you an opportunity to consider something new. It will present you with a more robust view of the Bible. It will reaffirm what you already know—that God speaks in many and various ways…first by the prophets of old, but now by His Son. And in these last days, God strengthens His people through His Word.