With the readings from this week, we will finish reading the New Testament. All of the readings this week are written by the Apostle John between 85 and 95 A.D. First and second John were written to Christians. Both include teaching to counter false teaching (de ja vu). Third John was written to a specific individual, Gaius. Revelation was written from a dream where Jesus revealed Himself to John and was written to reveal the full identity of Christ and to give warning and hope to believers.
Day 1: 1 John (entire book)
1 John = love!
Day 2: 2 John (entire book), 3 John (entire book)
Day 3: Revelation 1-5
The book of Revelation records a vision that John the Apostle received from Jesus. It is for the benefit of 7 churches in Asia but everything that Jesus, through John, tells those churches applies to us as well.
To Ephesus: Jesus commended them for their hard work and perseverance; rebuked them for forsaking their first love; gave them the action to remember and repent.
To Smyrna: Jesus commended them for suffering persecution and their poverty; Jesus did not rebuke them; gave them the action of do not fear and be faithful.
To Pergamum: Jesus commended them for being true to their faith; He rebuked them for compromise; He gave them the action of repentance.
To Thyatira: Jesus commended them for their love, faith and service; He rebuked them for their immorality; their action is to repent.
To Sardis: Jesus commended them for being effective; He rebuked them for being superficial; their action was to wake up and repent.
To Philadelphia: Jesus commends them for being faithful; Jesus has no rebuke for them; Jesus asks them to hold on.
To Laodicea: No commendations; Jesus rebukes them for being lukewarm; be earnest and repent is the action needed.
Day 4: Revelation 6-11
The chapters you will be reading over the next two days are confusing. Remember that this is apocalyptic literature which uses all kinds of images to get the attention of the reader and to dramatize the message in a memorable way. The message is not intended to be hidden or obscure and would have been understood by the 1st century readers. Please simply read the chapters for the overall message. If more detailed information is needed, there are entire courses on the study of Revelation.
Day 5: Revelation 12-18
Day 6: Revelation 19-22
Finally we see what God planned from the beginning coming true. In the beginning, God created a perfect garden for men and women to live and God planned for an intimate relationship with them. In the garden was a tree of life that was waiting for them to eat from. Also, there was a tree of knowledge of good and evil that they weren’t supposed to eat from. They ate from the wrong tree as they were tempted by Satan. But even in the 3rd chapter of the Bible, Genesis 3, there was foreshadowing of what was to come. One day, the offspring of Eve who would be Jesus, would crush the head of the offspring of the snake who is Satan.
We see that coming to fruition in the book of Revelation and sin and death are defeated and those who believe in the Lamb of God, Jesus, enter the final perfect garden forever, the “new heaven and new earth” as Revelation 21:1 tells us about.
Finally, God’s ultimate purpose is made true: “6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7 All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” (Revelation 21:6-7 NLT)
Day 7: You have now finished reading the New Testament and several Old Testament passages that relate. As you know from reading Paul’s letters in the New Testament, usually a letter has some words of thanksgiving and prayer for the readers at the beginning. So in that spirit, read the following as a prayer for you who have finished this short Bible reading plan:
9 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. (Colossians 1:9-10 NLT)
May you continue in your quest for Christlikeness, bearing good fruit as you go.