First Lutheran Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

1200 Tongass Ave 99901

Ketchikan, Alaska


We are called by Christ to Invite, Equip & Send

Winter 2018

Office Hours:
Monday - Thursday 9a-1p

8 am Prayer Meeting
9 am Bible Study
10 am Worship
11:30 am Fellowship

1/14 -only-
6:30pm Taize Worship

5:30 pm Exec Comm - 1st of the month

5:30 pm Council, 2nd wk of the month

10:30 am Pastor's 
Text Study
2 pm Pioneer Home Bible Study


6:30 am Men's Breakfast
10:30 am Men's Coffee

A Year in the Chronological Bible

Many in our congregation have taken up the challenge this year of reading through the bible in chronological order. I use the word challenge for varied and sundry reasons. First, to read through the bible in a year requires that a person read approximately three chapters a day. Every day. So it’s easy to miss a day here or there, and then it’s not uncommon for a person to feel overwhelmed and then talk oneself out of continuing. Second, the concept of reading the bible chronologically requires someone’s judgment on the right order of stories and events. For example, arguments for the book of Job fall in two main categories, one in the time of Abraham, the other in Persia possibly during the Exile. Well, as you might imagine, scholars have lined up for centuries giving their input and solidifying an argument for one or another ‘proper order’ of how these ancient stories unfolded. (Which is why a particular version of the NIV published by Tyndale was chosen.) Third, there are a lot of books in the bible that are, well, just plain old challenging to us modern consumers of entertainment. The book of Leviticus, for example, contains all sorts of nuanced ‘laws’ which few of us practice in our day and culture. How easy it is to skim this book, along with Numbers and Deuteronomy, just to get to the other side! Yet a fourth challenge has to do with the attitude we bring while reading. How easy it is to feel closer to God if not even a little ‘more’ connected than when you didn’t read the bible daily. Like any discipline, spiritual or otherwise, one’s ego can inflate such that a person begins to feel (perhaps) just a little bit ‘better’ than the rest. They, after all, are seemingly spending more time than the rest committed to ‘God’s Word.’

While these are only some of the challenges to reading the bible in chronological order within a year, I believe there are multiple benefits. For myself, I’ve appreciated the aspect of overview, in both an historical context as well as theological. I have to confess that most of the bible reading I do tends to be in short snippets (which pastors call pericopes), whether for a study, basing a sermon or for my daily devotion. Connecting the dots and seeing the stories of the bible in a larger context is quite helpful. Theologically, one can see the shaping of a people chosen by God, the Israelites. One can also catch glimpses of mankind’s resistance to God and the strong, innate desire to take matters into one’s own hand, which begins in Genesis 3. I mentioned devotions earlier, and with the right approach, one can develop a certain rhythm or routine that includes spending regular time with God. Reading might set the stage or be the primary activity, but talking to God, or writing down questions for God, or maybe even singing a hymn or camp song can further strengthen one’s relationship with God. And the more familiar with the bible stories one gets, the more one learns how God has walked with people long ago, and how the faithful chose to seek and walk with God.

I’ve no doubt I could go on sharing even more benefits (and challenges) to reading the chronological bible in a year. Regardless of the reasons, the most important thing of all is to read the bible for it is what people today have relatively easy access to with regard to knowing God and God’s plan for how life might be lived hear on earth today. Know that it’s not too late to begin. Just pick up a bible and a reading sheet (available in the office or online – or email me) and dive in. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    To God alone be the Glory!

            Pastor Keith