I don’t want to be a “January 3 Christian.”

Many of us at Mt. Haley are reading the Bible all the way through during this new year. We are using the so-called “Chronological Bible,” which rearranges the biblical text into the order, more or less, in which the events in the Bible occurred. This will help us draw connections among the stories of the various books of the Bible, and by the end of 2015, we will have read all 66 books in their entirety.

I intend to write a post each week to share some of my reflections as I read the scriptures with you this year. And as we get started, my first thought is simply this:

I don’t want to be a “January 3 Christian.”

The first readings of the Chronological Bible are similar to many Bible-in-a-year reading plans: we covered the first several chapters of Genesis. In the first three days of the year, we have read Genesis 1-9, which contain many well-known stories:

Creation. Adam and Eve. The fall. Cain and Abel. Noah and the flood.

And we still have 362 days to go. It’s only January 3! There is so much more to the Bible than just these first few stories.

I have heard Christians argue that we have to defend a literal six-day creation in order to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus. I have heard Christians say that without a literal apple(?) in a literal garden, everything else in scripture becomes meaningless. I have heard Christians say that modern-day weather events might be a sign of the end times, because God promised (remember) that he wouldn’t destroy the earth by a flood again – but earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and the like are apparently fair game for divine wrath.

Why do we emphasize these stories from early Genesis so much? Why do we make them the litmus test for true Christian faith? Why do we urge ourselves to be “January 3 Christians”?

If you love these early stories, keep on loving them. But please keep in mind that we have yet to read over 99% of the Bible.  What if the best is yet to come?

What if Genesis 1-9 just gets the ball rolling so we can find out what God is really up to in his relationship with humanity?

Keep reading, friends, and let’s keep up the conversation.

Pastor David

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