07 January 2015

TENS of thousands of Salvationists have started the New Year by committing to read the entire New Testament in 2015. One of several initiatives to mark The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary year, Boundless – The Whole World Reading aims to unite officers, soldiers and friends as they read one chapter of the Bible each weekday. And for anyone who missed the start, it's still quick and easy to catch up!

 
 

Printed copies of the Bible-reading plan have been distributed to all 126 countries in which there is a Salvation Army presence, while thousands of people are also taking part in the challenge online at sar.my/biblechallenge or using a mobile app (see sar.my/bibleapp). The online presence means that individuals in areas without an established Salvation Army ministry are also participating, in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

Participants have been encouraged not just to read the Scripture, but to discuss it, pray about it and share it with friends and family. The website has been busy with contributors doing just that – a selection of comments appear below. As the challenge develops it is hoped that more people will join in online and share their participation with friends, family members and colleagues.

Meanwhile, Major Phil Layton, the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland officer who devised the Bible Challenge, has words of encouragement for those who have not yet begun, pointing out that at this stage it's easy to make up for lost time: ‘The two rest days each week can be used to catch up, have a break, reread or go deeper.’ All the daily notes, additional audio/video content and discussion points will be readily accessible on the website throughout 2015.

The major continues: ‘If the discipline of reading a chapter a day has been tough, don't worry – it gets much easier as a routine develops … Get comfortable, take your time, enjoy this opportunity!’

Sample comments from the website: 

Matthew 1

‘There are so many important messages in the genealogy of Jesus. At first glance, we may see it as just a list of names, and be tempted to skip over it. But when we take the time to stop and consider it, we soon realise how rich in meaning and relevance it is.’ (Sandy, Australia Eastern)

‘What I noted this time in reading the genealogy was that it is written “the father of…”. Interesting that we more commonly say “the son/daughter of” when talking ancestry now. I guess this reminded me that God our Father comes first.’ (Barbara)

‘I'm struck by the total open vulnerability in Jesus' genealogy! Most of us might try and hide the black sheep hanging on our family tree, but Matthew highlights it!’ (Joel, USA Western)

Matthew 2

‘Jesus was a refugee, seeking asylum in Egypt. A country where many Christians today are not safe. May God provide protection for the world's displaced people. May we as a Christian Army provide relief and welcome to the strangers who come to our various lands, who flee to escape persecution.’ (Karen, Australia Southern)

‘What I do know, is that the wise men got it right. They knew the confirmation they had received from the Bible and the star was of God. They took action, went looking for Jesus, found Him, bowed before Him and worshipped Him.’ (Alison)

Matthew 3

‘Yo creo que es imposible ser perdonado si no nos arrepentimos. El arrepentimiento es un requisito. En el caso de Jesús, se bautizó para cumplir con la ley... “Así conviene que cumplamos toda justicia” Mateo 3:15.’ (Andrea, Chile)

Translation: ‘I think it's impossible to be forgiven if we do not repent. Repentance is a requirement. In the case of Jesus, he was baptised to fulfill the law ... “So to fulfill all righteousness” Matthew 3:15.’ 

‘The baptism (complete drenching) of the Holy Spirit is the essential baptism for Christ’s power to be seen and experienced in our lives. The Spirit of God descended upon Jesus right at the beginning of his ministry, in Acts 2 the Spirit was poured out over the Early Church before they began theirs. It is the Spirit who guides and empowers us. That's why William Booth wrote “send the fire today ... we need another Pentecost”.’ (Steve, UK)

Report by IHQ Communications
International Headquarters

 

Tags: 150th anniversary