Beginning in January, the people of Hope will embark on a twenty-week journey through the Bible together. Why read the Bible? When we read the Bible with humble, open hearts, we aren’t just reading a book. We’re meeting with God. God speaks to us through His Word. And as God teaches us to listen to and obey His voice, His love and grace in Jesus Christ transforms us. He makes us new creatures; a different kind of human being. Human beings redeemed from sin’s power and brought into fellowship with God. We, who were sinners just like everybody else, become, in Christ, God’s people in the world; a people who, because we have received God’s mercy, are able to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called (us) out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Reading the Bible matters!
“The Bible is the world’s most important book. It has sold more copies than any other volume in history…And it has affected the culture, law, art, morality, and behavior of nearly every society on earth. But the Bible is more than just an influential book. It is the historical record of the most important story of all time: God’s interaction with humankind. Although the Bible contains many different styles of writing and introduces us to a wide variety of characters, everything in it combines to tell one main story: God created the world, humans rebelled against God, and God initiated a plan to save the world—a plan that culminated in Jesus Christ. That’s the ‘Big Story’ that makes sense of the Bible and all of life.”
The Essential 100 Challenge (E100) helps you get an overview of the Bible without getting bogged down. The plan, developed by Scripture Union USA, guides you through 50 Old Testament passages and 50 New Testament passages — The Essential 100 — so you can see the big picture of God's Word, and form a daily Bible reading habit in the process. E100 is an achievable way to have a "through the Bible" experience. It's the Bible reading plan people love to complete.
Most of the readings are about 1-2 chapters in length, just the right amount for a busy person to read in a few minutes. You can do this!
I highly recommend getting a copy of The Essential One-Hundred Bible Reading Plan Guide Book to help you in your journey. It contains helpful introductions to and devotional commentaries on the passages you’ll be reading, prayer suggestions, questions for individual reflection and group discussion, and ideas for life application. Each day’s study follows a five-step format: pray, read, reflect, apply, pray.
The book is $10 and available at store.scriptureunionresources.com (click on E100), or you can order one through the church. (Contact us at 518-279-1748 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll order you a copy.)
Most people discover that the best way to “take the challenge” is to combine personal Bible reading and reflection with group discussion. Right now, people are volunteering to host weekly E100 Bible discussion groups in their homes, in coffee shops, at church, and online. There will be a group that fits your schedule: weekdays, weeknights, or weekends. You’ll definitely get the most out of the E100 Challenge if you share it with friends!
We’ll be inviting you to find a group that works for you this month. We’ll be signing up in worship on our Connect Cards.
The last piece of Hope’s E100 Challenge is that each Sunday, a team of folks from the congregation will be working together to present Sunday worship services that help us apply what we’ve been reading about that week in our daily lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. We’re looking for creative folks who love God and love people to be part of the new worship planning team. Interested? Talk to Linda Bulson!
Pray about making time to take the E100 Challenge in the New Year with your friends at Hope!
 Whitney T. Kuniholm, The Essential 100 (Valley Forge: ScriptureUnion, 2003), p. 1