Bible in a Year Reading Plan

July  2020

So the end is in sight, these are the Bible readings for our penultimate
month of ‘The Bible in a Year’ we usually don’t produce a Family News
magazine in August and so next month you may just receive a leaflet
with your readings and notes on.
Well done for getting this far, it hasn’t always been easy has it – some
chapters and even books of the Bible are definitely easier to read than
others, and while sometimes it has been a joy to read and to explore
God’s word we have to admit that sometimes it has felt like hard work.
And yet the discipline to settle down each day wherever possible and
spend quality time exploring the word of God is something that is infinitely valuable and a discipline that we should continue forward even when
the reading plan for this year is completed.
This month we are reading:
Author: Joel
Date written: 400 – 350BC (or 900BC)
Type of Book: Prophecy
Key Characters: The people of God and the locust swarm
Major Themes: God will give back what the locust has taken
The backdrop to the book of Joel is the exile (though there is an argument for a much earlier date of around 900BC), the city had been destroyed and the majority of people taken to be slave in Persia (known as
Babylon at the time of the exile). Those still in Jerusalem were making
very slow progress in rebuilding the Temple and the city walls, and this
was becoming a frustrating process. The farmers needed to recover
from the onslaught of the Babylonian military, when many farmlands had
been torched and trampled. On top of the destruction of the land and
their city comes a prophetic word of an immediate natural disaster involving locusts. In Joel 1:13-14 the writer calls the people to a day of mourning, prayer, and repentance for the disaster, and to seek God’s forgiveness.

Author: Joel
Date written: 570BC
Type of Book: Prophecy
Key Characters: Ezekiel, Gog, and the locations of Ammon, Moab,
Edom, Philistria, Tyre, Sidon and Egypt
Major Themes: God is not confined to Jerusalem; his people may worship him in Babylon, but one day the Temple and Jerusalem will be restored.
Ezekiel is one of the three major prophets found in the Bible, alongside
Isaiah and Jeremiah. He was an eccentric and dynamic prophet with creative ways of sharing his message, for example shaving off his hair (Ezekiel
5) digging a hole in the side of his house and climbing in (Ezekiel 12:5-12),
and spending 390 days lying on his left side and then forty days on his
right side (Ezekiel 4). The book explains that the destruction of Jerusalem
was divine penalty for the sins of the people and then points them back to
God’s loving mercy and a new future with a new Temple. His priestly
background means that Ezekiel often speaks about purity and holiness
and draws on temple imagery and practices; for example the image of the
winged ark of the covenant, found in the holy of holies in his chariot image
(Ezekiel 1), and his portrayal of the city’s destruction using elements of
priestly sacrifice at the altar, emphasising the sacrifice that God is making
(Ezekiel 9).
Author: Daniel
Date written: 500BC
Type of Book: History/Prophecy
Key Characters: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar and Darius
Major Themes: YHWH remembers his people even when they are captive in another land
Daniel was a teenager when he was taken into exile, where he was trained
in the service of the court under the authority of Ashpenaz. He was at
least 60 years old by the time of Cyrus’ reign, when the first group of exiles returned to Jerusalem, but he was ne who remained in Babylon, his new
home. The ancient world believed that when a group of people were defeated it showed the defeat and weakness of their god. Israel’s defeat by
Babylon communicated further that Babylon’s empire and its gods were
stronger than Israel and YHWH. The book of Daniel is a careful response
to this idea, demonstrating that YHWH was still all powerful. As Daniel
and his friends choose to stand up against the religious practices of the
Babylonian people, God shows himself as the protector and liberator of
his people.
Author: James, brother of Jesus
Date Written: AD 60
Type of Book: Letter
Key Characters: James and the twelve tribes
Major Themes: The tongue can start great fires so guard it and be patient, even in suffering
James was writing from a Jerusalem that had changed dramatically since
Jesus’ crucifixion in AD 27. The relationship between the Jewish establishment and Rome had broken down, and the situation was volatile.
There was oppression from the authorities, and this angered the revolutionary groups, but they were even more infuriated by Rome’s taxes and
the dominance of the Roman fortress that overlooked the walls of the
Temple Mount.
James was ministering in a very unstable situation. The Romans were
out to restrain these “petty Jews”, the Jews were out to banish Roman
occupation, and the Christians were trying to keep their heads down.
Some Christians were joining the revolts against the Romans an others
were trying to distance themselves in the hope that things would eventually die down. James, writing to the Christians who had become scattered
because of the situation, calls them to keep pushing through the persecution and to watch what they say to help stabilise things. James wants the
church to remain holy and to practice resurrection life and patience in the
trials to come. 

1 Peter
Author: Peter
Date Written: AD 60 – 64
Type of Book: Letter
Key Characters: Peter, Silas
Major Themes: The hard times are coming, stand firm and commit to
Peter had experienced the harsh ways of Rome in his own village, Caperneum, with taxation going through the roof. The anger over this taxation left the Galileans feeling oppressed and as if in exile; even in their
own land they felt that there was nowhere to turn. This led to them describing the Roman empire as ‘Babylon’.
Babylon became a derogatory term for the military superpower of Rome.
When at the end of Peter’s first letter he writes that the church in Babylon
greets the writer, it is impossible for him to be physically in Babylon as it
had been destroyed many years previously; it is far more likely he meant
Rome. Peter, who once lived in a small fishing village on the sea of Galilee, is now living and ministering in Rome, the centre of the evil empire
that would later destroy Jerusalem.
2 Peter
Author: Peter
Date Written: AD 64-65
Type of Book: Letter
Key Characters: Peter, false teachers
Major Themes: Peter challenging the church to be holy and pleasing to
A group of Christian travellers had been visiting the early church, teaching a different theology from that taught by Peter and Paul. This heretical
teaching held first that there would never be a second coming and that
the concept was merely a metaphor, and second that salvation could be
fully experienced in this life and that there would not be a future judgement day of eternal life. Peter’s letter was intended to voice his worries
about these false teachings that were spreading around the communities
and to counteract their authority before things got out of hand.

Bible in a Year Reading Plan for July
Date Day OT NT Psalms/Proverbs
1st 304 Obadiah 1-21 Hebrews 2:1-18 Proverbs 26:13-22
2nd 305 Joel 1:1-2:17 Hebrews 3:1-19 Psalm 119:137-144
3rd 306 Joel 2:18-3:21 Hebrews 4:1-13 Psalm 119:145-152
4th 307 Ezekiel 1:1-3:27 Hebrews 4:14-5:10 Psalm 119:153-160
5th 308 Ezekiel 4:1-6:14 Hebrews 5:11-6:12 Proverbs 26:23-27:4
6th 309 Ezekiel 7:1-9:11 Hebrews 6:13-7:10 Psalm 119:161-168
7th 310 Ezekiel 10:1-12:28 Hebrews 7:11-28 Psalm 119:169-176
8th 311 Ezekiel 13:1-15:8 Hebrews 8:1-13 Psalm 120:1-7
9th 312 Ezekiel 16:1-63 Hebrews 9:1-15 Proverbs 27:5-14
10th 313 Ezekiel 17:1-18:32 Hebrews 9:16-28 Psalm 121:1-8
11th 314 Ezekiel 19:1-20:44 Hebrews 10:1-18 Psalm 122:1-9
12th 315 Ezekiel 20:45-22:22 Hebrews 10:19-39 Psalm 123:1-4
13th 316 Ezekiel 22:23-23:49 Hebrews 11:1-16 Proverbs 27:15-22
14th 317 Ezekiel 24:1-25:17 Hebrews 11:17-40 Psalm 124:1-8
15th 318 Ezekiel 26:1-27:36 Hebrews 12:1-13 Psalm 125:1-5
16th 319 Ezekiel 28:1-29:21 Hebrews 12:14-29 Psalm 126:1-6
17th 320 Ezekiel 30:1-31:18 Hebrews 13:1-25 Proverbs 27:23-28:6
18th 321 Ezekiel 32:1-33:20 James 1:1-27 Psalm 127:1-5
19th 322 Ezekiel 33:21-35:15 James 2:1-26 Psalm 128:1-6
20th 323 Ezekiel 36:1-37:28 James 3:1-18 Psalm 129:1-8
21st 324 Ezekiel 38:1-39:29 James 4:1-17 Proverbs 28:7-17
22nd 325 Ezekiel 40:1-49 James 5:1-20 Psalm 130:1-8
23rd 326 Ezekiel 41:1-42:20 1 Peter 1:1-2:3 Psalm 131:1-3
24th 327 Ezekiel 43:1-44:31 1 Peter 2:4-25 Psalm 132:1-18
25th 328 Ezekiel 45:1-46:24 1 Peter 3:1-22 Proverbs 28:18-28
26th 329 Ezekiel 47:1-48:35 1 Peter 4:1-19 Psalm 133:1-3
27th 330 Daniel 1:1-2:23 1 Peter 5:1-14 Psalm 134:1-3
28th 331 Daniel 2:24-3:12 2 Peter 1:1-21 Psalm 135:1-12
29th 332 Daniel 3:13-4:18 2 Peter 2:1-22 Proverbs 29:1-9
30th 333 Daniel 4:19-5:16 2 Peter 3:1-18 Psalm 135:13-21
31st 334 Daniel 5:17-6:28 1 John 1:1-2:11 Psalm 136:1-12