The gospel is the good news about what Jesus Christ has done to reconcile sinners to God. Here’s the whole story:
The one and only God, who is holy, made us in His image to know Him (Gen. 1:26-28).
But we sinned and cut ourselves off from Him (Gen. 3; Rom. 3:23).
In His great love, God sent His Son Jesus to come as king and rescue His people from their enemies—most significantly their own sin (Ps. 2; Luke 1:67-79).
Jesus established His kingdom by acting as both a mediating priest and a priestly sacrifice—He lived a perfect life and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of many (Mark 10:45; John 1:14; Heb. 7:26; Rom. 3:21-26, 5:12-21); then He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted His sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us had been exhausted (Acts 2:24, Rom. 4:25).
He now calls us to repent of our sins and trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness (Acts 17:30, John 1:12). If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God (John 3:16).
Now that’s good news.
A good way to summarize this good news is to biblically unpack the words God, Man, Christ,Response.
God. God is the creator of all things (Gen. 1:1). He is perfectly holy, worthy of all worship, and will punish sin (1 John 1:5, Rev. 4:11, Rom. 2:5-8).
Man. All people, though created good, have become sinful by nature (Gen. 1:26-28, Ps. 51:5, Rom. 3:23). From birth, all people are alienated from God, hostile to God, and subject to the wrath of God (Eph. 2:1-3).
Christ. Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God’s wrath in the place of all who would believe in Him, and rose from the grave in order to give His people eternal life (John 1:1, 1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 7:26, Rom. 3:21-26, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Cor. 15:20-22).
Response. God calls everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in Christ in order to be saved (Mark 1:15, Acts 20:21, Rom. 10:9-10).
Bible Reading Plan
Schedule a daily time and place. You must form a ritualized habit of reading the Bible. If you don’t intentionally schedule Bible reading into your life, the day’s activities will force it out of your life.
Pick a Bible. Find a good translation. We use the English Standard Bible at Highland and recommend the ESV Study Bible as a great resource for your Bible reading. It is important not to get bogged down in Study Bible Notes in your daily reading, but those notes are very helpful in extended study and when reading through hard to understand passages. In addition, it is helpful to read the introduction to each book in a good Study Bible before reading the book. Doing so gives you context and helps you understand the historical situation in which the author is writing a particular people. Having this context will be key to your understanding of what you are reading.
Read the Bible prayerfully. Pray before you read the Bible that God would give you focus and understanding. Pray while you are reading the Bible, responding to God’s voice in the Scripture with adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Pray after you read, thanking God for his word and asking for his help in applying it.
Read aloud. Sometimes reading out loud will help you stay focused and allow you to engage more of your senses as you read.
Look for Jesus and the gospel. Jesus is the point of Scripture. As you read, look for him and for gospel patterns in the text that you might know Christ more.
Keep a Journal. Consider keeping a journal where you write down insights, prayers, aspirations, or prayers in response to the section of Scripture you are reading.
Obey and share what you read. The goal is not information, but transformation. Respond to God’s word in trust and obedience. Share with others how God is speaking to you in the Scripture and how it is shaping you.
Don’t give up. We are all in different places when it comes to Bible reading. Some people are just beginning their journey and reading multiple chapters a day can be overwhelming and intimidating. Sometimes we find ourselves in seasons where the demands for our time make reading more challenging. If you miss a reading, don’t give up.