Bible Reading Plan
bible

Weekends: Read any passages of your choice or catch up if you’ve fallen behind 🙂

January 13: Luke 4
January 15: Matthew 10
January 16: Luke 10
January 17: Acts 1:8, Acts 2
January 18: Acts 2
 
January 20: Mark 16
January 21: Acts 10
January 22: Acts 8:9-40
January 23: Romans 1:1-17
January 24: Romans 8
 
January 27: John 4:46-54
January 28: Acts 5:12-16
January 29: Acts 14
January 30: Acts 3
January 31: Ephesians 6:10-18
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How To Soul Journal
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Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Titus 1

 

Scripture

Titus 1:8-9

Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Observation

This chapter begins with a salutation and prayer for Titus from the writer, Paul.  He then explains the reason Titus was left in Crete – to appoint elders or pastors in every town.  He first outlines what an elder should NOT be (v 6-7), then goes on to explain what an elder SHOULD be.

Understanding

Ultimately, the pastors / elders of the church are to have certain character and qualifications – as the leadership of the “flock” they are to be examples, both in word and in action.   

Life Application

I am so grateful that we have such great examples of God-serving leadership in our church.  May we honor them, pray over them, care for them and live out these same characteristics in our lives as we seek to honor Him and draw others to Him.

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

– Rei



2 Timothy 4

 

Scripture

2 Timothy 4:1

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge:

Observation – What does it say?

This passage, 2 Timothy 4:1-8, is bookended in both verses 1 and 8 with mention of the appearing of Jesus (his second coming). All of Paul’s commands to Timothy in this passage are given because Jesus is coming again:

  • preaching the word
  • enduring hardship
  • evangelizing
  • fulfilling his ministry

Then, Paul, nearing the end of his life and ministry, points to himself as an example of someone who already did it. Paul said he had…

  • fought the good fight
  • finished the race
  • kept the faith
  • and will now receive the crown of righteousness from God

Who will receive the crown besides Paul? Paul says “all who have longed for [Jesus’] appearing” (verse 8). It’s those who lived their lives thinking about and eagerly anticipating Jesus’ second coming.

Understanding – What does it mean?

The key to living a faithful life and finishing well is constant awareness of Jesus’ appearing!

If my ability to say what Paul did at the end of his life (verses 7-8) was only based on how I lived my life today, would I be able to? It’s important for us to consider that, because a life that “fought the good fight” and was able to “finish the race” and that “kept the faith” is made up of a life that DAILY chose each of those 3 things. 

Life Application

Make my daily decisions in light of Jesus’ second coming!

Daily I will be tempted to nap and be complacent rather than read my Bible or pray, to walk rather than run in this race, and to give into doubt rather than believe God at his word. But daily, I must choose rightly if I want to be able to say the same as Paul at the end of my life! I must make decisions through the filter of,

“Jesus is coming back. If he came back right now, which decision would I want him to find me making?”

God, fill us with excitement and anticipation for your second coming! May we be a church that lives and makes decisions in light of eternity. It’s only when we do, that we will be motivated to preach the word, endure hardship, share our faith and fulfill our ministry. Bless each person who reads this to be able to echo Paul’s words at the end of their own lives. Amen.

– Levi Thompson
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here


2 Timothy 3

 

Scripture

2 Timothy 3:14-17

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Observation-What does it say?

Paul is reminding and encouraging Timothy to continue living according to the Scriptures–the Scriptures that his mother Lois and grandmother Eunice taught him (2 Timothy 1:5). The Scriptures that he has learned and become convinced of. (Vs. 14)

Understanding– What does it mean?

We must not only learn the Scriptures, but also be convinced of them.

Based on freedictionary.comthe definition of convince is to cause (someone) by the use of argument or evidence to believe something or to take a course of action. So, when we become convinced of something, we not only believe it, but that causes us to take action.

Paul reminds and encourages Timothy the importance of Scripture and living his life according to God’s Word. Not just knowing the word, but living it out and taking action with it. Paul knew the discouragement Timothy faced as a Pastor, so He reminded Him to continue living a life submitted to God’s Word. Don’t just preach it, but live it.

Life Application

Become convinced of the Scriptures.

We become convinced of God’s Word in 3 ways:

  1. Study it
  2. Apply it/take action with it
  3. Get support to continue living in it through discipleship/mentoring 

We study Scripture by being in His Word daily, journaling it and memorizing it.

We apply it when the head knowledge gets to the heart and we submit to it.

We must get support and accountability to continue living in it, just like Timothy had with Paul. Making decisions through the filter of Scripture will be counter cultural/unpopular to the world and without support from Spirit filled people like our spouses, pastors, and leaders, it will be very easy to get discouraged and not continue to submit to His truths.

Dear Jesus, please help us all to be convinced of Your Word and continue living lives according to it. May it be more than head knowledge, but heart knowledge as a result of an intimate relationship with You Jesus. I also pray that we would get support especially when tempted to stray. Thank You for the awesome men and women and godly spouses that You have placed in our lives to help us continue living according to Your will and desires. I pray that Your desires would continue to become ours. Amen.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


2 Timothy 2

 

Scripture

2 Timothy 2:24-26

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Paul describes the type of temperament a Christ Follower should take on as we teach those who may oppose our faith. They must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone. They must be able to gently teach those who oppose our stance, so that they can see God’s love through it. Finally, they must be tolerant and patient with people. These are keys that Paul uses that can help defuse any volatile situation and allow Christ followers a way to dispel foolish arguments without destroying the antagonists.

Understanding-What does it mean?

What good is it to win an argument but lose those we get in touch with?

There are times we may find ourselves in situations where we are confronted by those who oppose our faith and beliefs. But this passage reminds me just how important our response to these people are. On one hand we can just rip into them with the knowledge we have on God’s Word. We can belittle them and their way of thinking. But what does that ultimately do? These people we come into contact with will probably walk away feeling dejected and maybe even resentful towards you because how you made them feel. Yeah, we may have won the argument, but we may have lost their soul to Christ.

Instead Paul reminds us the virtues we must carry as Christ Followers. We must be kind, tolerant, patient, and gently teach them the truth of God’s Word. It is our actions during this dispute that can speak volumes into their lives. Are my actions seeking to destroy my enemy and have him have hatred towards me? Or are my actions showing  my opponent mercy, grace, and help to get their lives back on track? Which one of these actions are more Christ-like?

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Let the truth of God’s Word and the transformation in my life because of it,  be enough to show others God’s love and grace.

Father God, may my life today be pleasing to You. May my actions reflect Your love and grace to those I come into contact with. May the truth of Your Word alone set the lost ones free. Give me the strength to display these characteristics Paul speaks of in this passage to help teach others about You. In Jesus name I pray these things, Amen.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
 
-Moses Gaddi


2 Timothy 1

 

Scripture

2 Timothy 1:12
“…I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day”.

Observation

In his second pastoral epistle to Timothy, Paul reminds him of his rich spiritual heritage and gifting. Paul exhorts Timothy to be bold, fearless and unashamed of the testimony of Jesus Christ and of his association with Paul. In fact, Paul encourages Timothy to preach and testify in such a way that he would share in Paul’s suffering for the same gospel. While Paul calls attention to those who have deserted him, he honors Onesiphorus who supported and refreshed Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome.

Understanding

Paul declares that the ability to endure all of the trials and afflictions that he has suffered for the sake of the gospel is because he knows on whom he has believed. This ability does not come from his merely knowing about Jesus, but proceeds from an intimate and empowering knowledge of the person of Jesus; a knowledge born of personal experience and relationship with the risen Christ.  Most of the human race knows about Jesus. They can give a fairly accurate biography of Him – his birth, life, ministry, claims of divinity; His crucifixion and “supposed” resurrection and ascension. Most can also give a yeoman’s accounting of the gospel. Yet, because this understanding is merely intellectual knowledge; known but not believed in, it does not transform and redeem. Sadly, even a Christ-follower can exist at the superficial level of head knowledge about Jesus, the Bible, doctrine, theology and the like, but fail to experience the full power of that knowledge because it has yet to find its way into the heart and it fails to flow out of fellowship and koinonia with the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus pointed out the profound need for personal relationship with Him as the source of salvation and transformation when He declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Not the religion of Christianity; not the knowledge of dogma; not the adherence to legalism; but an abiding relationship with the person of Jesus Christ (John 15:5-6) that produces the fruit of worship, surrender, submission, obedience and love.

Life Application

Nothing will quench the transforming power of the word of God more than approaching my times in it as a matter of compulsion or duty. I need to remember that I can have a year’s calendar full of completed devotions yet fail to be changed as a result if I do not engage the word with the single most desire to know my Savior with ever increasing love, intimacy, gratitude and devotion. Even my teaching at Higher Learning cannot inspire and transform others unless it first impacts and then flows from my own deeper intimacy and knowledge of the One about whom I study and teach.

Daniel 11:32
“…the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker


1 Timothy 6

 

Scripture

1 Timothy 6:11

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Observation

Paul, writing to Timothy, is making sure that it is understood that there is no Christian privilege…as Christians, they were to respect those in authority over them – regardless of whether they were believers.  In short, the way they work or serve should be a reflection of God in their lives – “serv[ing their masters] even better.” 

He goes on to explain that it is important to have godliness with contentment, to remain faithful to the call and not be distracted by the things of the world.

Understanding

In verse 11, we find direct advice and encouragement to Timothy but I think is equally attributable to Christians throughout time – to “flee from [the things of the world], and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. [To] fight the good fight of the faith.”

Like Timothy, we are called to be set apart for God…

  • To pursue righteousness – to be morally right and biblically justifiable, in a world that is fuzzy at best when it comes to morals and where the standard continues to decline
  • Godliness in a world that has raised up idols
  • Faith in a world that markets hopelessness
  • Love in a world that has become increasingly more isolated and self-centered
  • Endurance in a world that encourages short attention spans and chasing every whim and/or feeling
  • Gentleness in a world that sometimes makes it easier to remain guarded

These are the things that it takes to “fight the good fight.”

Life Application

Live life set apart…in a way that shows God in my life and in a way that draws others to relationship with Him too.

God, may I be a witness to you living inside of me…in EVERY encounter, EVERY conversation, EVERY situation, EVERY day.    

To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

– Rei



1 Timothy 5

 

Scripture

1 Timothy 5:25

In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

Observation – What does it say?

Paul continues giving practical instructions in this letter to Timothy, including how to deal with widows, elders and sin in the church. Paul says that some sins and good deeds are obvious and others not as much. But, even if no one notices the less obvious deeds now, they wont remain hidden forever.

Understanding – What does it mean?

God sees and will eventually uncover every deed.

I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

No good deed done for the Lord is a waste of time. Even if no one sees. As a matter of fact, Jesus said that the ones done in secret that we tell no one about are the ones the Father rewards. We don’t have to draw attention or boast of the good things we do  – praying, giving, fasting, etc.  Actually, when we do Jesus says we’ve received our reward in full and will get no reward from the Father.  

Life Application

Do good deeds for an audience of One, trusting that nothing I do escapes his eye.

This is incredibly difficult because praise from others feels so good. But if I have to choose between praise from God and praise from men… I’ll just say I believe God’s reward is probably much better than a pat on the back from anyone I know. Knowing that God sees and will reward me gives me peace and joy in doing good, even when no one else sees.

God, thank you that you see everything. May we live in constant awareness of your eyes upon us, knowing that every deed done in secret, whether good or bad, will eventually be uncovered. Help us to store up treasure in heaven, living in light of eternity. Amen.

– Levi Thompson

 

To check out the discussion or join in click here.



1 Timothy 4

 

Scripture

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy‬ ‭4:15-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Observation-What does it say?

Paul continues to train his apprentice and young Pastor Timothy (commentary says he was probably in his mid 30s), in matters pertaining to the church. I also observed that Paul not only addressed matters of sound doctrine and preaching, but also the way Timothy should be living in his personal life.

Understanding-What does it mean?

Our personal lives solidify what we teach. We cannot be living one way, while teaching something else.

Paul told Timothy to live his life as an example to other believers. He must practice what he preaches in “speech, in conduct, in love and in purity” and that was how he would gain respect from other believers, especially those he was called to serve. 

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.  Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” 1 Peter‬ ‭2:15-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” Ephesians‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Life Application

Respect and influence are earned through how we live our personal lives for Jesus Christ, and holds more weight than mere words with no deeds. 

As James said, “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”James‬ ‭2:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The most effective way of leading someone is by being one or two steps ahead of them. Basically, live a life that reflects what you want them to follow. No one wants to be led by a blind guide. We cannot guide someone else along the path of purity if we ourselves are living a life contrary to that. We cannot promote love, peace and restoration if we are angry or unforgiving towards a brother or sister who wronged us and continue to hold a grudge against them. We cannot walk someone through how to be joyful amidst the circumstances if we are depressed all the time. We cannot draw others to Jesus if we ourselves are not being filled with Him daily through prayer, worship and His Word.

Dear Jesus, I pray that we would all be an example to others in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity and that men and women would be drawn to You as a result. Amen.

 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Michelle Gaddi


1 Timothy 3

 

Scripture

1 Timothy 3:5

“For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”

‭‭Observation-What does it say?

Paul is writing all the characteristics a church leader should have. They should be someone whose life is above reproach. They must be faithful to their spouse, exercise self-control, live wisely, have a good reputation, enjoy having guests at their home, and they must be able to teach. They must not abuse alcohol or be violent. They must be gentle and not quarrelsome, and they must not love money. They must be able to manage their own home life well, having children who respect and obey them. (Verse 1-4)

Understanding-What does it mean?

Godly leadership begins at home.

My wife and I always say that our number one ministry is our children. We know that God has blessed us with these two girls of ours, and it is our responsibility as their parents to teach them about God and His ways. Ultimately, it is our desire to see our children grow up to not only know God, but love God, and serve Him wholeheartedly.

How can we do that? I know as the spiritual leader of the home, I need to set the tone. My life should reflect one that is honoring to God. I should be living a life according to God’s standards and not the world’s standards. I need to show my family that God is truly number one not only in my life, but in our family’s lives! My kids will have no choice but to see that their father not only “talks the talk, but he walks the walk.” Lord-willing , they see a man who not only leads at home, but also at work, and even at church. I know if I can manage this “small aspect” of my family’s spiritual well-being, I know the effects will only help me when God calls me to lead “bigger things” for the glory of His kingdom.

“Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:2-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Life Application

To be a good leader, you must first learn to be a good follower (of Christ).

So many of us are so eager to lead and fail to understand the true meaning of leadership. We just like the idea of being able to tell others what to do. But did you ever hear of the saying “too many chiefs, too little indians”? Well, that usually ends up happening when we are all too eager to step into leadership roles. It starts a bickering between parties and creates more chaos than more structure. What we need to do is follow first. Follow the example Christ has set for us. He came to serve, not be served. And when it came down to it, He gave up His own life, to save those He was leading. 

Father God, give me strength today to live a life according to Your will and Your ways. Help me to live a life filled with honor and integrity. Open up my heart and my eyes to those You want me to serve today. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
 
-To check out the discussion or to join in, click here.
 
-Moses Gaddi


1 Timothy 2

 

Scripture

1 Timothy 2:11-12
woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

Observation

In the second chapter of Paul’s first pastoral epistle to the young pastor, Timothy, Paul instructs that he encourage his flock to pray for people in general and persons in positions of authority is specific – both for the blessings of peace and quiet that they will enjoy as a result of their intercession and because it pleases God that they do so. Paul reminds Timothy that the ability to pray, give thanks and intercede is made possible solely by the salvation and mediation of Christ Jesus. After giving instructions regarding proper practice and attitude in worship, Paul gives Timothy counsel to share with regarding how women should dress; the inner source of their true beauty; and the proper roles and hierarchy between men and women concerning learning and teaching within the Church.

Understanding

Of the many verses of the Bible that have been warped and refashioned to fit into current societal and cultural standards, 1 Timothy 2:11-12 has been one of the most debated and has suffered the most re-invention. I believe that the text is plain, understandable and, because it is in agreement with the full revelation of all other biblical doctrine and scripture, it is not in need of re-definition due to changing gender roles and responsibilities. The verse and instruction is valid today because…

  • It addresses and re-affirms God’s order and hierarchy of leadership and submission between men and women established at Creation; reinforced within the marriage covenant and intended for perpetuity.
  • Paul is instructing Timothy regarding proper gender roles because his church was suffering dysfunction and disruption as a result of men and women not operating in those ordained roles.
  • It recognizes the value and honor placed upon women by Jesus and the ushering in of a new era of respect, freedom and access for women heretofore unknown in the culture.
  • It affirms the intellect, gifting and ministries of women and encourages their empowerment and operation.
  • It recognizes the wisdom, harmony and blessing that results when men and women operate in their calling and passion while accepting and embracing God ordained leadership and submission.
  • It exalts the Church as the context within which God displays His wisdom and will for all mankind
  • The wisdom of God’s word transcends changing values, mores and norms.   

Life Application

I need to be careful not to let what the world declares as true and right to cloud my understanding of God’s word. God’s word is never to be bent, fashioned and re-cast to fit current mindsets and definitions. Rather, it is God’s word to which the world is to conform and the means by which men and women are to have their minds transformed and renewed (Romans 12:1-2). While context is one of the most important considerations when understanding scripture, I need to remember that context never updates, redefines or changes the foundational truths of God’s word and character. When the plain understanding of God’s will and word contradict and challenge present understandings and liberal interpretations I need to courageously and unapologetically stand on His unchanging and eternal word.
 
To check out the discussion or to join in, click here
-Gary Parker