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Reading the Bible during Holy Week

March 20 2018
March 20 2018

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On Sunday, March 25, we want to encourage you to begin a 7-day Bible reading plan. The final week of our Lord's earthly ministry, leading up to His death on the cross and then to His glorious resurrection, is covered in all four gospels.

There is enormous value in sitting down to read one gospel writer at a time, discerning his thematic focus and style. But there is also a benefit in reading the same narrative in various gospel accounts. This is sometimes called harmonizing the various sources.

Theologians and Bible scholars used to write harmonizations of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These three are called the synoptic gospels because their structure shows that, generally speaking, they "see alike" the chronology of Jesus. John's gospel is clearly structured differently.

So, for instance, John Calvin organized his commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in a chronological harmonization. He dealt with John in a separate volume. Nineteenth century Baptist pastor, John Broadus, wrote a very popular harmonization, ultimately revised by scholar, A. T. Robertson. It seems to have been especially fashionable in the 20th century; along with many others, Presbyterian pastor, Loraine Boettner (the man who popularized the TULIP acronym), wrote one. Going back to the second century, Syrain church father Tatian likely wrote the first one (and his included John).

When you come to church on Sunday, don't forget to pick up a copy of the Holy Week Readings booklet. The readings come from the ESV Bible and take you from Sunday, March 25, to Easter Sunday (April 1). The timeline isn't perfect, but this is an excellent opportunity to take in this historic week relying simply on the words of the Bible.

It won't be easy; there is a lot to read. You also might have to split up some of the readings. (Warning: allow lots of time for Thursday!) However, this harmonization will surely sharpen aspects of the narrative that you had not considered before.

Won't be at church on Sunday to get the booklet? You can download a copy of the readings.



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