I believe it is the responsibility of every local church to create opportunities for their members to learn from the entire Word of God. Jesus commanded it (Matt. 28:20), the apostles followed through with it (Acts 20:27), and it is the only way for Christians to continually maintain a balanced view of God while becoming mature in Him (Col. 1:28). Obviously, there is not a one-size-fits-all process to fulfilling this Great Commission because methodologies must be adapted to the culture, time and place. Thus, individual churches are not necessarily required to teach the entire Bible within their own walls, but they should be intentionally working with other churches and organizations to see this commission fulfilled.
If you keep up with my blogs at all, then you already know of my speculation that we have about fifteen years until the prophecies in the book of Revelation begin to reach their fulfillment. The key word is that I am “speculating” because, as we all know, no one knows for sure when Jesus will return. All I am doing is making an educated guess based upon various Biblical themes and current geopolitical issues occurring in our day and age. Thus, I have developed this plan to teach through the entirety of Scripture to be both implemented and completed within a fifteen-year timeframe.
Step 1: Chapters and Services
In the Bible there are 1,189 chapters with 929 in the Old Testament and 260 in the New Testament.
There are 52 weeks in a year and most churches have two different services per week [Sunday and Wednesday] which comes to 104 different messages a year. If we multiply 104 messages by fifteen years, we end up with 1,560 formal teaching opportunities. The term “formal” is intentionally used as it would be almost impossible to include the number of small groups and other more informal meetings in this calculation.
If we then subtract 1,189 chapters in Scripture from 1,560 Sundays and Wednesdays, we end up with 371 extra make-up days during the fifteen-year allotment of time. However, we must then divide the 371 extra days in half to see how many extra Sundays we have left. Thus, half of 371 leaves us with 185 extra Sunday services.
Step 2: Pauses and Breaks
Most churches have special messages [break from a series] at least five times a year due to various holidays: Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Over the course of fifteen years these five holidays add up to 75 Sunday services which leaves us with 110 remaining extra Sundays. Depending upon where the church is located, snow days may need to be taken into account. Thus, an average of four snow days per year multiplied by fifteen years is 60 Sundays which leaves us with 50 extra Sundays. Those 50 make-up Sundays could be used for topical messages, various celebration services, and so forth.
Let’s not forget that we still have 185 extra Wednesdays as well! If the church decides to take a break for the summer (which is not ideal but not uncommon) then ten Wednesdays a year multiplied by fifteen years comes to 150 Wednesday services lost, leaving 35 make-up Wednesdays remaining. If the church halts Wednesday services during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, then two Wednesdays a year multiplied by fifteen years adds up to 30 weekday services removed from the schedule. This then leaves the church with 5 extra Wednesday services.
Ultimately, I understand that every church is different. I am also fully aware that there may be unforeseen circumstances that arise, and the Holy Spirit may even direct the church to allot more time for various topics, doctrines or passages. The goal is not just to finish; the desire is to teach through the entirety of God’s Word as He leads. My aim in sharing this is to simply cast a vision for churches all over the world to endeavor to teach through the entire counsel of God in a feasible amount of time.
Again, this plan may not be for everyone. It is simply a goal that I put in place in order both to know where I want to go and to also help my fellow Christians come to a greater knowledge of the Truth. Regardless if it ends up taking less time or even a little bit longer, we will rejoice because we taught through all of Scripture. The timeframe is simply put in place to keep us accountable to the vision of teaching through the Bible one chapter at a time.