I have been the Director of Women’s Ministry at a large church, Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, for a decade now. Our church is dedicated to keeping the Bible central in all we do. Our Senior Pastor is a brilliant expositor of Scripture who calls us to careful study, accurate handling, and practical application as we read and teach the word of God. Our congregation has a passion for the Bible. Many of us read through the Scripture in a year together via the Daily Bible Reading (DBR) plan our church follows. In addition, one component of our women’s ministry includes a thriving and intensive weekly Women’s Bible Study of up to 800 women who spend nine months digging into one book from God’s word.

Although we are a church that values time spent in Scripture, I have still found that women have less and less time for daily Bible reading. Unfortunately, as they fail in keeping up with their DBR commitment, they become discouraged and end up dropping out of consistent Bible reading all together. They go on to follow a “hit and miss,” or “here a little, there a little” schedule that forsakes consistent Bible reading because they can’t find the time to get through the entire chunk they have set out to study. The reality in all of this is that days and weeks go by during which they neglect God’s word completely. They set good and lofty goals, and because they can’t invest the time necessary to keep up with these ambitions, they end up not reading at all. I have tried to encourage many of my Christian friends, even if they can’t get through the entire DBR in a day, to nevertheless read some each day.  If they can’t read two chapters in Exodus and one in Matthew, still make time for God’s word daily!

Along with this inconsistency, I have also found many women rush through their DBR. They want to check the box and complete the daily portion. As they hurriedly charge through the text, they often miss out on thoughtful, meditative reading.  They end up walking away from their superficial time in the word feeling like they gained nothing. To provide an alternative to this, I have frequently suggested to women who just aren’t getting through the Bible in a year, or aren’t “getting anything” out of their Bible time, to start with the gospels. Why not spend a year getting to know Jesus through his four biographies? Not all women are ready to work through all 66 books annually. I mentioned to one young woman that I would like to block the gospels into bite-sized sections, add a little commentary and application, and get it in print for others to use. I expected her to mock my small selection size, but was shocked when she exclaimed, “You mean we have to read ALL FOUR gospels in one year?!” Her reaction confirmed the need for a biblical devotional like this one.

I think this tool will provide a fantastic resource for the Christian woman or even the seeking woman to begin her journey in discovering Jesus or knowing him more intimately. I have included a bit of information to explain the text with a challenge to put truth from the portion read each day into practice. Because this tool aims to help us know Jesus better in a meditative and practical way, not every aspect of each passage will be addressed. Many wonderful truths remain untouched to keep the daily reading short and attainable. The goal of this devotional is that the woman who works her way through the book would come to know Jesus as her Lord, be willing to do whatever he asks of her, and experience the love of Christ, which surpasses all understanding. I pray each and every woman who uses this devotional will go on to read the full counsel of God’s word many times over, and I even suggest that both a DBR and this devotional be read at the same time.

Please don’t neglect reading the Bible text that prompts each daily thought! In the end, I would rather have us reading the word of God than anything I’ve written. With that said, let’s begin our year’s journey through the biographies of our Lord, and follow Jesus together.

-Stephanie Schwartz

Director of Women’s Ministry

Compass Bible Church

 

Bibliography

Bock, Darrell L. Luke: 1:1–9:50. Vol. 1. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New

Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1994.

Bock, Darrell L. Luke: 9:51–24:53. Vol. 2. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New

Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996.

Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. The Pillar New Testament Commentary.

Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark. The Pillar New Testament

Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002.

Hughes, R. Kent. Luke: That You May Know the Truth. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books,

  1. Preaching the Word.

Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to Matthew. The Pillar New Testament

Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992.

Sproul, R. C. John. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2009. St. Andrew’s

Expositional Commentary.

Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck, Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible

Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985.