If you look at this kaleidoscope of colors and think, Ooh! Child’s play. I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes I giggle at God’s sense of humor.
In Mark 10:15, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Every time I use thick crayons and periwinkle pens and pencils to study Scripture, I imagine the joy of Jesus.
For me, these colors reawaken the thrill of studying the Bible.
These playful instruments are powerful tools that I’ve been using to mine the opening chapter of the Gospel of John.
Coloring the Scripture is the method I’m using during Lent to create more white space for God.
Today marks the start of first day of Lent, my favorite season in the church calendar. As a child, I couldn’t sleep for anticipation of Christmas morning.
As an adult, I stare at the ceiling wide-eyed in anticipation of Lent morning.
This is a season set apart to prepare our hearts and minds for the resurrection of Christ at Easter.
You’re invited to join me and some incredible friends to read through the Gospel of John over the next 40 days.
That requires reading less than a chapter of the Bible each day.
To download the FREE reading guide, click here.
We have a little over one box Beloved: 40 Days in the Gospel of John remaining. When they are sold out, you will no longer find them in our store.
The book includes:
- A Welcome Letter
- The Reading Plan
- Instructions on How to Use the Color Method
- Suggestions on How to Get the Most from Your Study Time
- Space to take notes and doodle and color around each day’s reading
- All 40 days of Bible readings in various translations
Or you may prefer to download Beloved: 40 Days in the Gospel of John eBook/PDF Download for instant delivery.
Friends including Catalyst Conference, YouVersion, and more are joining us this year. Last year, we had more than 75,000 people join in the Lent reading—we’d love for you to be part of this precious community this year.
Will you let us know that you’re onboard by posting about what you’re discovering as you read on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog? Invite a friend or coworker to join you.
As questions come along, please leave them as comments on each week’s blog posts. Throughout Lent, our friend and New Testament Bible scholar, Craig Blomberg will be providing insightful answers.
But back to the issue of the kaleidoscope of color.
Let me be clear: You do not need to go all cray cray crayon to do the Lent Bible reading plan.
I use the Color Method to dig deep into Scripture as a spiritual discipline that helps me know Christ more.
I’m always hesitant showing you my Bible doodles and reading because:
1. I draw like a four-year- old.
2. I know some scholars would scoff at this approach.
3. My observations are raw and unrefined.
4. I don’t want you to think I don’t take Lent seriously.
My color key and approach will shift and modify, but here’s the initial plan.
Verbs are circled in red. Highlighting the activity of people and God.
Names are underlined in brown. Additional mentions receive an extra underline.
Timing is circled in blue. Noting when, then, and after exposes God’s blueprint.
Numbers are circled in orange. Numerals often have Biblical significance.
The Holy Spirit, angels, the prophetic are marked in light blue. A steady presence.
Observations are in a favorite color. Comments, insights, humorous notes.
Doodles appear in a variety of colors. Doodling allows the soul to reflect.
I miss circles and underlines of verbs and places and mentions of the Holy Spirit on every page. This isn’t about perfect markings.
The goal is interacting with the text in a tactile way that uncovers patterns and placement and primes our hearts to hear from God through familiar passages in fresh ways.
An observation recorded in chicken scratch from John 1:1-18:
What if John said no?
That question rings deep.
John the Baptist is introduced as a man “sent from God”.
The meaning of John: God is gracious.
As an expression of divine graciousness, God sends John as a witness to bear witness.
Maybe I’m just being ornery, but what if John said no?
Perhaps I stumble into this wonderment because deep down inside I ask: What if I said no? What if you said no?
Because this is a question we face every day.
Jesus sends John. Jesus sends us.
We are the ones meant to bear witness, to shine bright, to use our actions and words and gifts and fibers of our being to…
Proclaim the grand news.
Proclaim freedom to the tied-up.
Open blind eyes.
Set prisoners free.
Proclaim God’s favor.
In thought and word and deed, we, too, are called by God to be fiery displays of His fierce love.
We may not stand in the river’s currents donning scratchy clothing and surviving on wild honey, but God sends us, too.
What do I most need to read, but least want to hear?
That today is a decision day. Tomorrow will be too. We live in the valley of decision.
I am sent. You are sent. We are sent.
We can say no. But what if we say yes?
Yes! to the Holy Spirit moving through us.
Yes! to Jesus leading us every step of the way.
Yes! to knowing God as the Beloved and discovering ourselves as His beloved.
This is the decision we must make.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. The Gospel of John is known as the “Gospel of Decision.”
Throughout the upcoming 40 days of reading, we will be presented with many choices.
Life or death.
Light or darkness.
Hope or despair.
Bread or stones.
Faith or unbelief.
Now let me ask you: What did you least want to read but most need to hear in today’s reading?
(If you have any questions post them below. We’ll be collecting and gathering responses for insight from New Testament scholar, Craig Blomberg in the upcoming weeks).
Day One: John 1:1-18 Discussion Questions:
1. Make a list of the titles and words used to introduce us to Jesus Christ?
2. What do each of these titles and words reveal about the identity of Christ?
3. Which aspect of the identity of Christ are most meaningful to you right now? Why? the most meaningful to you? Why?
4. Read Genesis 1:1-2:3 alongside John 1:1-18. What parallels or themes do you recognize in both passages?
5. What do you find most challenging about today’s reading? What do you find most comforting about today’s reading?