What is the most important thing you can do for spiritual growth?
Go to church? Pray? Fast? Read the Bible?
We know. After years of studying over 200,000 people, we have discovered that the single greatest discipline for Spiritual growth is Bible Engagement. Specifically, those that read the Bible four days a week or more on their own have staggeringly different life stats.
Now some will say that’s because the Bible is a buzz-kill. It tells us NOT to drink, and NOT to sleep around, and NOT to have any fun. Actually, it is the opposite. Life-change for the Bible-engaged comes not from the “No’s” but from the “Yes’s”. Yes, you are a child of God. Yes, you do have the power of God to overcome. Yes, you are forgiven. It is because of all the “Yes’s” in the Bible that lowers self-destructive thoughts 32%, loneliness 30%, and discouragement 31%.
We need biblically literate and Bible-engaged people now more than ever. The problem is, few have the bandwidth to actually process the entire Bible. Because it is a big book, it is intimidating. Because it is an old book it is confusing. So even the most devoted find themselves discouraged about the time they get to Leviticus! Pastors keep telling us to read the Bible. We want to read the Bible, but the pressures of life and the difficulties of Scripture leave few survivors by the time you get to Revelation, and most of those are just weird!
So what are we to do? Well, I had that thought years ago and the tried an experiment.
I applied the Pareto principle (80/20 principle) to the Bible.
It states that 80% of the benefit you get from anything in life is from 20% of the effort you put in. 80% of the points scored in a game are from 20% of the players. 80% of the points you get on a test are from 20% of the study. 80% of your earnings in the stock market are from 20% of your investments. What if I could tell you which 20% you needed to know. Or even better, what if I could show you the 2% of passages that cover virtually everything of theological importance in the Bible.
The end result was a book called Core 52: A Fifteen-minute Daily Guide to Build Your Bible IQ in a Year.
Here is a PDF chart of the main Scriptures for each of the five-day exercises (color coded by potential sermon series):
The Core52 book has been used by churches all over the country and has proved sticky for small groups. I never planned on Core52 being an antidote for Covid19 but it has been—not medically, of course, but spiritually it has bridged the 6’ gap of social distancing. The supplemental material at www.Core52.org provides a six-minute teaching video for each lesson (also available on YouTube and Vimeo), discussion questions for small groups, and leader’s guides.
Article Submitted to Stuff Christians Know by Mark Moore.
Mark Moore joined the staff at Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) in Peoria, Arizona in July 2012 as a teaching pastor. As of July 2015, CCV has six locations and over 23,000 in weekly attendance. Prior to joining the CCV team, Mark was a Professor at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, an Adjunct Professor at Hope International University in Fullerton, California and Haus Edelweiss, Vienna, Austria. He is also the author and co-author of many books. His PhD on the Politics of Jesus was earned through the University of Wales. His life passion is to make Jesus famous.