This book "90 days in John 14-17, Romans, & James" is not an end in itself. It is a means of accessing the treasures of a far greater book. Its words are valuable only to the extent that they help you to enjoy the infinite value of words that are perfectly true, gloriously beautiful, and utterly wonderful—the words of the Lord.
It is a magnificent thing, in a world which is used to mistakes, to deceit, and to confusion, to be able to read flawless, pure, refined words. And that is what you do each time you open your Bible. God does not make errors in anything he says. He does not obscure the truth, by accident or by design. He does not fail to do anything he has said he will do.
That is why this devotional is an “open Bible devotional”—that is, you will need to keep your Bible open, on your lap or on your screen, as you use these studies. You’ll be asked questions that bring you to examine and think hard about the text. The aim of the authors is to cause you to spend more time thinking about God’s words than their words.
So, rather than seeing these devotionals as snacks, view them as meals. Set aside half an hour in your day to work through the study, and to respond to what you have seen. They are best done daily—but the most crucial thing is for you to find a pattern that is sustainable—better five studies a week for life, than seven studies a week for only a week!
Further, since every word of the Lord is flawless, we need to read every word in the Scriptures, rather than sticking to our favorite passages, or to an author’s favorites. So Explore by the Book works, verse by verse, through whole books or large sections of the Bible. You will be moving through both famous books and not-so-popular ones, and within each book through much-used passages and less traveled parts. Expect to discover new favorite passages and memory verses that you had never read or noticed or appreciated before!
At the same time, God’s word is not always easy to understand. Whether we are completely new to reading it, or have mined its riches many times, all of us still experience “huh?” moments as we struggle to grasp its meaning!
So in this devotional series, some of the greatest Bible teachers in the evangelical world help you to dig up the Bible’s treasures, and explain their more opaque aspects. They will show you how what you are reading fits into the great overall story of the Scriptures, and prompt you to apply what you have read to your life.
God’s word is not simply pure—it is also purifying. It is the way his Spirit works in his people to challenge and change us. It is designed to move us to worship him with our lips, in our hearts, and through our lives. Each day, you will see one (or both) of these headings: Apply, and Pray. Use these sections to turn what you have read in God’s word into words to speak back to God, and into ways you will change your life in response to God.
At the end of each study you’ll find a journaling page, for you to record your response to what you have read, either in words or in drawings. Use these pages as you are led to—we all have different ways of making sure we remember what we have seen in the Scriptures, and of responding to those Scriptures. But here are a couple of very straightforward suggestions that you might like to try:
Before you work through the study, read the passage and record…
The Highlight: the truth about God that has most struck you.
The Query: the questions you have about what you have read (and your best attempt at answering them)
The Change: the major way you feel the Spirit is prompting you to change either your attitudes, or your actions, as a result of what you have read.
After you have done the study, record:
One sentence summing up how God has spoken to you through his word.
A short prayer in response to what you have seen.
These 90 devotionals in John 14-17, Romans and James, taken from the Explore Quarterly range, are a great way to start reading the Bible. If you already spend time each day in God’s word, this book will take you deeper in to the riches of Scripture, drawing you closer to the Lord and gaining fresh appreciation for His love for us in Christ.