“Revived by His Word,” Bible-reading Initiative, to Launch in April 2012
Goal is to increase Scripture involvement among members, leaders
BY MARK A. KELLNER
, News Editor
eventh-day Adventists worldwide will be urged to read one chapter of the Bible every day between April 17, 2012 and the July 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, evangelist Mark Finley told delegates to the world church's 2011 Annual Council meetings in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Called "Revived by His Word," the church-wide initiative will feature daily readings available via print calendars, through the movement’s "Revival and Reformation" website, as well as on downloads to mobile devices.
"As we open the Word of God, there's that breath of life that lifts us into the spirit of revival," he added.
The push for more Bible reading is part of an effort, begun in 2010, to promote “Revival and Reformation” among Seventh-day Adventist Church members. Many members pray twice daily, at 7 a.m. and at 7 p.m., that God will have His way with the church, and that an infilling of the Holy Spirit will prompt renewal in the Adventist community.
BIBLE READING URGED: Seventh-day Adventists worldwide will be urged to read one chapter of the Bible every day between April 17, 2012 and the July 2015 General Conference Session in San Antonio, Texas, evangelist Mark Finley told delegates to the world church's 2011 Annual Council meetings in Silver Spring, Maryland. [File photo by Ansel Oliver/ANN]
Towards that end, Finley explained, study of the Word of God is essential: "Starting with the book of Acts, the Bible is central to revival," he said, citing Acts 4:31.
"Revival is not some silly sentimental thing where we have a warm, fuzzy feeling in our hearts. As we read the Bible, our hearts and minds are transformed," he said.
Finley, who is also an editor-at-large for Adventist Review
and Adventist World
, the two major journals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, quoted Ellen G. White, a pioneering co-founder of the movement, on the transforming power of the Bible in the lives of God's people. In Education
, page 126, she wrote: "The creative energy that called the worlds into existence is in the word of God. This word imparts power; it begets life. Every command is a promise; accepted by the will, received into the soul, it brings with it the life of the Infinite One. It transforms the nature and re-creates the soul in the image of God."
Delegates then reviewed a four-page document outlining the plan as it was read aloud by Finley and two colleagues—Cindy Tutsch, associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate, and Delbert Baker, vice-president of the General Conference.
"The study of God's Word accomplishes at least four major things in relationship to revival," the Bible-reading document says. “It provides a foundation for true revival; it stimulates, fosters and sustains true revival; it counteracts false revivals; [and] it creates an understanding of and commitment to God's mission."
The statement adds, "The study of God's Word leading to a life-changing experience with Jesus is not optional in revival; it is foundational."
The statement also sets forth a focused schedule for accomplishing the desired goal: "By reading one chapter each day, and two chapters during the General Conference Session in San Antonio Texas, the Bible Study Plan will conclude by the end of the session," the statement said, noting that 1,189 chapters of the Bible would thus be covered in the 1,717 day period.
This program "provides an opportunity for us to unite together on the thing that makes us special -- the Word of God," Finley said. He then invited delegates "to make the Bible central in your life."
"Tonight, I have been revived," said Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, General Conference president, in response to Finley's challenge. "The Bible, the foundation upon which every Seventh-day Adventist must base his or her faith, is God's Word. ... Let us recommit ourselves to being people of the book, to being people who are revived by the Word of God."
He added, "God wants to pour out the latter rain. He's waiting for us to fully embrace His word through prayer and sharing. ... It's time to read the Bible like never before."
The meeting concluded with more than 500 Annual Council delegates and guests standing to affirm their support of the Bible reading initiative.