I shared with those of you who attended Holston District Days this fall that II Corinthians 5:17 is one of my life verses. “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”
The Greek word Paul chose for new in this verse is kainos referencing a new creation that has not existed previously. This has greater implications than if Paul had instead used neos, meaning new in an already established category.
This biblical concept of kainos new is a pillar of Christian doctrine. Since God is about the work of making us new every day, we are transformed throughout our lives into a new creation, continuously growing in our resemblance to the one we follow, Jesus Christ. Evidence of this transformation can be found in our words, attitudes, actions and lifestyle.
One way that we open ourselves to experience kainos new is by practicing the spiritual discipline of reading Scripture. This is because we encounter God in the pages of Scripture. And each time we meet the living God, we are changed.
With that in mind, I invite you, the Holston Conference, to join me in reading through the Bible together individually and collectively in 2022. As we participate in “Read Together” in community, we open ourselves to experience God's presence and kainos on an individual basis and as a conference.
Reading the Bible together will build upon the current daily devotion that has been a Holston Conference practice in recent years. (When I first arrived in Holston and began receiving the daily devotions, I was impressed and inspired by the depth and breadth of the writings).
Persons will have the opportunity to sign up to receive the scripture reading for the day just as persons currently receive the daily devotion. In addition, instead of a devotion in 2022, a Facebook page will be dedicated to receiving insights, thoughts, and discussion about the daily readings.
While we will be reading the Bible through the year from cover-to-cover, each week persons will read from the Gospel, Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, and the Epistles. A detailed reading list will be made available upon registering for Read Together.
I have discovered first-hand how formative it is for an individual to read the Bible cover-to-cover each year. This will be multiplied many times more as we embark upon Read Together as a Holston community.
Many thanks to Associate Director of Connectional Ministries for Discipleship, Rev. Susan Groseclose, and her team for their work on this initiative. They will be publicizing the details of Read Together in the near future. In the meantime, you are invited to prayerfully consider joining me in reading through the Bible in 2022 as we continue to become kainos new in Christ as individuals and as a Holston community.
It is a joy to serve as your bishop.
Holston and North Alabama Conferences
The Reverend Dr. Debra Wallace-Padgett was elected a Bishop of the United Methodist Church at the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. At the time of her election, she was the lead pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lexington, ...