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52 Weeks in the Word: Trillia Newbell

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 28, 2023 5:15 am

52 Weeks in the Word: Trillia Newbell

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 28, 2023 5:15 am

Ever felt disappointed or frustrated with your inability to study the Bible consistently? Author Trillia Newbell inspires you with both the “why” and the “how.”

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Someone had such good intentions. Let's do this Bible study. That is excellent. Great intentions, but didn't think how to execute a Bible study because they've probably never been taught.

So I would say that's probably the bigger problem is that we're not teaching people to read their Bibles or how to read them. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson.

You can find us at This is Family Life Today. So one of the joys of my life. Oh, I didn't know you were going here.

What is it? Well, besides you, you are the joy of my life. No, it's your love and passion for this book. Oh, I didn't know you were going to say that. Yeah, I just realized that this Bible we have on the Family Life table here is Ann Wilson.

I didn't even see it. How did it get to be your Bible? But anyway, I mean, when we get in a car and you pull out your one-year Bible and say, I love the Word of God. Let me read it to you out loud.

I always love the read out loud part. You hate it when I do this. I don't hate it, but it's like, really? Annoying. You just love to do it. But your passion, I don't know what, 17 years in a row you've been going through the one-year Bible?

Yeah, I have. And I think the reason I feel like that is because it's only scripture that you can read it every single year. And every single year I'm like, how did I not notice this before? And it so talks to me right where I am in life. Like there's scripture where God is just speaking to my heart and it's exactly what I needed for that day and every year is different.

So I feel like he's speaking to me in different ways every single time I go through it. Well, enough about us. Who cares about us? We are here with Trillia Newbell, who really just gotten to know you a little bit over lunch. I have a sense, Trillia, that you have the same passion. I do. I do have the same passion, but I have not done it for 17 years. That's because I'm way older than you, Trillia.

Okay, that's funny. No, I long to. I long to.

But I do love to read his word, to study his word, to know God. And it's just, it's a gift. It's such a gift. So I love watching you guys and hearing your fun banter about this. But also, thank you for that example, Ann. I think that's awesome.

And may we all be like that. Yeah, I'm trying to catch up. It's not because I'm better, guys. It's because I'm needier.

I need Jesus so much. But your book, you have a devotional out, which is called 52 Weeks in the Word, a Companion for Reading Through the Bible in a Year. What made you create this and write this?

Yeah. You know, it's interesting because it's going to sound probably counterintuitive, but what made me write it is that I've written Bible studies. By the way, how many? You've written a lot. Oh, I haven't written a lot of Bible studies. I've just written a lot of other things. How many books have you written? You know, I don't know how many books, which is- This is what- You know, that's how it goes.

No, but I've written trade books and kids' books and Bible studies, and it's all a gift, but I don't know the number. But when I did write the two, I've only written two Bible studies, but as I studied and wrote them and taught them and received feedback from others who were doing it, one of the things, and it was a lament that a couple of people said was, there's so much Bible reading in it. And I was like, well, that's an interesting question. It's called a Bible study. Yeah, I was a little perplexed.

And so I thought, well, okay. And what's interesting is the Bible studies that I have written are only one chapter. So it's Romans 8 and Hebrews 11.

Those are the studies that I've done. But in order to understand Romans 8, you've got to read the Bible. You've got to read all of Romans to get it in context and to study, and you've got to do some digging. In Hebrews 11, you're pretty much reading the whole Old Testament.

Not really, but you're reading at least a couple of the first five books, at least. And so because you're digging into so much of the narratives, the scriptures, and that was their lament. And that led me to look at some studies about how people are engaging with the Word. And I don't remember what exactly the percentage is, but I believe LifeWay did a study that 75% of people have a Bible in their home, but they don't read it. Yeah, you said that, like in the first few lines of this book is, studies show that most Americans who own Bibles don't actually read them.

I think that's true. I never did. Before I was a Christian, I didn't. But then later, I'm like, I don't even know how do you do this?

I think a lot of people don't even know where to start. I don't know if everybody's like me, but I was scared of it. You know, I grew up in a home where a single mom and she took me to church, and we had this big black Bible. And we also had a picture of Jesus above the fireplace. And as I walked through the living room, I always felt like Jesus was following me with disappointing eyes, especially when I was a teenager. I mean, I was afraid to walk in that room.

It's like, I messed up again, and he's disappointed. The Bible felt the same way to me. I don't understand it. It's intimidating.

It's a bunch of rules and laws. I don't want to read it, so I was afraid of it. Obviously, I have the opposite opinion now, but I think a lot of people feel that way. A hundred percent.

And I would have felt the same way. So not fear, but daunting. Yeah, yeah. There's so much.

Right. Until I realized, oh, I'm never going to exhaust learning about the Lord. I am going to forever be a learner. And none of us have arrived.

No one will ever arrive. And once I got that, the intimidation and the fear went away. I just realized I will have to learn about the Lord and grow in understanding His Word for years and years and years.

And I still won't know until the day I see Him and my faith becomes sight. Yeah. And then it'll all make sense.

Yeah. But until then, we are. We're just learning. But we do have to start somewhere. And that's what this book, I hope, helps people do.

Start somewhere. Because when I was receiving that critique about Romans 8 and how much Bible they were having to read, I realized, oh, we need to renew or gain a muscle of just reading the Bible. That's a muscle that I think has atrophied. And I love Bible studies. I love studying the Word. But if you don't read the Word, you're not going to understand it in order to study it. That's a good point.

Yeah. And so trying to get people to build that muscle again so that we can understand all of what God has to say in His Word, and really to be able to put it together. It's all one connected story. So if we don't read it, that's why we get errors when we pull it out of context and we do this and that. Well, it's because we haven't read the Bible. And so that's the hope and goal of 52 Weeks in the Word is that it will get people in the Word so that they can know Him better. And I think for family life, I mean, this ministry, family life today, too, everything we do is grounded on God's Word.

And we want people to know God's Word. So as the end of the year approaches, this is kind of fun. You know, we all start out with these New Year's resolutions for the next year. We're going to offer your 52 Weeks in the Word free if you make a donation to family life. Yeah, it's free, but please make a donation.

But no, it's a gift from us to you because we want you to go on, we're going to go on the same journey. January 1 is coming. It's a great time to start. One year Bible, whatever.

This is a 52 every week. Trillia is going to walk you through. And as I did it, we've done it.

It's not intimidating. You've written it in such a way and you say over and over, even the introduction, if you miss a day or you miss a week, okay, just start again. Yes. Or just start where you left off.

Yeah. There's no rules. No rules. The goal is, and as a matter of fact, January 1 is the date where most people start reading. And I encourage people to start there.

But I intentionally didn't put dates on it because when you come to March and you're like, oh man, I missed a week or two. You can just start. You don't have to feel like you have to catch up. You can just start where you left off and keep reading the Word because part of the goal is Bible reading. But the real goal is knowing God. That's the real ultimate goal. And that's my real heart's desire for people is to know Him. And so when we get in the Word, we will. And He will be so faithful to us. And so that's my prayer and hope. So yes, I hope that people will give and receive this free.

That's just so great and generous and kind that you all are doing that. And I really look forward to hearing testimonies because I have heard them. I know it's kind of cool to think that so many people that listen to family life today, we could all be starting at the same place. You know, that's kind of fun.

Yeah. And you know, as I think about your life story, is your life story a story of the Word? Because I know for me, I didn't come to Christ until my junior year in college, but the man who discipled me actually is a student. He was a senior student.

He was married. But day one, Bill said to me, a man of God is a man of this book, the Word. And I remember sort of smiling like, I'm never going to be that guy.

Because the book was boring to me and daunting. And I remember him saying, I'm going to start you and teach you through the Word of God. So I, day one, realized this is what a follower of Christ does. You're a workman of the Word, 2 Timothy. I had never heard language like that. So is that your journey? Was that always from a young girl?

No, not even close. I call us holiday Christians. So we went on Christmas and Easter. Us pastors, we have names for those people.

We love you, but we know when you come. I was one of them. I was one of them. I grew up in a very loving home, a very loving home, common grace loving home, not Christian. And so when I became a Christian, I was 22.

So I was just graduated college. But a girlfriend shared the gospel with me when I was 19. It just took that long before I submitted my life to the Lord.

But when I did, oh, I did. He transformed my heart. He transformed my mind. The whole trajectory of my life changed, everything. It was pretty radical for me.

And so I'm really, yeah, I'm grateful for that. But at that moment, I realized I don't know anything. All I knew is that I needed Jesus, but I couldn't even tell you where to find Genesis.

It was his first book of the Bible. I would not have been able to tell you that. And it really dawned on me when I think I was saying something to one of my college friends at the time. And I think she was just joking around, but she was like, do you even know the gospel? And she was joking around, but it hit me. I was like, well, I mean, I gave my life to Jesus, but do I know how to articulate it?

I don't know. From that moment, I started to dig into the Word. And funny enough, I started to read big books, like systematic theology books. And I just went, well, I didn't know what I was doing.

And clearly some other people didn't know what to give me. And so I just started to read his Word and haven't stopped by the grace of God. Yeah. Well, let me ask you this. So as you sat down to create a devotional, you could have gone every single day. You went weekly. What's sort of your hope? How would people use this? Yeah.

Okay. So 52 Weeks in the Word is really about getting people in the Bible. And so there's a reading plan where you're going to read about three chapters every day. And then it's either a reflection or it's a pointing you back to something that you learned, or showing you how it connects to the gospel. So it's really not a devotional. So if you approach it and you think each fifth day or sixth day, you're going to sit down and hear some kind of teaching. I don't necessarily do that every single time. It's a little bit more of a keeping you going and guide and cheerleader.

Yeah. It's not like sometimes you think, oh, it's a devotional. I'm going to read one page. There's going to be scripture, one verse at the top and a prayer at the bottom. It's not that because you're going to go through the Bible in a year and you're giving us prompts. Exactly. But then you'll have a page of talking about this scripture. Look at that.

You just gave her a whole book. That's it. There it is. Thank you. You said it better than I did, Ann. But that is it.

That's it. And then there's a rest day. And that rest day is meant to either help you catch up, or you can read the devotional or the reflection at that time, or you can study because studying is still very much a part of my hope for us, is that we would dig deep into the Word. And the reality is, it's a lot of reading. You're reading, so it's hard to go deep, to go very deep. I did provide questions for you to think through while you're reading, so you don't read passively and you can engage your mind and heart while you're reading. But that rest day could be used for going back. Is there something that caught your eye that you want to go back and, All right, Lord, what were you saying here? Or a text that you could dig in deeper? So that is a day that could be used for that as well. Can you think of a time that you were reading scripture, and then you had the time, maybe had like a time that you thought, I need to go deeper into that, and you did.

Oh, when have I not? Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, you know, it's interesting. I love Ephesians 2, all of Ephesians. The whole book is remarkable, but that chapter is just something that has meant a lot to me. And I think it's probably because Ephesians 2, I believe it's 8 through 10, where, for by grace you've been saved through faith, and it's not your own doing, it's a gift of God so that no one may boast.

I remember the first time I read that as a believer, I'm like, What? Are you kidding me? Like, it's a gift. Because I always thought, maybe you did too, like, I need to be good enough. Yep.

I need to be good enough. Like, it's a gift. So you got stuck there.

I got stuck right there. And before the foundation of the world, he had good works planned for us. What? What does that mean?

What does that mean? And so that will always stick out to me because I had always thought, very similar to what you probably thought when you're about approaching the word or about not wanting to stand in front of the Jesus picture or whatever. I thought salvation was earned, like you had to work for it. And so to know that it's a free gift, and it's by grace, and God gives this free gift of salvation was remarkable to me because I've always earned everything.

I've had to work really hard for everything that I've done. And if you're a performance-oriented person, it doesn't even make sense. It doesn't make a bit of sense.

It doesn't make a bit of sense. And to know that Jesus, He died for our sins and that He did so willingly, I just, it blows my mind. It's remarkable and so amazing and such a gift. So when I read Ephesians 2, I thought, could this be real? And so I went into a digging into grace. What is grace? What does it mean? And I know there's all sorts of definitions, and there's different types of grace, and I've heard unmerited favor, and I've heard people explain justification as just as if you'd never sinned. So all of these things. And I believe Jerry Bridges says that when we confess, we're confessing forgiven sin. But this was all, I'm digging.

I'm like, what does it mean? And it all came from that. So yes, I've had moments, and I still have those moments, but that one just really stood out to me because I needed to understand this good news. I did not know in the early days. First of all, the Bible was relevant, practical, insightful.

I didn't know. It was just a boring dead full of contradictions. Old people read it. But as I became a father of Christ and then realized, as Bill said, this is going to be your life. You're going to become a man of this book.

And there's so many men even today that wouldn't even know where the book of Malachi is because it's just not that important to them, and it has to be. But I remember I was pretty new in my faith, and I went back to my hometown after college, and my mom said, there's this, men's Bible says you should go to it. So I started going. And it was mostly businessmen, doctors, men older than me. I forgot you did this. Yeah. And I remember, you know, like, OK, I'm in a Bible study with these grown men.

I want to be like them someday. And I was 20, 21, 22. Here's what the Bible say was every week.

You walk in. Hey, today is John 3, 10 to 21. Read it. Literally 15, 20 men. What do you think it means? What do you think it means? And it was an hour of everybody sharing their opinion about it. And there were differing opinions. Oh, yeah. It means this. No, it has to mean this. And nobody was arguing.

Nobody knew. And this is before we were in seminary, right? Is that right? Yeah, I mean, this is way before.

And we already just dating and going to get married. But I remember after a few weeks of that, I'm like, this can't, somebody must know. Right?

It can't be just, what do you think? So I think it's like, nobody knows. I did not know there were Bible tools. Yeah. There was original language. There were commentaries. I knew none of that. Obviously now, I'm like, you need to know how to handle the Word of God accurately.

It can't be your opinion. I didn't know author's original intent. Never heard those words. Or context. Yeah. So how do you navigate that word?

I'm sure you've gone on a similar journey. Oh, yeah. And now you're putting it in a 52-week thing. You don't want people just reading it and coming up with their own ideas.

You want God to meet them. Absolutely. And there's tools that can help you get to the real meaning and history of what's going on. Absolutely. So what do you say to that? Well, I say, you're exactly right.

It's so interesting because that, to me, causes some lament in that there's such a lack of discipleship in the church. Right. Someone had such good intentions. Yeah. Let's do this Bible study. Right. That is excellent. Great intentions. But didn't think how to execute a Bible study because they'd probably never been taught.

No. So I would say that's probably the bigger problem is that we're not teaching people to read their Bibles or how to read them. That's a good point. And so that's a problem. But then, yes, I didn't experience anything where I went to a small group or a Bible study and they were taking the Bible out of context.

Well, maybe, but completely opinion. I've always been taught to go to a resource or to try to figure out whether it's a Bible study tool or even using your Bible cross-referencing to learn, or there's so many study Bibles. So there are people who are gifted. They have learned these languages.

They are studying. That's not me. But you're reading what they've written about it. But I'm reading. Yes.

And there's tools now where you can even look for yourself. Okay, this is what that means in the Greek. That's what that word means. Okay, how does that make sense in the context of what I'm reading?

And we really do need help. Most of us aren't going to know that the Book of Romans was written in 63 AD or whatever. Yeah, most of us aren't going to know that. Someone had to study that to teach us that. And so I think that we have to be okay with knowing our own limitations and our lack of knowledge, and then running to and looking for resources that do. But I really do believe that often the Bible interprets the Bible. And so we can use cross-references and other tools within the Scriptures themselves to learn.

I think that's where we struggle most. Yeah, and obviously I was going to say, because you don't have the Bible in your book, It's called a companion for reading the Bible. So, I mean, why not use a study Bible when you're reading through Trillia's book? I would say, if you don't have a study Bible, get a good study Bible. What's one of your favorites?

What version? Oh, I like the ESV study Bible. But there's lots, and I can't think of one single because you asked me. I mean, we've got several. We've got an NIV study Bible. I have that as well.

We have the ESV. The NLT, the New Living Translation, is a little different in terms of a study Bible. Some people say, oh girl, you're not even now, you're not studying it if it's NLT. But I like reading that on a daily basis because it's easy for me to read. And I like that study Bible.

So sometimes I'll switch and change. I actually do that with the Bible itself. That's what I mean.

Oh, right. It's a study Bible. It's still the Bible. Yeah, I like to read. So for reading through the Word in a year, I like reading a reader's Bible. All the breaks, we put the breaks in.

Man, we put them in. So it doesn't have any of the chapter breaks or any of the titles. It's just you read through, and it helps my mind to, oh, just focus. This is really how it was written. But I would like to look up, now when I'm studying or looking up stuff, I might look up NASB, NLT, NIV, ESV, and CSB. So I will look at all of them, various translations, to make sense of what I'm reading. And so that I often do when I'm studying. But when I'm just reading, I like to use something like a reader's Bible. Me too.

Yeah, and I would just end with this. Thanksgiving just passed. It's a day of giving thanks. And I would say this, if you're thankful for what we're talking about right now, and it's impacting you and you want to share it with other people, Family Life Today, make a donation. It's a way to say thanks to God for this very thing. And you don't realize this, but you make a donation.

You're getting something. Usually it's just, you know, you give a donation, but you get 52 weeks in the Word by Trillia, and you will bless not only Family Life, but you'll bless your neighbor. Somehow, your giving helps us do what we do and puts this program in family rooms and kitchens and cars all around the world. Workout rooms.

Workout rooms. Yeah, and I hope you don't just get the resource and put it on a shelf. I hope you really get through the Word of God this year. It will literally change your family.

Because what will happen is you'll fall deeper in love with Jesus as you do that. Amen. I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with our guest today, Trillia Newbell on Family Life Today. You know, we'd love for you to partner financially with us in our ministry here at Family Life Today. It's such a partnership.

That's exactly what it is. And when you do, you get to link arms with us and be a part of what God is doing in the ministry of Family Life. Not only that, but you're also going to get something special written by our guest today, Trillia Newbell.

Here's actually what she had to say. Taste and see that the Lord is good. I'd love to invite you to read with me 52 Weeks in the Word this year, every year, all throughout the year, and just to soak into God's Word and enjoy Him. Yeah, so when you partner with us in our ministry, we're going to send you a copy of Trillia's book, 52 Weeks in the Word. And thanks to the generosity of others, every gift you give between now and the end of the year will be matched dollar for dollar up to $2.5 million.

That's right. Every gift you give will be doubled between now and the end of the year. So you can go online to and click on the donate now button at the top of the page. Or you can simply give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Or you can feel free to drop us something in the mail if you'd like to. Our address is Family Life, 100 Lakehart Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32832.

The themes of suffering, perseverance, and hope appear all over the Scriptures. And tomorrow, Trillia Newbill is going to be back with David Ann Wilson in the studio to talk about that and so much more. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-28 07:05:06 / 2023-11-28 07:16:46 / 12

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