I have been drawn to devotionals written by Christians of earlier generations for their gravitas, often poetic beauty, and extravagant praise of our God Almighty. I have found comfort, instruction, and challenges to “walk a worthy walk.” More and more, I wished to have a devotional to read which aligned with a systematic reading of the Bible. But what reading plan to use? A chronological reading of the Bible seemed a logical choice. The more I thought on and reviewed chronological reading plans, the more excited I became. Imagine reading a Psalm directly after the incident in David’s life which prompted the writing of the Psalm. Or reading a follow up letter to one of the New Testament churches after reading about the actual visit to the church in Acts.
The strategy was set, now to find the material. Of the authors I had read, most of the devotionals came from the New Testament. What about the Old Testament? In my search, I came across the following excerpt:
“Charles Spurgeon commended Robert Hawker with these words: "Gentleman, if you want something full of marrow and fatness, cheering to your own hearts by way of comment, and likely to help you in giving your hearers rich expositions, buy Dr. Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary. … he sees Jesus, and that is a sacred gift, which is most precious whether the owner be a critic or no. There is always such a savor of the Lord Jesus Christ in Dr. Hawker that you cannot read him without profit."”
Now this I wanted to check out. The more I read Robert Hawker’s works, the more I realized that a chapter-at-a-time (generally speaking) approach to a chronological reading of the Bible with devotionals was achievable. And, what food for my soul! There were some portions that brought tears to my eyes, tears of joy.
A quick note on the number of volumes. There are 14 volumes in the series. Most volumes are designed to be read in about 90 days, generally one chapter per day. They were initially divided into fewer, but lengthier, volumes. The modest length of the current volumes seems more appropriate and flexible, while providing a sense of accomplishment along the way.