Reading the New Testament

Picture of Tablet, phone and hardcopy of Bible opened to New Testament title page

By Mark J Ward

In our series on Spiritual Exercise, we are looking at things we can do that will be of spiritual benefit for our souls. We are just starting, so please check back for more “workout routines” for our consideration!

In this post, we will be adding some assistance to the Read the New Testament in a Month exercise routine. The challenge is to try to read through the New Testament each month, as part of a good workout routine (for those who can and will).

I recommend reading a different translation each month, always recognizing that when we depart from “word-for-word” translations, we are getting a somewhat “diluted, or not as accurate a translation”. For example, The New Living Translation is an admitted “paraphrase” by the translation committee and publishers of that version of the Bible.

KING JAMES VERSION New Testament Audio
(public domain)

Since the King James Version is in the public domain (no copyright permissions need to be granted by the copyright holders) we will start with it this month (Nov 2020). You will find links below to audio files (read rather quickly with a few hiccups along the way). It is recommended that you follow along with a KJV (via a smart device or hardcopy Bible).

A monthly schedule is given at this link (CLICK HERE) and the audio files roughly mimic some of that schedule. I hope to get an RSS feed (if beneficial) for series files such as this for this site.

I welcome your thoughts, comments and prayers for this effort.

Reading 1 KJV Audio (Matthew 1-5)
Reading 2 KJV Audio (Matthew 6-9)
Reading 3 KJV Audio (Matthew 10-12)
Reading 4 KJV Audio (Matthew 13-15)
Reading 5 KJV Audio (Matthew 16-19)
Reading 6 KJV Audio (Matthew 20-22)
Reading 7 KJV Audio (Matthew 23-25)
Reading 8 KJV Audio (Matthew 26-28)
Reading 9 KJV Audio (Mark 1-4)
Reading10 KJV Audio (Mark 5-6)
Reading11 KJV Audio (Mark 7-9)
Reading12 KJV Audio (Mark 10-12)
Reading 13 KJV Audio (Mark 13-15)
Reading 14 KJV Audio (Mark16)
Reading 15 KJV Audio (Luke 1-2)
Reading16 KJV Audio (Luke 3-4)
Reading17 KJV Audio (Luke 5-6)
Reading18 KJV Audio (Luke 7-8)
Reading 19 KJV Audio (Luke 9-end)
Reading KJV Audio (John 1-4)
Reading KJV Audio (John 5-7)
Reading KJV Audio (John 8-10)
Reading KJV Audio (John 11-13)
Reading KJV Audio (John 14- end)
Reading KJV Audio (Acts 1- )
Reading KJV Audio (Romans 1- )
Reading KJV Audio (1 Corinthians 1- )
Reading KJV Audio (2 Corinthians 1- )
Reading KJV Audio (Galatians 1- )
Reading KJV Audio (Ephesians 1- )
Reading KJV Audio (Philippians 1- )
Reading KJV Audio (Colossians 1- )

Thanks so much for reading/listening!!! – mjw

AUDIO FILES – KJV New Testament

Spiritual Exercise…(2)

Dumbell weights in the form of a cross representative of spiritual exercise for Christ and our soul

by Mark J Ward

“for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.’ (1 Timothy 4:8 NASB)


In Matthew 4, speaking of Jesus, “2And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ ”(Matthew 4:2-4 NASB)

A daily reading Bible program schedule is a great form of spiritual exercise!

Here are just a few of the benefits we could realize from such an effort:

– reading what God wants us to know, including words by which we can be saved (Genesis 1; Jude 3; Mark 16:15,16; John 6:68; Acts 11:14; I Cor. 15:2),

– we can become closer to God if we read carefully, discern properly, and then choose to live our lives as God has revealed teaches.

– we will be putting good things into our minds in this daily activity that is beneficial and pleasing to God (as opposed to the things the devil wants us to think about throughout the day) and

– we can become stronger spiritually, as “good spiritual exercise with good spiritual food” is part of living the life God says makes us strong in Him!

(The following is an adapted “Read Through the New Testament in a Month Plan” which I found and adjusted a little bit for your consideration. Please note that this is a 30-day reading schedule, so in the month of February, you will need to read a little more than the schedule calls for in order to finish “on time” if you like.)


1. Matthew 1-9
2. Matthew 10-15 
3. Matthew 16-22 
4. Matthew 23-28 
5. Mark 1-9
6. Mark 10-16
7. Luke 1-7
8. Luke 8-11
9. Luke 12-18
10. Luke 19-24
11. John 1-7
12. John 8-13
13. John 14-22
14. Acts 1-7
15. Acts 8-14
16. Acts 15-21
17. Acts 22-28
18. Romans 1-8
19. Romans 9-16
20. 1 Corinthians 1-10
21. 1 Corinthians 11-16
22. 2 Corinthians 1-13
23. Galatians – Ephesians
24. Philippians – 2 Thessalonians 
25. 1 Timothy – Philemon
26. Hebrews
27. James – 2 Peter 
28. 1 John – 3 John 
29. Revelation 1-12 
30. Revelation 13-22

While some who have never done this before might be thinking, “I can’t do that! That’s too much!”

I gently, lovingly reply, ” “Can’t never could do anything!’ Why not try and see just how little time this takes away from other disposable time we have (myself included, in some cases) such as: daily television time, daily surfing the net for news and leisure reading time, daily video game time, daily non-religious book reading time, daily texting time, daily internet non-religious chat room time, daily sports and/or beauty magazine reading time, etc., etc.?”

We never know until we give it a try. And, whether we ever engage in a Read through the New Testament in a month in our lifetime, we still are under obligation before God to grow spiritually and be good stewards of our time always… (See 2 Peter 3:18; I Peter 4:1-11; Ephesians 5:1-17).

“Stay Well, Stay Strong in the Lord, and In the Power of His Might!” (Ephesians 6).

And, thanks for reading!

P.S. And…not to neglect spiritual instruction about physical exercise in our lives, there will be posts in the future, Lord willing, on the requirement from God for us to take care of our physical bodies (yes, even to include some physical exercise).

Spiritual Exercise…(1)

Dumbell weights in the form of a cross representative of spiritual exercise for Christ and our soul

by Mark J Ward

We are only 2 months, Lord willing, away from “New Year’s resolutions”! How many of us have made many in the past? How many have lasted more than the 21 days some experts say is necessary to form a “habit” (i.e. practice, routine, repeatable action)? WHY do we even wait until January 1 to make resolutions that are good for us???

“for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.’ (1 Timothy 4:8 NASB)

As we know, we all need exercise: physically, yes, but spiritually, YES!!!

With this short “introduction”, we will begin a series about things we can do that are beneficial spiritual exercises for our soul! Look for future posts in this series.

“Stay Well, Stay Strong in the Lord, and In the Power of His Might!” (Ephesians 6).

And, thanks for reading!!!

About this website…

1998 The Religious Instructor 2020

This website is “an individual work” in response to biblical instruction for us to carry out the great commission (Mt. 28:18-20), to teach others God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:2) and to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3). God desires that all of His children stand for and spread the gospel of Christ (which is His power to save all those who will obey) [Rom. 1:16; Eph. 6:10ff].

The initial Religious Instructor website found currently at: was started in January of 1998 as primarily a monthly web-zine, with a few other articles, links, and debates for the same purposes as stated above. It still exists and may be merged with this website more fully in the future, but at the present time, you can either link to it from this site (in the area entitled “Other Websites of Interest”, or simply use the links provided in this post (above and below) and save it in your favorites on all your digital devices.

The Religious Instructor at this site is a continuation of the former site. It will begin as a blog, with posts, articles, charts, audio files, ebooks, and links to other authors’ material. Also, there will be ebooks, pdfs of sermon outlines, articles, church bulletins, special studies, as well as other files from the past, by my late father, Dick Ward (audio of sermons and question and answer radio programs). As we had printing and publishing equipment for several years, there is a lot of printed material that I hope to be able to convert and post to this site over time (pdf).

I will also ask others to submit material (audio, articles and/or video) for the purposes of teaching what they understand God’s Word to instruct on various topics and passages of Scripture.

I solicit your prayers that God will be pleased with this effort. If I accomplish that, I know the site is what it should be. I welcome your questions, comments, constructive criticism, dialogue (including opportunities for discussion in the proper spirit on areas of disagreement). I will try my best to to teach the truth in love, pointing to Scripture to document the positions advanced, with clarity and love for the audience (Eph. 4:11-15).

My desire is to teach only God’s Truth, and in so doing help as many people as I can in this world have a better understanding of the Bible. We are especially interested in all things that pertain to the salvation of our souls. Jesus Christ came to this earth to seek and save the lost. He lived a perfect life and was offered as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus shed His blood “for the remission of sins” that washes away our sins if we obey God’s instruction on coming to Christ. (Mt. 16:21; Mt. 26:28; Jn. 3:16; Heb. 9:27,28; I Jn. 2:2; Gal. 1:4; I Tim. 2:6; 2 Tim. 2:4).

I hope to hear from many of you, Lord willing. May God continue to richly bless us with His love, patience, mercy, and grace. May we continue to grow spiritually as God has outlined in His Word (2 Peter 1:2-11; 3:18). Thanks, in advance, for taking the time to read, study, and consider the teachings put forth for your consideration at these websites.

In the love of Christ Jesus our Lord,

Mark J Ward

Note: The three links that are active at this time are: The original site (1998- ) The new site (2020) The same new site (2020)

There is also a Facebook Page for The Religious Instructor
at: @bibleteachingmjw

Are We Ready?

Have you ever been to a funeral? If not, what about visiting a gravesite? It is quite sobering to just spend some time in a cemetery and wonder about the lives of all the people, small and great, from all walks of life, who have been buried in caskets in the earth, interred in a mausoleum, or otherwise memorialized by grave markers, choice sayings, Bible verses, and dates of birth and death.

The Bible clearly teaches us, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (NASB)

Many of us are unprepared for death. A great percentage of people have no will, or have an outdated will. According to a recent Forbes article online, nearly half of those who are over 55 do not have a will, not to mention any durable power of attorney or health care directive.(1) Such is a dramatic example of both “procrastination” and a tremendous “lack of preparedness” for a very significant event!

Sadly, and more importantly due to eternal consequences, an even greater percentage of people in the world are unprepared for the final judgment by God (being in a lost state now)! As our lead passage above teaches, it is an appointment for all to die physically (the exceptions being: those who will be alive when Jesus comes on the judgment day (I Corinthians 15:51-53), and it appears Enoch, Genesis 5:24, and Elijah, 2 Kings 2:11). We are responsible for our own will preparation and estate planning, along with any power(s) of attorney and/or health care directive(s)! Not God, not our children, not our neighbors, and not even our spouse per se! The same is true about planning for where we will be in eternity. There are only two choices: heaven and hell! There is no other place we can be! The Bible teaches that “all” will be separated into two groups….the sheep and the goats of Matthew 25. The sheep go into life eternal and the goats go into the everlasting place of punishment.

If you or I have not completed properly planning for our physical departure from this life, we need to resolve and follow through with proper estate planning!

Most importantly, we need to accept the invitation of God to be His children, and properly plan where we will be in eternity immediately!

God has given us the plan, the Savior and His sacrifice, as well as ample opportunity to obey the gospel of Christ and live a life faithfully pleasing to God (according to the law age to which we are particularly amenable). He is more than fair, just and merciful, full of grace! HE desires that no one be lost eternally (2 Peter 3:9).

Our souls are too precious and the consequences of not preparing properly for our spiritual well-being are too severe not obey the gospel and live faithfully according to God’s Will that we might be saved!
Thanks for reading! Share this with a friend and be a friend in so doing.
– mjw


The Parable of the U-haul Truck

Photo of U-haul truck

By Jeff Fry

When a friend of mine (the editor only knows him too well) was moving, I assisted by loading and unloading the belongings. At one point in the move, it was necessary to turn in a rental car and I was driving behind Mark, I mean my friend who was driving the U-Haul moving truck, and saw that he was about to attempt to drive a vehicle that was 11′ 3″ through an overpass that only had a clearance marked as 10′ 6″! I began laying on the horn of the rental car and waved wildly to attempt to stop him before he had to pay for considerable damage!

Luckily, Mark stopped before crashing the truck’s top into the overpass. I got out of the vehicle I was in and walked up beside his vehicle. I noticed that the height of the truck was printed in about 2 locations (2 inside the truck and 1 placed strategically on the truck so you could read it in the rear view mirror) in LARGE, bright ORANGE letters. The clearance marking was also painted in large bold letters on the overpass. There was no mistake. You can’t drive a truck that is over 11 feet in height “under” an overpass that is only 10 feet 6 inches high! (I know Mark is from Alabama, but surely he was taught this in school down there!)

There are a few spiritual lessons from this earthly story. Let’s look at a few.


He was unaware of the danger that awaited him if he didn’t heed the warning. The bridge was too low for the truck to clear without incident. The horn sounded the alarm to help this brother who was in need of the warning. The accident had not happened …yet. There was still time NOT to crash.

Colossians 2:8
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Would ignorance of this height difference have allowed him to be saved from this impending disaster?

Acts 17:30
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,”

Ephesians 4:18
“..having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that it in them, because of the hardening of their heart;”

What is necessary to avoid the disaster?
The warning is just preventive. The disaster still lies ahead. Let’s look at a few things that might help us avoid spiritual disasters.

1) Drive by the same rules    (1′ for the truck  =  1′ for the bridge/overpass)

Matthew 15:9
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

2 Thessalonians 2:13
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:”

Philippians 3:16
“Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

Ephesians 4:1
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,”

2 Peter 1:10
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”

2) Don’t deceive ourselves

2 Peter 3:17
“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.”

Mark 13:5-6
“And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: 6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

Luke 21:8
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.”

Romans 16:18
“For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

I Corinthians 6:9
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: …”

I Timothy 4:1
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”

3) Realize that “it” DOES APPLY to “us”

Matthew 7:15
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

Mark 12:38
“And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,”

Acts 13:40
“Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;”

I Corinthians 8:9
“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”

Galatians 5:15
“But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”

4) Watch out for our brethren

Galatians 6:1
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

What are the results when warnings are sounded?

Do We Get Mad at the One “Blowing the Horn” at Us? I know a lot of so-called “Christians” that get extremely angry when being approached and warned that they might be about to engage in error (whether in their doctrine or their practice). These same people probably would be very happy if they were about to drive a rental truck into a low overpass and I laid on the horn to warn them to avoid the danger? Why is that? Can we see that we have our priorities reversed?

Accept and Correct

James 5:20
“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

or…Reject and Wreck

Matthew 15:14
“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

Hebrews 3:12
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”

[EDITOR’s NOTE: Thanks to Jeff Fry for the article! I can’t personally thank him enough for the physical and spiritual warnings! If you would like to contact Jeff, he can be reached at 2019 Homesite Drive, Dayton, OH 45414, or e-mail him at .]

The Life of Christ

by Dick Ward

This is Part 4 of a 4 part e-book series on the Life of Christ.

The lessons and a printed study book were presented to the Oak Grove church of Christ in Jennings, FL. (I will continue to look for the audio and post it later, if found. – mjw)


The Life of Christ

by Dick Ward

This is Part 2 of a 4 part e-book series on the Life of Christ.

The lessons and a printed study book were presented to the Oak Grove church of Christ in Jennings, FL. (I will continue to look for the audio and post it later, if found. – mjw)

Father knows best…

father leading family in Bible study

Back in 1949, a radio series called Father Knows Best aired on NBC Radio. Later, in 1954, the television series debuted on CBS and ran for one year and was canceled. Then after a year, the series was picked up by NBC where it remained for three seasons. After a second cancellation, in 1958, the series was picked back up by CBS where it aired until 1960! Robert Young played the starring role of Jim Anderson, an insurance agent for General Insurance, who was the father in a family living in a midwestern town of Springfield.

As you can readily see from the title, as problems arose in the daily lives of the family involving all kinds of issues of life…the family looked to “the father” in order to get wisdom and solutions for problems in time of need. Many good life lessons were taught, no one on the show was “perfect” by any means, but the clean cut show was very good for all to see in a family setting at home to demonstrate taking the “high road” in life.

In homes today, it is not always the father who knows best! We are human beings, prone to mistakes and errors in judgment. Wives/mothers have a tremendous amount of knowledge and wisdom to share with a husband/father in the home in order to come up with the best solutions they can, based on their limited knowledge and understanding. But, both men and women have the very best source! A spiritual Guide and guidebook (God and the Word of God).

In a similar, but much more important way, our Heavenly Father (God above) has given us all that we need that pertains to life and godliness! He is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (present everywhere at once). He is the very best Father that we could ever dream of in our small human minds, compared to the mind of deity! He wants the very best for all of us, gave us free will, and will hold all of us accountable in the final day as to what we did with the opportunities we had in this life. We can ask God for anything, according to His will. He hears us and is concerned for us!

If we have a problem, take it to the Lord in prayer. And, look to the perfect law of liberty that He provided with the wisdom and instruction from Almighty God so that we can know (after reading, studying, and discerning what is truth) what God would have us do throughout life’s struggles and temptations.

Yes, if we are His children, we can confidently say, “Father knows best!!!”


I Corinthians 11:1-16

– A Study of I Corinthians 11:1-16, A Series of Bible Lessons on the Various Views Held on the Coverings
(The above link is to a pdf from audio lessons taught in Pleasant Grove, AL circa 1975-76)

Topics & Speakers:

– Attitudes in the Covering Question – by Aubrey Belue
– A Verse By Verse Study of I Corinthians 11:1-16 – by Carrol R. Sutton
– A Review of the Custom Arguments – by Hiram O. Hutto
– A Review of the Spiritual Gifts Arguments – by Windell Wiser
– Is the Hair The Only Covering? – by Dick Ward
– A Review of the “Figurative” Arguments – by Aubrey Belue

(I am researching materials on reel-to-reel audio and any possible handouts of other studies from this series for conversion and placement here in the future  -mjw)
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