It’s one week into the new year already! Time to talk about Bible reading plans. Too late? No! Though this post was written in December, I waited till now. I’m hoping it might serve as encouragement that seven days, seven weeks, or seven months after January 1 is not too late to begin or start again if you have gotten off track.
But first, 3 quick Poll questions about Bible reading:
Thank you for your participation! [Since posting, I’ve learned that an ad might appear on the polls. I didn’t know that could happen. I’m going to leave them up since the results are important, but I will be switching to another system if I run any other polls.]
A Fresh Start
One of life’s sweetest gifts is a fresh start. January 1 is a time when many of us unwrap the possibility of a new beginning. Be it a diet or exercise program, this time of year is often viewed as a great time to begin anew. An undertaking that comes to mind for many Christians in December is starting a Bible reading plan in the new year. While plans are not typically designed for digging in and studying the Bible, they are good for personal Bible reading time. They are not necessary, but they can offer structure. My personality loves structure. I find following a plan keeps my personal reading time more regular. They can also be used for family reading.
This past year, our son and I finished going through the Bible together. We were supposed to finish by graduation (a graduation requirement I instituted for our homeschool), but we didn’t make it on time. We finished late, but we finished! This year I’ve started with a plan that sets Acts and the epistles in chronological order. I’m considering other lists too.
Last year I shared a couple of links to lists of a variety of plans. They are a good resource, so I am sharing them again as well as a reprint of some reading suggestions. Whether you choose to follow a plan or not, I encourage you to stay in the word all year long. Cherish the time you have with it, for we are truly blessed to have access and Spirit imparted understanding.
God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and is a light for our path. (Psalm 119:105) Its importance in our lives cannot be overstated. The word of Christ is imperative to faith (Romans 10:17), and through the word of God we were born again. (1 Peter 1:23) It is our true sustenance. (Matthew 4:4) Through the Scriptures we learn how to live lives that are pleasing to God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The cutting they are capable of is surely needed. (Hebrews 4:12) In all this, it is most important that we not only read but also live what we read. (James 1:22-25)
Bible Reading Plans for 2016; Ligonier Ministries
Bible apps and software: If you use a Bible app or software program there’s a good chance that they contain plans. Oftentimes the plans are customizable.
Suggestions for following a reading plan
♦ Include prayer in your reading time. It is fitting to thank the Lord for the time you have in His word and good to ask Him for increased understanding. Prefacing your reading time with prayer can help focus and prepare your heart and mind, but it doesn’t have to always or only be before you read. I’ve found that praying after reading the Bible sometimes comes more naturally. Sometimes I’m moved to stop my reading entirely and spend the rest of the time in prayer.
♦ It’s ok to start any time of year and to start again even if you have fallen way behind. Really! :)
♦ Always reading at the same time of day helps build a routine. For me, it is first thing in the morning; but it could be anytime.
♦ It can also be helpful to read in the same place every day.
♦ Try to avoid reading just to check off the day. I have been guilty of that. I got caught up in the structure and goals and lost site of the purpose. The purpose is to learn more about God and His ways, grow in sanctification, and rejoice in God’s special revelation to us, not to just get it done. It’s better to slow down and lose a day than to read too fast or absentmindedly and lose the meaning or precious value in God’s word.
♦ If the schedule you picked is too fast or too slow, make adjustments. It’s your plan and what works for YOU works!
♦ Hang in there when you get to certain parts! Parts of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy come to mind. There are what I call nuggets of gold in there that make it personal. Look for these applicable verses and keep going! Every single word we get to read in the Bible is a blessing.
♦ Refresh your heart in the New Testament if need be. While I love the Old Testament and there is an abundance of grace in it, I have found that when I spend a long span of time in the Old Testament, I miss the unique grace of the New. The New Testament touches my heart in a different way. If you chose a plan that goes through the Old Testament before getting to the New, you might find it refreshing to take breaks from the Old every book or two and read even just a small book from the New.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
Do you find reading plans helpful? If you are using one this year, which one(s) is it? Please share below. Thank you and Happy New Year!
*LPL Simulcast Review Update* Part Two of my review of the 2015 Living Proof Live Simulcast is in the works and will hopefully be up next. Some personal matters have interfered with the work for a bit. Thank you for your patience.