Plan Your Reading & Read Your Plan
As we are coming to the end of the year, many of us are beginning to think about goals and resolutions for 2012. There are many things we want to change in the new year. Bible reading can often be one of those goals. Often times we have a desire to read the Bible but we don’t know where to start. Other times we begin to read Scripture faithfully but by March we begin to lose our pace and endurance to finish. Life gets busy and we simply just stop reading the Bible.
We’ve all been there. Every year we tell ourselves “Next year, I’m going to read the Bible.” Unfortunately every year passes and we always seem to drop the ball. If you are not in this camp praise God, because you have found a way to faithfully stay in Scripture. Many of us struggle in maintaining a consistent time in God’s word because we need structure and accountability. We need something to help us know where to read next and we need something that tells us when and how much we need to read. We need a plan. Some might construe this as legalism and ultimately bad, but its actually the opposite. This structure and accountability is what we need so that we can faithfully read Scripture and maintain a growing and thriving relationship with God. How do we do this? The answer is simple: a Bible Reading Plan. A Bible Reading Plan allows us to plan for our spiritual growth and development. It allows us to measure what is behind us and prepare for what’s before us. Here’s a great article from John Piper on the importance of planning Bible reading: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/a-new-years-plea-plan.
There are countless Bible reading plans available to use. These plans are great tools to give you direction in where to read as well as accountability in how much and how often to read. Because so many plans exist, you have freedom to choose the one which will work best for you. Remember the point is not to check a box saying you’ve read the Bible, but rather to grow in your relationship with God. Here a just a few Bible Reading Plans I would recommend:
1. Read the Bible for Life 4+1 Plan – http://blog.georgehguthrie.com/?p=800
This plan is an awesome plan that was created in conjunction with George Guthrie’s book Read the Bible for Life. This plan is great in that it you will read through the entire Bible once and the Psalms twice in one year. With this plan you’ll also have the opportunity to read both the Old and New Testaments simultaneously. Finally, this plan includes 6 days of reading per week, giving you one day of rest or a day to catch up if you’ve fallen behind.
2. Discipleship Journal Reading Plans – http://www.navpress.com/dj/content.aspx?id=138
- The 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan.
This plan is a great plan for beginners of the Bible. The 5x5x5 plan will take you through the New Testament in one year. In this plan you read 5 minutes a day for 5 days. This allows you two days to recover and/or reflect on prior readings. This plan also provides you with 5 ways to dig deeper. These include underlining/highlighting, paraphrasing, asking/answering questions, capturing the big ideas, and personalizing the meaning.
- The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan
In this plan are four readings per day, 2 from the Old Testament and 2 from the New Testament. The other great thing about this plan is that in each month there are only 25 days of readings. Therefore you’ll have 5-6 days off where you can catch up if you’ve fallen behind or use those days to study a passage that you’ve already read.
3. Blue Letter Bible Old Testament and New Testament Together – http://www.blueletterbible.org/reader/daily/
This plan is a very simple and basic plan. Nonetheless it is a strong plan. This plan includes a reading from the Old Testament and New Testament each day. Some might like this plan better because rather than two readings from both the Old and New Testaments each day, there is only one. This might be more manageable for those who find four passages a day difficult.
4. M’Cheyne Daily Bible Reading Plan – www.gnpcb.org/assets/products/excerpts/1581348150.1.pdf
In this plan you’ll read through the New Testament and Psalms twice and the rest of the Old Testament once. Another awesome feature of this plan is that it begins with four great beginnings or births of Scripture: Genesis (beginning of the world), Ezra 1 (the rebirth of Israel after her return from Babylon), Matthew 1 (the birth of the Messiah), and Acts 1 (the birth of the Church). A great resource to use alongside of this reading plan is D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God. This is a devotional following alongside the reading plan. Carson’s devotional can be found here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/.
5. ESV Reading Plans (http://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans-devotions/) & YouVersion Reading Plans (http://www.youversion.com/reading-plans/all)
Here are two great resources for reading plans. On both of these websites are a large sampling of various reading plans. These reading plans can be emailed to you, placed on your mobile phone, or even sent to your calendar. Each one contains several different reading plans you can utilize in 2012.
Remember these are just options. Pick something and do it. Again, the point is not check off that you’ve read the Bible for the day or even the year. The point is this: at the end of 2012 you want to be able to say “because I’ve read my Bible my relationship with God is closer and stronger today than it was 365 days ago.” So plan your reading and read your plan.