Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)
The New Year is fast approaching and with the change in calendar comes the opportunity to make some New Year’s Resolutions; the chance to reset our priorities and goals. Are you making any New Year’s Resolutions this year? What kinds of New Year’s Resolutions are you making; eat less, work out more, watch less TV, spend more time in prayer, and read your Bible more? Do any of these sound familiar?
What usually happens to New Year’s Resolution? Usually by the time January 31st rolls around our resolutions are long forgotten. Does that happen to you? Most of us have been there. New Year’s Resolutions are often hastily made and easily forgotten.
If you are resolving to read your Bible in a better and more meaningful way in 2014, then I would like to offer a few suggestions to help you along your way. How many times have you resolved to read your Bible more only to find that after a few weeks you’re bogged down in Leviticus and too busy anyway to get thru it?
As New Testament Christians, we should be committed to the reading and studying of God’s Word. Our life depends on it! We must, like Jeremiah, delight in God’s Word. I want to help you make Daily Bible Reading a lifetime commitment not a rash New Year’s Resolution.
There are a lot of good ideas and methods out there to help with daily Bible reading, I’d like to offer you some things that have helped me along the way and I think could be of benefit to you as well.
1) HAVE A PLAN - Lot’s of times we fail to follow thru with our commitments because we just didn’t plan very well. The one who says, “The diet starts Monday” has not planned well as to what will happen on Monday when he walks into work and there to greet him in the break room is box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Before the day is out he has broken his diet, shrugs his shoulders and announces, “Next Monday. The diet starts next Monday.” Need to plan better.
Whether you decide to read the entire Bible in a year or just one chapter a day you need to sit down and plan your Bible Reading. There’s lots of Daily Bible Reading plans out there to choose from, I’d like to offer you two that I find helpful:
If you are planning to read the entire Bible in a year, let me suggest a 5-day reading plan instead of a 7-day one. A 5-day plan gives you a couple of days built in if you miss a day. My favorite 5-day reading plan can be found on the web at: bibleclassmaterial.com. The Bible Reading plan is free of charge. You can download it, print it, and keep it in your Bible or get it on your electronic device. It’s an easy to read plan.
The plan that I’m currently using is the Grant Horner Bible Reading Plan. The plan is a little different than your typical daily Bible reading plan. It requires that you read 10 chapters a day from 10 different sections of the Bible.
I like this plan for the busy individual because it is extremely forgiving. You don’t have to read the whole thing in one sitting to stay in context. You can, for example, read a couple of chapters in the morning when you wake up, a couple of chapters at lunch, and finish it all up before bed. Whatever works best for you.
I also like the free Bible app that goes with it; it helps keep my place in the readings. Check it all out at: ingodsimage.com/?p=13490.
If you would like a straightforward checklist for Bible Reading, I put this one together. (Click on the image to go to download page).
2) SCHEDULE YOUR BIBLE READING TIME – Another problem in keeping our Bible Reading commitment is that we try to “fit it in” to our already over packed schedule. It won’t happen if you don’t purposefully schedule the time.
The same schedule doesn’t work for everybody; therefore you will need to figure out what’s best for you. Will it be early in the morning, before bed, or maybe four 15 minute sessions a day? No matter how you do it, just make it a real part of your daily life.
3) MAKE IT A TEAM EFFORT – It’s very hard to follow thru with our commitments when nobody else knows about them and they can’t help cheer us on. Better yet, when multiple people are striving together for the same goal, we can be lifted up by that. A team effort is much better than going at it alone. Why not make Bible reading a team effort? Whether that’s 2 friends deciding together, or a Bible reading group that meets once a week for encouragement and accountability. Or better yet when the family decides to turn off the TV for an hour and read the Bible together. Whatever you choose to do, if you want to be successful, make it a group effort.
4) THE “PEW” GUIDE TO READING – We need to read our Bible’s for more than just reading.
Bible reading isn’t just about reading to get the facts. The Bible is more than just a history book and more than a fascinating non-fiction novel. The Bible contains the road map to Heaven, shows us the best way to live life and to be found well pleasing to God and how we get along with our neighbor. Let me suggest the “PEW” reading guide to help as along with that.
PRAISE – As we read our Bible’s, we need to be looking for areas to praise God in. God is deserving of our praise. He created us, He sustains us, and He sent His son to die for us. It would be hard to read the Bible each day and NOT find something to praise God.
ENCOURAGEMENT – The Bible is filled with encouragement as we live here on earth and struggle with sin and temptation, persecution and trials. It’s good to read our Bibles and see God’s children struggle with the same things we struggle with and to watch them overcome with the help of God’s tender loving kindness. That’s encouraging to us!
WARNED – Finally, I need to read my Bible and be warned of Satan’s pitfalls and what can happen if I do give in the world and its wickedness. I need to see God’s admonitions and when I find reproof and correction in the pages of scripture; I need to change my life accordingly.
“PEW” – It’s a good day to read scripture. In the New Year, will you read the Bible with a readiness and willingness to make the Word of God real in your life?
The Gospel Power – December 2013