At the beginning of the a new year, many Christians will want to challenge themselves to read through the Bible. Why? Because we understand that regular intake of God’s word is critical to developing our relationship with God, and to our daily vitality as believers. Through the Bible, God speaks His truth to us by His Spirit. We come to know who God (Jesus) is more and more, and this strengthens our faith in Him, which helps us believe and act upon the truth that living for Him brings us into an abundant life full of purpose, meaning and blessing. The Bible imparts supernatural wisdom, its truths challenging and correcting us, convicting and conforming our hearts and minds to His will, teaching us to think and act in accordance with God’s ways. Yet, it is a spiritual battle to read the Word and to stay in it– our natural selves resist spiritual food, and the world’s distractions and spiritual forces of darkness also conspire to keep one from reading the Word.
But we are truly blessed these days to have so many free resources and tools we can use to help us in our goal of Bible reading. At my ReformingChristianity resources site I’ve collected many different Bible reading plans, all designed to help one read through the Bible, in part or in whole, according to some kind of schedule. Using one of these plans, you might choose to read and/or listen to the Bible everyday online; or you could download and print out a plan to guide you in your daily “offline” reading. You could have the reading plan sent to you by email. Many plans may be done via your mobile phone.
Classic reading plans (e.g., “M’cheyne“) have been used successfully by many for years to read through the entire Bible, and are typically designed to have one read from different sections of Scripture each day, a few chapters a day. There are also “partial Bible” reading plans (e.g., just New Testament, or Proverbs and Psalms). There are plans to take you through the Bible in historical order, or in just 6 months, or according to different topics. There is even a site that lets you design your own customized reading plan. You’ll find all these variations and more, at my resources site.
If you’re like me, so many choices may actually be too much of a good thing– you may get paralyzed just trying to decide which plan to use! But I would suggest you not overthink the decision; simply choose a plan that is easy and practical and suits your style. If you like to read from your print Bible, print out a plan and mark readings completed as you go. If you like to read and listen on the go, download an app like YouVersion or BibleGateway for your cell phone or tablet.
Whichever plan you choose, do try to pick a plan that will help you read all of Scripture, not just your favorite parts, for we know all Scripture is inspired. All of the Bible therefore contains something of importance God wants to communicate to us. Also, I think plans which allow one to read through entire books of the Bible may be better than those which have you reading from different parts each day, because you may be able to better grasp the thought of the book you’re reading if not distracted with reading from many other books simultaneously. On the other hand, some may find it more interesting (and therefore be better able to stick with it) if they read from different books.
If you lapse in your reading and miss a day or two (or more), don’t fret too much– simply pick up where you left off. Don’t be overly perfectionistic (as I tend to be) and feel if you’ve missed a few days you have to start all over, or that you’ve failed totally. The important thing is, we’re reading so we may connect with God through His Word on a regular basis and thus deepen in love and devotion to Him. He in turn blesses us with His fellowship, His peace, His joy and His power, as we walk with Him and obey the truths we learning.
Another factor that may be helpful for consistency is accountability– tell a friend you’re reading through the Bible and ask them to pray for you, and check up on you. Many of the web-based and mobile apps include this helpful “social” component.
What Bible reading plan do you currently use? Is it online, offline, mobile? Do you have someone helping you with it? How’s it going?
May the Lord bless all those who seek to meet with Him faithfully through reading His Word.