At the beginning of the new year, we’d like to offer a few suggestions for how to read the bible in 2013.
First, we suggest you read the article How Not to Read Your Bible in 2013. The article offers five tips with which we heartily agree. In fact several of them are key to our way of thinking as it relates to this blog.
We’d like to urge you as you read the bible, to take the time to reflect on what you’re reading. We are often tempted to make reading the bible something on our to-do list that must get checked off. We have a reading plan, or not, and once we’ve read the passage for the day, we think we’re done and we go on about the rest of our day. However, scripture itself commends the practice of meditating on scripture. This means thoughtful reflection on what you’ve read. Don’t just read it and move on. Make it part of your day.
You’re not just reading any old book. You’re reading God’s word. His message, his story, communicated to his people. Pray about what you’re reading. Ask for wisdom to understand. Share your thoughts, concerns, fears, etc. And listen to what he has to say to you in the text. Your bible reading will come alive when take it off the to-do list and begin talking with God about his Word.
We feel strongly that you will benefit from sharing what you are reading with someone else. We have seen a great increase in our growth as disciples by simply sharing with each other the conversation we are each having with God through his Word. We learn from other disciple’s perspective on God’s words.
Writing will really help you clarify your thoughts and reflections. Keep a journal, write the date, the passage you read, and just a few brief thoughts that arose from your meditation on what you’ve read. It doesn’t have to be overly involved, but it will help you get more out of it, I promise.
Lastly, have a plan. We aren’t saying you have to read the entire thing in one year, or that you even need a plan that specifies what to read every day of the year, but you should have a plan for what you’re going to read next. You can change the plan if something comes up, but as the old saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
To that end, here are a few reading plans you might want to check out:
VisualUnit: we like this one because 1) it’s pretty and 2) there is no schedule integrated so you can read at your own pace
ESV Chronological Plan: This one is nice because we don’t often read the story chronologically, that’s just not how our bible’s are organized.
Discipleship Journal Plan: I’ve used this one and enjoyed it. Just don’t get too caught up in thinking you have to stay with the schedule. You can easily turn this into a two, or even four, year plan.
Zondervan 3 Year Plan: This one looks interesting because you’re only reading one chapter a day, which allows time for reflection. Just don’t worry about the three year commitment. Just start reading and don’t worry about the calendar.
Historical Reading Plan: This plan will take you through the Old Testament in about the same order as the Jewish scriptures, and then the New Testament in the order the books were written.
Read Along With Us
There are a great number of bible reading plans available online if you just search for them, but one last option we’d like to offer is to read the bible along with us. Our commitment for 2013 is that one of us will write a blog post each day, Monday through Friday. On Saturday we’ll post free desktop downloads or write about other topics we’d like to share.
Each of us is working through a bible reading plan. As we each begin a new book, we’ll let you know a few days in advance and give an overview and a reading schedule for the book. You can then read along with us. Since neither of us will be posting every day, we won’t be posting about each day’s reading, but if you follow our reading schedule (one chapter a day, five days a week) for a given book, you should keep pace with us and our blog posts should align with your own reading.
We pray you find increased joy in Christ during 2013 as you drink the bible one cup at a time!