This is a post that I did last year (and now edited for this year) that I think might be one of the most important blog entries that I did. I feel that reading the Bible is SUCH an important habit. If I did not have the challenge of trying to read a particular passage, I feel like I would rarely read my Bible. This has kept me on track.
4 years ago I revitalized a college habit that I plan to continue to do every year: reading through the Bible. I cannot say enough about how this practice has changed my life. The commitment can seem large, but the result is SO worth the effort! To be honest, since I am a quick reader who happens to comprehend well, I spend about 10 minutes a day to read the selected passages. Hardly any time at all to reap such a benefit. Even as busy moms of preschoolers, we usually can manage to hold on to 10 minutes of time alone. Even if takes you twice the amount of time, 20 minutes is not that long. Since this can seem like a daunting task, I wanted to share a couple of methods that may make reading through the Bible in a year easier.
When I was in college, I subscribe to the Navigator’s Discipleship Journal. This is an outstanding magazine that I am not currently getting due to time constraints, but their Bible reading program was what I followed initially. Their plan is unique in that it assigns passages for 25 days in the month – giving you a bit of wiggle room if you are unable to get to your Bible reading a day or two. This program has you “ read four places in God’s Word every day to better grasp the unity of the Scriptures.” They have another plan that I have not personally done that is their “book-at-a-time” reading plan which “intersperses Old and New Testament books in each month’s readings, with the four gospels spread throughout the year.”
Not up for the challenge of the whole Bible? They also have a program for reading through the New Testament. This is what it says on their website about their 5x5x5 program: “5 minutes per day, 5 days per week, 5 ways to dig deeper. Takes you through one chapter each day. Read the New Testament in one year.” My ten year old tried to follow this program last year and faded out near the beginning – I am hoping he will be able to keep up this year. I am so excited that he is interested in doing this. Reading the whole Bible would be a bit daunting for him (plus there are too many adult situations in the Old Testament I do NOT want to explain to him yet .
To download any of these plans, please visit: http://www.navpress.com/dj/content.aspx?id=138
Since I do my reading while I walk on the treadmill, flipping through the Bible would be a bit challenging (and maybe dangerous). So I now use Bibles that are dated, so that I can just read my section for the day and be done.
I have gone through this particular Bible now four different times. Amazing! This year my Mom borrowed this Bible from me and loved it! In fact, my sister is going to go through it this year.The Bible is actually compiled in chronological order (as best as they can date the events), so this Bible definitely helps in understanding what happened when. So you read the psalm that David wrote about God’s protection right after the section that you read about David fleeing from Absalom his son. Definitely helps to understand the order of the Bible.
This year I felt like that God was asking me to switch up a bit. So armed with a $5 gift card and granted a 30% off coupon, I spent just under $10 to get this Bible.
This Bible goes in traditional book order, but you read a passage from the Old Testament, the New Testament, a Psalm (or part of one) and part of a Proverb. This was a new perspective for me– sometimes the stories end at a different place than I would expect, forcing me to ponder a bit more. I think I am going to use this Bible again next year. While you skip around a bit, I liked not getting bogged down in a particular book (such as Ezekiel)- nice to be able to read other sections of the Bible on the same day.
I also felt like God was challenging me to go a step further, so I am reading this book again.
The One Year Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller.
She picks one of the four passages from the daily Bible reading and writes a devotional on the importance of prayer. I have prayed some of her prayers out loud and have been glad to re-focus on reading a few of the day’s verses again. This has also caused me to stop and ponder the Scripture that I have just read even more.
I decided to let go of reading the book, Jesus Calling, this past year. I got too far behind. But I am hoping that my mom will let me borrow that or one of Sarah Young’s other devotional books this year. The books are dated and would be a great place to start reading Scriptures daily if going through the actual Bible sounds too daunting.
The devotionals are only a few paragraphs and then she includes a few Scriptures. In fact they are short enough that you can read them out loud.
Maybe you are planning on making a New Year’s resolution this year. Well, reading through the Bible annually is the New Year’s resolution that I made several years ago that I am SO glad (that by God’s grace) that I have been able to keep. (I have missed some days – I just catch up the next. Also I do my Sunday readings on Saturday since I do not walk on the treadmill that day). I cannot imagine my year without it. The resolution that will revolutionize your life!
P.S. I am not the only spiritual authority by any means – I know that MANY of you are using some other great reading plans or devotionals that help you to progress spiritually. Please share them by commenting below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org I will be glad to pass on your suggestions in another blog entry or put a blurb in the newsletter. We need each other so that we can continue to grow closer to God!