Bible Reading Plans for 2017
As you approach the beginning of 2017, do you have a Bible reading plan?
As Christians, it is of the utmost importance that we are readers of God’s Word. This is because of what the Scriptures are, and what they accomplish in the lives of God’s people. This cannot be overstated, and I have yet to meet anyone who regrets their time spent reading the Bible.
We believe the Bible is the very revelation of God and the means through which we know God. It is through God’s Word that people believe the Gospel and are transformed into the image of Christ (Rom. 10:17, Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:11-16). To neglect the Scriptures is to neglect the profound blessedness of God’s Word as described for us in Psalm 1, Psalm 19, and Psalm 119.
So adopting a Bible reading plan is spiritually wise and immensely practical.
First, they give us something to aim at. Unintentional reading leads to dangerous neglect of God’s Word. And knowing where you’re reading each day helps focus your time in the Scriptures, rather than flipping around haphazardly until something catches your eye.
Second, without a systematic approach to reading the Bible, we often gravitate toward favorite passages. We are prone to leave entire sections or books of the Bible unread. If you have not read the Bible cover to cover, commit yourself to reading all of the Scriptures.
As you consider different reading plans, let me offer you three levels of recommendation.
1. The E100 Challenge. This is not your standard, read-through-the-Bible-in-365-days plan. This selection of readings will help you understand the big picture of the Bible, and help you get into the habit of daily reading your Bible. If reading is not a strength, or if the Bible is new for you, this may be a great place to start. You can download the reading schedule, or pickup an E100 booklet for free on the Hope Desk or bookshelf in the foyer.
2. The Bible Eater. This plan will take you through the entire Bible in one year. You read 3–4 chapters a day, and have 4 days off each month. This helps with catchup should you miss a day.
3. For those of you who are voracious readers, there are many reading plans that will take you through the Bible more than once a year. If you’re into intensive reading, the Bible in 90 Days might be for you. Or check out Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s reading plan, which will take you through the Old Testament once, and the New Testament and Psalms twice. You can also find a daily devotion based on this plan and written by D.A. Carson called For The Love of God. This resource is available online, and also for purchase on our bookshelves.
If you get behind in your scheduled reading, let me encourage you: don’t quit! If it takes you a few weeks or months longer to finish reading through the Bible, and you finish in February of 2018, that’s great. You just read through the Bible in 14 months. That is commendable. Be it one year, or two years, don’t give up. The end goal is not a race to the finish, but to abide in God’s Word (John 15:7–8), so that we encounter God as He has revealed Himself in all of the Scriptures.
Let me challenge you: If you were to listen to the audio Bible in one year, it would take you about 13 minutes a day. It is more than possible for us to listen to or read through the entire Bible in under 15 minutes a day. Yet how much time do we spend on social media or Netflix? Let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s not about a lack of time, it’s about the priorities in our hearts.
Do you love God’s voice and delight in the Word of God? My prayer for us is that God would incline our hearts toward His Word and open our eyes so that we may see wondrous things in His Word (Psalm 119:18, 36). May we listen to and love the voice of our Good Shepherd (John 10:4, 16).
I invite you to join with us in reading the Bible over this coming year. Let us run to the Scriptures and read them together, for in them we find our salvation, life, and joy in the blessed unveiling of our wonderful God.
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