This past Sunday at church, I passed out a one-year bible reading plan to our congregation. I encouraged them to consider reading through the Bible over the next 365 days. I know it can be challenging to maintain that kind of pace, but the benefits are enormous for those who follow through on it. There are several different kinds of plans, so just pick one and do it. If you don’t have a plan, simply google, “one year bible reading plan” and find one you like. Or you can just start in Genesis and read 3-4 chapters a day, and that will allow you to read through the bible in the next 12 months.
Over the last 7 or 8 years (except for 1 year), I have used a bible reading plan. Each year I have been blessed through this simple exercise. As a pastor, I have the great privilege of spending plenty of time in the Word, but I always try to do this apart from my pastoral work, usually for morning devotions. While I still use other devotional literature (this year I am working through My Utmost For His Highest), the bulk of my devotional time is spent in Scripture, as I systematically work through it, day by day.
One new thing that I am excited about for this year is that my wife and I are doing this reading plan together. So far it has been wonderful to interact with one another concerning the particular reading. While this won’t happen every night with many of our evenings occupied with church functions, I do look forward to the nights when it does work.
I would encourage you to participate in a one-year bible-reading plan in 2012. One idea is to do this together with your family. Of course this means that you will have to give up some of your nightly TV watching (or whatever you spend your evenings doing), but I guarantee you won’t regret it. Most of the content you find on the tube is not edifying anyway.
There are many advantages to a one-year bible reading plan, but allow me to mention just one. Many Christians are familiar with the gospels and epistles in the New Testament, but aren’t so familiar with the historical books and the prophets of the Old Testament. This endeavor is a great way to be introduced to the whole of Scripture and the breadth of redemptive history. God has spoken through His Word and it is a tremendous blessing to listen and be fed by the truth of the Bible.
As you embark on this journey through the Word, I must not fail to mention the importance and prayer and relying on the Holy Spirit of God. If you approach bible reading in an academic way, then your approach is wrong-headed. The bible is unlike any other book in the world, simply because it is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). This means that we must rely on the Spirit to illumine and enlighten our hearts to the meaning of the text. By all means, do your bible study and cross-referencing, and be blessed by the depth of Scripture, but be dependent upon God to open your heart and mind to all that is there. Also pray that God would give you joy and perseverance in your reading.
May God richly bless you as you walk through the Word in 2012.