January is the time when many people make resolutions to read the Bible more in the coming year. I chuckled after reading a recent satirical post on Babylon Bee about a man’s Bible being excited about being read for the whole first week of January. Click here to read that post. (Side note- Babylon Bee is hilarious and also cuts through Christian culture in ways that help us think clearly about ourselves) Have you made a resolution like this?
I hope and pray that you are desiring to read the Bible. It is a daily (well, almost daily) joy of mine to soak my mind and heart in God’s Word. I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating my Bible reading and studying plan. You may remember my blog post on reading one book over and over. Toward the end of 2016 I decided on a new route for the coming year. I’d like to tell you about it, but not so that you do exactly as I do. This post is intended to help you think through what approach you would like to take in reading and studying the Bible in 2017.
For the last year, and many years before, I had used a plan where I would read 3–4 chapters in the Bible every day. If done, I would be on schedule to finish the whole Bible after one calendar year. The plan I used in 2016 even had an “off” day to reflect on what has been read recently, or, more often, to catch up on days missed. This plan is good and I heartily recommend it to you. But, I noticed something in myself. I was often reading quickly through the chapters, checking off that I had finished my reading, and then realized that I hadn’t really taken in what the chapters were discussing. This general dissatisfaction with myself led to consider a new plan.
I wanted a plan where I could read deeply, possibly one chapter at a time. Knowing that if I read one chapter at a time, it would take three years to get through the whole Bible, I also wanted a plan where I read through the whole Bible in one year. Why not do both? I decided to use the “Legacy Reading Plan” as my “through the Bible in a year” plan. This plan does not specify how many chapter one should read each day. Instead, it offers whole books to be read in the month. For example, it is suggested that one finish reading Genesis and Exodus for the month of January. Through this plan, one would finish the Bible in the entire year. So far I am liking this resource. It allows me to have a goal, yet does not offer daily boxes to check off as complete. Some days I read two chapters, and other days as many as four or five. This plan offers good flexibility.
In addition to the Legacy Plan, I have decided to also study one chapter a day in depth. I chose a book I haven’t studied much in recent years: Ezekiel. Here are the questions that I write in my journal (in Evernote) each day to help guide my study:
1) What is the central lesson?
2) What does this chapter say about Christ?
3) What are the Law implications for my life?
4) What are the Gospel implications for my life?
5) Is there anything in this chapter that I should study more in-depth in the future ?
This layout allows me to dig in to the details of that chapter without feeling like I need to get through a few other chapters as well. I find myself saying throughout the day, “I read in Ezekiel this morning…” God’s Word is delightful, challenging, and nourishing for me spiritually.
My soul has been refreshed and renewed by this two-part Bible reading and studying plan. What is your plan for reading and studying the Bible in 2017? Your plan doesn’t need to include three chapters a day. The important thing is to have a plan to get in the Word daily.