I love the beginning of a new year. Sure, for the cynical – it’s really just the sun going down and coming up on another day like it does the other 360-something times each year. Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired but I really like time markers. Beginning and ending points. I often think about my life in terms of ‘today’, ‘this week’, ‘this month’, ‘this term’ and ‘this year’ – probably because I use them to motivate me to get things done!
So with the dawn of 2016 carting 366 shiny new days in it’s backpack (woohoo – go the leap year!) one thing that will undoubtably be on many Christians’ radar is to get into the Bible more this year. That’s a great goal and it usually leads to finding some kind of Bible reading plan.
Heaps Of Options
Fortunately because we live in this great age of technology – there’s a whole lot of different ways you can easily get Bible reading plans. You can have them emailed to you, do them in a Facebook group, or just download PDF files to print off and keep with your Bible. There’s lots of Bible software for your notebook or smartphone with reading plans included with it such as Olive Tree or YouVersion.
I’m really big on getting the most of out reading the Bible and I’ve certainly found that having a reading plan over the years has really helped me get more regular with my Bible reading.
Plans I’ve Used
For a long time I did the One Year Bible plan which was great because you’d read a bit of Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs each day. It kept it fresh and meant that I didn’t get days where my entire Bible reading was ‘Arphaxad was the son of Eliab… was the son of…’. or the count of how many golden spoons and bowls the tribe of Judah brought to the offering for the tabernacle. (At some point I’ll blog about how to get some great insights out of even the most boring parts of the Bible – but that’s not for now).
These days I’m doing Prof. Grant Horner’s plan which comes with Olive Tree. You read 10 chunks out of different parts of the Bible every day. It might sound like a lot, but it actually doesn’t take long to go through them and I really enjoy the variation of reading stuff all over the Bible each day.
There’s real advantages of having a reading plan. It’s meant that I didn’t have hold my Bible aloft like the Lion King, and letting it divinely fall open to what I was going to read today (which was usually Job or Psalms… conveniently located near the middle of the Bible). It meant that I did read books and passages that I probably wouldn’t have naturally chosen instead of just reading Ephesians and Matthew over and over again! (lol).
The One Thing To Remember!
Now here’s the point of this post.
If you’re going to use a Bible reading plan this year – please remember this one thing:
A Bible reading plan is simply a tool to help you read the Bible – it’s not a spiritual test that you fail should you miss a day.
And with that I now make my confession… brace yourself…
I don’t read the Bible every day.
I wish I did. I make daily reading my continual goal – and I do read the Bible nearly every day. But the truth is that like most other people I regularly fight the common human conditions of procrastination and busy-ness and there’s always days that I don’t get to it. I’m not condoning it – I’m just being honest.
Now before you unfriend me on Facebook or cross the road when you see me coming – let me point out that in my experience there are only a very small number of extremely diligent people who actually manage to read their Bible EVERY SINGLE DAY. If you’re one of them then that’s awesome! But if you’re not – then don’t feel like you’re the only one who struggles in this area. The truth is that the vast majority of Christians find themselves in this particular boat.
How To Make Bible Plans Work For You
Many people don’t like Bible reading plans because they’ve tried them in the past and then have missed a couple of days and feel like failures.
Yet Bible reading plans have worked really well for me for one big reason: it’s because I don’t view them as a challenge to get 360+ ticks on a piece of paper. In fact (funnily enough) I don’t even think about them in terms of a whole year.
Instead I see them as a daily invitation. A starting point which has been provided for me each day which I can use to get me going reading the Word. God wants to speak to me every time I open His word. The challenge is getting me to do it and I’ve personally found that having a selection of verses ready to go should I choose helps me just get started. If I end up missing a few days in my plan I don’t fret about it or even think about it because getting 100% in the Bible reading plan isn’t the point. Reading the Bible is. So I just use today’s plan to get me reading.
You see, ultimately, it’s not the ‘doing the plan’ which brings us life – it’s the ‘reading the Word’!
Ultimately, it’s not the ‘doing the plan’ which brings us life – it’s the ‘reading the Word’!
So whatever method, plan or way you get into doing it doesn’t actually doesn’t matter as much as just doing it! We can get easier wins if we move the goalposts from ‘have I kept the plan’ to ‘what does God want to say to me today?’
My prayer for you in 2016 is that each day you’ll find a way to open up the Bible and get a daily fresh word from God. This book truly is a phenomenal gift that we’ve been given!!