December 26, 2013

Read the Bible in 2014

It’s that time of year again. Time for resolutions, and purging, and fresh starts, and new routines, and the like. Have you thought yet about how you might like 2014 to be different than the year that has now almost passed us by? More discipline, less calories, better habits, deeper relationships, and so on? There’s never a bad time, of course, to make such good changes. But the new year seems to afford as good an opportunity as any for such resolves. And I heartily encourage you to seize the momentum afforded by the changing calendar, and to make some of them yourself.

And as you do; as you make preparations for the new calendar year that is nearly upon us, I hope you have (or will) put your Bible intake at the very top of the list. Are you feeding, as regularly as you should be, on the manna of God’s word? It’s more important even than breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Remember that “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4.4)! And if that is true; if the word of God is our very life’s sustenance … then we will do well to feed on it greedily. And in this age of widespread literacy and unprecedented access to the Scriptures (in every format imaginable!), we have every advantage towards doing so!

But will you do so … in 2014? I hope that, among other resolutions you may make for the new year, that at the top of the list will be:
A. To be as faithful as you can possibly be to hear the word of God as it is made available, week by week, in your local church.
B. To be as faithful as you can possibly be to read the word of God each and every day on your own, and in your family.
I cannot overstate the importance of letter A. But allow me to focus, with the remainder of this article, on letter B – your daily personal and family Bible reading. And let me especially zoom in on the personal.

Please do plan to read the Bible daily in 2014. And plan to read the Bible daily in 2014 according to a plan. For a remarkable list of diverse reading options, see Justin Taylor’s recent blog post “How to Read the Whole Bible in 2014.”  See also an excellent list by Ligonier.

Or, if you’re new at this; or if (like me) you don’t like humongous checklists hanging over your head, simply read a chapter a day in the New Testament, beginning in Matthew and continuing to Revelation. You’ll finish in 9 months or so, and have plenty of time to go back and delve deeper into a book or two that intrigued you, or to read through some of the more vital books of the Old Testament – Genesis, Exodus, Proverbs, etc.

Read two chapters a day (and three on Sunday) and you will make it through the New Testament three times in one year!

Or try what Jim Elliff has called “saturation” reading – working through a given book of the Bible over and over and over again – reading and re-reading the same book (perhaps for a few months) until it’s practically in your blood.  (HT: Challies)

Or create your own plan. But do have a plan. Do plan to be in the scriptures every day, looking for the manna that God has liberally laid upon the ground for you to gather day by day.

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