Bible Reading for Growth
Why do you read anyway?
Do you know the Bible better than you did five years ago?
Has God really told us what we need to know about life and love?
Many of you may be considering a fresh start with your Bible reading. I encourage you to take an honest look at your own spiritual disciplines, and to look for fresh ways to know God better through his Word. Remember that in order to worship God in spirit and truth, we need to know God accurately through his Word.
There are many different approaches to reading the Bible, and you may benefit by making a change from your normal routine. Here are a few of the ways you can read the bible.
The "Surprise-Me" plan
This method is very simple (and too familiar to many of us). Just open your Bible and see where you are going to read for that day. Or, a variation of this approach, simply turn to a familiar book or passage and read there. Though this is better than not reading the Bible at all, it is not a great approach for knowing the whole counsel of God. You might want to try something a bit more intentional.
Many of you have done (or started) One-Year Bible reading plans. There are many options for this approach such as the One-Year Bible or the M'Cheyne plan (see links in the resources below). Some of these plans are more complicated than others, having you read in multiple sections of scripture each day. These are fine approaches for getting the general gist of the Bible. However, if you don't finish, you may know Genesis and Matthew very well, but not read the prophets or Revelation at all.
Read a book or large section multiple times
Sometimes, reading plans lead us too quickly through too much content. You may read through the Bible each year without ever lingering long enough to really know the message of a particular book or chapter. Instead of reading straight through, consider reading a large section (several chapters or a whole book) multiple times in a row before moving on.
What about a Six Month (or less) Plan?
Instead of the traditional one-year plan, why not set aside time to read through the Bible in a shorter period of time? An hour of reading per day would get you through the Bible in about two and a half months.
A Few Suggestions
- Feel free to mix and match the above approaches. As an example, what if you read through the whole Bible in six months and then picked six books or sections to read multiple times for the rest of the year? You would have a general refresher in the message of the Bible as well as in depth knowledge of SIX books or sections.
- Don't forget to listen! There are many ways to listen to audio Bibles. You can purchase CDs, MP3s, or simply stream audio while you read with various Bible apps on your mobile device or computer.
- Collaborate with others in your family or Home Group and follow the same plan. This provides helpful accountability and opportunity for sharing together.
- Keep a reading journal. This could be as simple as marking the passages that you read that day, or it could involve making observations about what you read.
- Keep going if you fall off the wagon. This is not about guilt or spiritual "performance." We are simply trying to know God better and apply his Word to our lives.