Are you looking forward to this brand new year? New opportunities, new ways to serve, new ways to grow, and new opportunities to see His faithfulness… exciting!
This is such a great time to commit to the various spiritual disciplines, isn’t it? I love this statement of Patti’s in her intro to this series:
Yes! God wants us to know Him. He desires that we draw near to Him and promises us that when we do, He will draw near to us. (James 4:8) It’s relationship that He desires. He wants our hearts and He wants us to know His.
What better way is there to know who God truly is and to know His heart for humanity (and for you personally) than through His word?
Why read God’s Word? (If you need reasons, check out this post with a free printable.) He’s given us His written message so that we may know Him (His love, salvation, faithfulness, grace, and promises) and grow to look more like Him. God’s Holy Word works to change our hearts as He sanctifies us through a growing relationship with Him.
But committing to daily Bible reading can be hard… so why devote ourselves to time in the Bible?
I really love the way Don Whitney answers this in a Desiring God interview:
“Now the goal of practicing any given discipline is not about doing as much as it is about being: being like Jesus, being with Jesus. But the biblical way to grow in being more like Jesus is through the rightly motivated doing of the biblical, spiritual disciplines.” [Emphasis, mine.]
If you desire to grow the discipline of being in God’s Holy Word every day in 2016, here are some resources for you :
Hello Mornings is an online community of women holding themselves accountable as they prioritize time with the Lord each day. A Bible reading plan and/or study is available each session. Not only is it fun to meet with likeminded ladies each day, it’s very uplifting and encouraging! I have been truly blessed by the women involved in this ministry and their hearts for Jesus and staying in God’s Word.
Whole Bible Reading Plans
Bible in 90 Days: If you have time, I really recommend reading the Bible in 90 Days. The reading is lengthy and intense, but if you’ve got the time (I did one year when I suffered an injury) it is definitely worth it. One benefit is that if you have a rusty memory (like I sometimes do) the finish date is so close to the start date that you’re less likely to forget what you’ve read.
Chronological Plan: Reading the Bible chronologically for the first time was eye opening to me! If you’ve never read the Bible this way, I truly recommend it!
M’Cheyne Reading Plan: If you’d like to read the Bible in a year but spend a bit more time in the New Testament, this (or the following) plan may be for you. I almost chose this plan one year, but opted for another (see below). If you read using this plan, you’ll cover the Old Testament in one year, and the New Testament and Psalms twice.
Four Stream Reading Plan: This is the plan I did one year rather than the M’Cheyne. This plan covered the Old Testament once in the year, but Psalms twice, and the New Testament and Proverbs four times. This plan also had lengthy daily readings, but splitting it into morning and night readings helped me.
Partial Bible and Topical Plans
If reading the entire Bible in a year sounds like more than you can do right now (which is reality for many of us!), you may want to try a topical plan. Usually, a topical plan has shorter daily readings.
Bible Doctrine Reading Plan: Past contributor for DoNotDepart, Kathy Howard , has written a wonderful plan that focuses on Bible doctrine. Here’s her description:
“This 5-day-a-week plan walks you through the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith. The first quarter focuses on “Theology,” the study of God and His character. The second quarter on the nature of the Bible, mankind, and Christ. The third on “Soteriology,” the study of salvation. And the fourth on the Holy Spirit, the Church, and end times.”
New Testament in a Year: Kathy also has a plan to read through the New Testament in one year. The daily readings average about one chapter (or about 5 minutes). A great plan if you are limited on time!
The Youversion app (or bible.com) has some really great plans that focus on topics such as anxiety, prayer, new beginnings, God’s promises, and so on. You may not cover the entire Bible in one year, but by starting a new plan each time you complete one, you’d accomplish your goal of reading the Bible every day.
I’ll close with these verses from Colossians…
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Col 3:1-2)
What better way to set our affections on things above than by spending time in God’s Word, learning of His heart for us, what He wants for us, and of who we are in His eyes. Being armed with this knowledge can change our everyday. And make it oh, so much brighter!
Praying you’ll have a spiritually bright 2016 as you abide in God’s Word!
What’s your Bible reading goal for 2016? What plans have you enjoyed? Leave a comment – we’d love to hear from you!