We desire to see lives transformed by God through the gospel for His glory.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, we wanted to give you an option to use for your daily Bible reading. If you are anything like me, you have started a ‘read through the bible in a year’ plan countless times but have never quite been able to get past the first couple of weeks. It always seems that life or laziness leads me to miss a few days in a row and then I’m so discouraged by how far behind I am that I just give up. In light of my struggles let me give you a few encouragements as you seek to grow in your walk with Christ by reading through all of or portions of the Bible.
Read in Community
Before you decide what you’re going to read or how much you are going to read, commit to reading with a friend or group of friends. Choose others who want to grow in their knowledge and love of Christ and whom you want to grow together with. For example: Married couples, roommates, men, women, small groups or whomever you see regularly that you can discuss what you are learning with. The Christian life is life in community. God adopts children into His family which means He becomes your Father and the church becomes your new adopted brothers and sisters. Growth in the gospel happens in community. So find someone who will commit to reading and growing with you.
After landing a group to read with, discuss and decide what you want to read together. For example a group of friends and I decided that we were unsatisfied with our grasp of the Old Testament, so we decided we wanted to try to read through the Old Testament together. If you are a new believer, maybe you want to begin with the gospels. Read through Mark first because it is the shortest of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). Then move on to Matthew and Luke and finish with the gospel according to John. Then afterwards you could read through the rest of the New Testament. The most important thing is that you set out with a plan in mind because you believe it will help you all grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord Jesus.
Maybe you are extremely disciplined and just love to read so you are going to read the whole Bible in a year, great! Maybe you are a stay at home mom with your hands full all day and a quiet fifteen minutes is all you can seem to find. That’s okay, set sustainable goals in light of real life. Too often we set a goal that is not realistic and then fall off in just a few days and give up all together. Discuss with those you are reading with what is realistic and let that determine if you are going to read the OT in a year or five years. God is not in a hurry for you to read any particular amount of Scripture in some particular amount of time. He is a Father that wants to reveal Himself to you in His Word. Which brings me to the last and most important encouragement…
Whatever you are reading and at whatever pace, prepare your heart to hear from God. Begin with prayer, no matter how brief, asking that God would be pleased to reveal Himself to you in His Word by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit. As you read ask questions like, “How does this text point to Christ?”, “What does this teach me about God? The Gospel? The World? Sin?” As my good friend, pastor Chris Griggs, says look for “Cross-Words,” meaning words that point to the Cross of Christ. Words or themes like atonement, adoption, justification, salvation, justice, etc. If you finish your time completely confused and have no idea what you read, just close in prayer and be thankful that God knows it all. Be encouraged by the fact that he will continue to grow you as you seek Him in His Word.
The plan we are attaching has no dates so that you can keep reading no matter if you get off schedule or not. These boxes are not check marks to prove how dedicated you are to God. God’s dedication to you as displayed in the Cross is the only dedication that you can trust in. As you trust in His dedication to you, that will lead to a desire to know Him more and His word is the primary place where that will happen. So what you missed a few days or even weeks, pick back up where you left off. And if you forgot where you left off, you have this check list to remind you. If you are in Christ, God will love you no more or no less based upon how many of these boxes are checked. However, you will know more of His unending love the more you read, so dive in because He loves you not to get Him to love you!