Does the thought of researching Bible Reading Plans wear you out?
Do you scroll past the posts recommending Bible in a Year plans, letting yourself linger only long enough to catch a glimpse of the exhortations from pastors and writers about the need to be in the Word daily, but avoiding the laborious task of deciding which one to pick?
Do you dread the building knot of guilt in your gut as you recall the months it's been since you checked off a box on this year's plan?
1. It's understandable when there are so many options out there, all of them offered with the best of intentions, but overwhelming in the realization that you know most of them will probably not work for you.
2. It's true that you need to be in the Word. Here's what John Stott says, in case you missed his opinion as you scrolled through your newsfeed this week (quoted in the article linked below):
Christians who neglect the Bible simply do not mature. When Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy to the effect that human beings do not live by bread only but by God’s Word, he was asserting that the Word of God is just as necessary for spiritual health as food is for bodily health. I am not now thinking of remote Christian tribes people into whose language the Bible has not yet been translated, nor of illiterate people... I am thinking rather about ourselves. Our problem is not that the Bible is unavailable to us, but that we do not take advantage of its availability. We need to read and meditate on it daily, to study it in a fellowship group and to hear it expounded during Sunday Worship. Otherwise we shall not grow. Growth into maturity in Christ depends upon a close acquaintance with, and a believing response to, the Bible.
[Source: God’s Book For God’s People, John Stott, IVP p. 76]
3. Mounting feelings of guilt on top of more feelings of guilt doesn't help, especially for someone whose soul is paralyzed due to neglect of the very source of grace that he needs to properly identify the root of sin and apply the healing measures of the living word of God.
Introducing my favorite Bible Reading Plan
It's designed just for people like me. If you can honestly assess your efforts to read through the Bible as lame and ineffective, might I suggest you consider this one?
It's called the Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers.
Here is a brief account from Margie Haack about how she discovered the plan, which she renamed the above.
Margie Reads Through the Bible
January 1st: Resolved to read through the Bible in a year. To pick a program and simply stick with it.
I know I’ve tried this before and failed (the lure of winning that Sunday School Certificate just wasn’t compelling enough), but this time I am really going to do it. Sheer will power will take me there. No excuses. It doesn’t matter that I work, have children, am sick, travel, celebrate holidays, or am just a lazy slob, this year I WILL do it.
I skip the plan that suggests you read straight through the Bible (too boring). And the one that has you read twenty verses from five different books every day (too annoying). I go for the historical one. It looks interesting. This one has you read the Bible chronologically and you get to see the flow of Biblical history. I like the idea. You start with Genesis and end with Revelations, but, for example, when you get to the life of Moses you get to throw in the Psalms he wrote and hear his poetry through his troubles and triumphs. And when you get to the kings of Israel you get to read what the prophets were saying while their kingdoms crashed. This desire is more than just wanting to congratulate myself on having done a good thing.
Reading through the entire Bible would keep me from going the same old route which takes me to familiar places. Like Luke when I want to be jazzed by Jesus’ life. To the Psalms when I am depressed and doubting. I avoid Ecclesiastes; it is very dark. I am not fond of Leviticus either, too many sacrifices. And the minor prophets do rant so. However, I want to hear God’s voice in all its ways during all the times he spoke to and through men. I want to know Him. I want to know the hard parts where babies’ heads are dashed against stones. And I want to know why we must endure page after page of numbers and names of people we know nothing about.
You, too, right? After several diary-like entries detailing the success of Margie's plan show increasingly longer gaps between readings, we find this:
March 3rd. I look at my checkered plan sheet with smudges and erasures. It isn’t working. I am doomed. A failing immature rat of a Christian. Barely two months and I am ruined. I quit. I decide to read what I can when I can and quietly slip into First Peter where Jesus says to me through the dear Apostle, "But you are a chosen people..." Mysteriously, despite all, I am among his chosen. It is sheer grace.
Wow, she made it further than I usually do. This is when her husband shared with her a system titled Reading for Biblical Literacy. (Good thing. I'm not sure any marriage could have withstood a suggestion that included referring to one's spouse as a slacker or a shirker.) The new moniker fits it, though. It actually works for slackers and shirkers like me. I've been more consistent in my Bible reading using this schedule than any other.
In this plan, throughout the year, you read the following:
Sunday: The books of poetry
Monday: The Pentateuch
Tuesday: O.T. history
Wednesday: O.T. history (There is a lot of it.)
Thursday: O.T. prophets
Friday: N.T. history
Saturday: N.T. epistles
Because there are no dates, if you miss a day of reading, just pick up with that section of the Bible in seven days. Read according to what day of the week it is, not what the date on the calendar says. It might take 6 months, it might take a year, it might take 3 years. You may read through one section a few times before you finish another (I'm looking at you Monday and Wednesday.). . . . but you're reading through the Bible, you've got a plan that displays the unity and the interconnectedness of the Scriptures, you're not fumbling through several different passages a day and trying to figure out how they all relate, and you're able to give your mind and heart and time to the Lord without the confusion or burden of unnecessary guilt and frustration.
So, you wanna give it a try?
Or, you can check out the 16 options suggested by Ligonier Ministries.
Whatever you do, remember this: Knowing the Lord involves knowing his living word. Tolle lege. Take up and read.
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
2015-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of written material and images without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to #thereyougothinkingagain, lauraenglandmiller, or Laura E Miller with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.