It’s the start of a new year, and while making “New Year’s Resolutions” may seem cliche, it’s as good a time as any to set goals. Many of us, with a sense of determination (mixed with a hint of obligation if we’re honest), may set out to read the Bible more often this year. There are many ways to do this.
If you want to read the whole Bible, there are plans that take you straight through cover to cover and plans that have you read scripture chronologically and plans that have you read the Old Testament and the New Testament side by side. You can find any number of these online and in Bible reading apps.
For many of us though, this goal of reading the whole Bible in a year might seem a little beyond our reach. However, there are many other, equally valid, ways to spend more time with God’s word.
- For every sermon series, Exodus Church makes a bookmark listing the scriptures to read for the week. You can find the bookmark for the current series here and then commit to reading the passages listed for the sermon each week.
- The Exodus Women’s ministry has created Start With The Word, a Bible reading challenge and daily reading plan for the New Year, reading one Psalm a day, 5 days a week, for January and February. This program is open to both men and women. The goal is to establish a daily Bible reading habit we can stick with through the rest of the year. You can register here.
- Another popular plan used by many in our church family is The Bible Recap, a daily reading plan and podcast.
- Consider taking a slow walk through sections of the bible, such as the history books, or the prophets, or the gospels.
- You could also commit to reading through the shorter books 20 times each. There are several at Exodus who have done this in the past and have enjoyed the process.
- Some read a chapter of Proverbs every day of the month, going through Proverbs 12 times a year.
- I know others who do word studies, tracing one word or concept throughout all of scripture. You can follow words such as “rest” or “hope” or “downcast” or “steadfast love.” You can use a comprehensive concordance or simply an app that allows you to search for specific words.
- If all of the above still seem too daunting, read just a few verses a day. Proverbs, Psalms, the four gospels, and Paul’s letters lend themselves to be broken into smaller chunks. There are great truths in every line.
Whatever method you use, ask others to join you in the endeavor. Accountability can be key for reaching any goal.
Maybe you’ve attempted various reading plans over the years, but haven’t been able to follow through. It might be helpful to sit down and think through some of the reasons why. Is it time? Confusion? Boredom? Be prepared to encounter these obstacles and have a plan. These moments are normal. Push through them, believing that knowing God brings far more gain than the initial investment.
As Pastor Brian encouraged us, if you find the Bible difficult to understand, ask! Pray, and ask the Lord to show you what it means. Then ask others. Is Leviticus tripping you up? I happen to know a few people who love that book! Do names and places confuse you? Others around you might be able to point you to some good resources. There’s no shame in not understanding something. No one, and I repeat NO ONE, understands everything. You are not alone.
You may fall short of your goal yet again this year, but maybe you end up reading the Bible more than you would have otherwise. Keep reading even if you can’t seem to keep up with your original plan. Set realistic goals, try new methods, and most importantly, ask. Ask for help from the Lord, who is your helper, and from the community He has kindly given you
Remember, every page (yes, even Leviticus!) gives us glimpses into the wonderful story of God’s steadfast love for a sinful, broken world. Because of this, all of scripture points us to Christ, who demonstrated this great love more in his death, burial, and resurrection on behalf of sinful, broken people. Trust that every minute spent seeking God through His word, even if it’s just a minute, is worth it.