Don’t Wait Until New Year’s; Start Reading Your Bible Now! (With A Good Resource for Bible Reading Plans)
It is fairly customary for Christians to make a New Year’s resolution to read through their Bible in a year. I have been there personally. You make a decision, starting January 1st, to read a few chapters a day for the whole year. Everything starts off well. Genesis isn’t all that bad. There are a few genealogies, but it’s mostly written in story form. The same goes for Exodus. But then we reach Leviticus, that venerable killer of Bible reading plans and New Year’s resolutions. We get bogged down in the difficult reading. We miss a day–then two; and the next thing we know, we have stopped altogether. Or perhaps, and I’ve been here too, you try to do too much for your daily reading and end up in failure. I once tried to use that reading plan (you may have seen it) that takes you through the Old Testament once, the New Testament twice, and the Psalms once a month. The problem with such a plan is that you are expected to read a tremendous amount of Scripture every day. It is very easy to fall behind and ultimately never finish. I must confess–I never have finished it, and I’ve tried more than once. I’m sure most of you can relate to a scenario like this in your own life.
Several years back I made a New Year’s resolution that has turned out to be the only New Year’s resolution I have ever kept–I decided to stop making New Year’s resolutions. I don’t start new diets in January. I don’t typically exercise more (It’s cold out there in January, what a silly time to start running or something!). I don’t start Bible reading plans then either. In fact, I just started a new one today, that’s right, November 24th. I have started using a reading plan produced for the ESV Study Bible. The cool thing about this plan is that I can control how intense I want the reading plan to be. The plan is broken down into sections of Scripture largely based on literary genre. There are actually four reading plans you can do, or you can do a combination of any of the four (for those who are more adventurous). A person can read a daily selection from (1) the Psalms and Wisdom Literature, (2) the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and the History of Israel, (3) Chronicles and the Prophets, or (4) the Gospels and the Epistles. Today, I started with the November 24th reading for the Chronicles and Prophets plan–God’s judgment on the nation of Moab from Isaiah 15-16. Bet your Bible reading plan never started there! When I get to the end of the year, I may go back to the first part of the Chronicles/Prophets plan, or I might switch to the Gospels and Epistles plan. Who knows? I might skip around between the plans. So long as I have done a daily reading does it really matter? The point is to read the Bible. However you do it, just do it! And don’t wait until January–start today!
The makers of the ESV have provided a number of Bible reading plans on their website. You can even sign up for a daily e-mail for your reading plan. Go choose a plan and start reading today!