With a new year come new resolutions.While the end of the year is not the only time for introspection, it certainly affords an opportunity to examine ourselves and see how we are doing in our pursuit of Christ. Of the resolutions of Christians, more prayer and Scripture reading probably tops the list. For those wishing to pray more, here is a blog with a host of resources on prayer that will help. For those wishing to be in the Scriptures more regularly, I wanted to compile a list of resources that might help in that endeavor. Last year Bleecker challenged the church to read through a study Bible and its notes in 2010. The challenge is still open and available and I encourage you to consider doing so. Regardless, the point is that we need to read. Hopefully we want to read.In pursuing more frequent and purposeful reading, here are a few thoughts:
- There is no "right" reading plan. Some people like to read from different sections of the Bible each day (Old Testament narrative, Old Testament poetry, Prophets, Gospels, Epistles, etc.), others prefer to stay in one book. Everyone is different. That is why I want to reference multiple plans rather than simply recommending one particular plan. Check out the various options. Experiment until you find one (whether one listed below or not) that works for you.
- Read, study, memorize, and meditate. Not one or the other, but all of the above.
- Reading is not the goal; beware of the tendency to make reading the end as if you have done your daily duty when you rise from your chair. Seeing, knowing, loving, and obeying Christ is the goal of all study.
- If you fall behind, just keep running. Don't give up or give in to condemnation.
- It will take work and discipline. Think strategically. Be intentional. Saints with more kids, longer hours at more demanding jobs, more debilitating illnesses, less technological resources, greater financial, physical, and environmental hardships, less education, and more responsibilities have read the Bible.1
- Listen to the audio of the How to Study the Bible seminar for some more helpful hints - "tools, not rules" as we say.
May we at The Village Church be a people who keep, store, declare, delight in, meditate on, remember, long for, set ourselves upon, cling to, observe, trust in, seek after, love, turn to, believe in, hope in, consider, rejoice in, incline to, and pant for the gift of God's word to us in the Scriptures (Psalm 119).
Bible Reading Plans:
- How to Study the Bible 100 Day New Testament Reading Plan
- Discipleship Journal Reading Plan
- 10 Bible Reading Plans available from Crossway
To podcast a plan in order to listen on your commute:
- Go to the link above.
- Right-click (Ctrl-click on a Mac) the "RSS" link of the feed you want.
- Choose "Copy Link Location" or "Copy Shortcut."
- Start iTunes.
- Choose Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast
- Paste the URL from step three into the box.
- Click OK.
1 Consider the example of Hudson Taylor: "It was not easy for Mr. Taylor in his changeful life, to make time for prayer and Bible study, but he knew that it was vital. Well do the writers remember traveling with him month after month in northern China, by cart and wheelbarrow, with the poorest of inns at night. Often with only one large room for coolies and travelers alike, they would screen off a corner for their father and another for themselves, with curtains of some sort; and then after sleep at last had brought a measure of quiet they would hear a match struck and seek the flicker of candlelight which told that Mr. Taylor, however weary, was pouring over the little Bible in two volumes always at hand. From two to four a.m. was the time he usually gave to prayer; the time when he could be most sure of being undisturbed to wait upon God. That flicker of candlelight has meant more to them than all they have read or heard on secret prayer; it meant reality, not preaching but practice." (from Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret)