You can listen to the next episode (Bible Intake) here.
At the start of a new year, many people set goals and make resolutions of what they want to accomplish in the new year. One of those often is reading their Bibles. Some like to use a reading plan, while others just try to read each day, taking as long or as short as it takes to read through the Bible. It is important as believers that we are reading our Bibles, and not just our favorite parts, but the whole Bible. We don’t read our Bibles to gain favor with God; crossing it off a checklist each day doesn’t earn us brownie points. Rather, we read the Bible in order to better know God himself, Who has revealed Himself in the Bible.
For me I have found that having a reading plan helps me to stay on track and be consistent with Bible reading. I encourage you as we begin this new year to find a reading plan and make it a goal to read through the entire Bible. It doesn’t have to be in a year – it can take two or three years – or as long as it takes, but resolve to read through all of it. The reading plan I recommend for those who often get bogged down in the early books and then give up is called the Weekly Genres plan. This has you reading in a different section of Scripture each day. You can access it here. This has you reading in a different genre each day, which helps to keep from getting bogged down in one particular part of Scripture.
Several of us will be reading through the Bible in 90 days this year. You are welcome to join us here. Or sign up via email if you’re not on Facebook. There are lots of great reading plans out there to help you read through the Bible. See the sidebar on this blog page for just a few of them. Youversion also has many plans you can choose from to read the Bible.
Various articles about Bible reading as well as various reading plans (note of caution – I do not necessarily endorse all the sites from which these articles were pinned, please be discerning)
Wanting to read through the Bible in 2016? Here’s one way to do it and get a great overview of the Bible’s overarching story.
Have you ever read through the Bible? Do you understand the overarching story of the Bible and its main theme? One of the great ways to get this overview and to read through the whole Bible is to set aside 3 months (90 days) to read it. With reading for about an hour a day (which can be split up throughout the day), it is possible to read the whole Bible in just 90 days. It’s a shorter commitment than trying to read it in a year and it provides the opportunity to read large sections of the Bible at once, which gives a clearer picture of what it’s saying.
Back in 2012 I read through the Bible in 90 days with a group online. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and I loved getting the big picture of the Bible. I did it chronologically, which…
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What we believe matters. It affects how we live, what we do and say. We can say we believe something but what we truly believe is what will eventually come out in our behavior and attitudes.
It seems many Christians these days are not interested in theology, feeling it is too “academic” for them. Theology is the study of God and learning who He is. We all have beliefs in who we think God is. Theology is studying to understand better the truth of who He is, correcting any faulty views we may have. We all have a theological view, whether we realize it or not. The importance of theology is making sure what we believe lines up with what Scripture teaches so that we have an accurate view of God.
For a personal example of how this plays out, here is the story of a challenging week we had in February 2014. Having a theology of God based on Scripture made a difference in handling the mini-crisis that we encountered. Our cat Mocha had a traumatic experience at the vet on a Monday night and wasn’t eating. She acted like she was sick and we were concerned whether we might lose her. Believing that God is sovereign and is in control was comforting, knowing that we could trust Him with whatever the outcome would be. Our theology gave us something to hold on to while unsure of what would happen. That didn’t necessarily mean that Mocha would recover. God could choose to take her. But we also believe that she belongs to Him and He has the right to do with her as He chooses. Yet He works all things for His glory, so whatever happened would be for His honor and glory. Our theology mattered in the day-to-day routine of taking care of Mocha and trusting that God would give us wisdom for what to do. Mocha is now back to her normal self and is eating fine. Yet this was also a reminder that all that we have is God’s, for Him to do with as He so desires. She belongs to Him whether healthy or sick.
Bible reading and study lead us to develop our beliefs about God – our own theology and doctrines, what we believe about who God is and what He has done for us. This theology and belief about God is then worked out in how we live our daily lives, our own discipleship with Christ and teaching and discipling of others.
It seems that many American Christians are not actively involved in reading and studying their Bible. As a result, their theology and doctrine are weak. They don’t know what they believe and so are tossed about by the winds of the times, the beliefs that are prevalent in the society around them. Without knowing what they believe (and why) they are then unable to defend their beliefs to others. They do not grow in their Christian walk and as disciples of Christ and thus are unable to disciple others in the faith.
We need to be reading the Bible and studying it! We need to be learning theology and doctrine, who God is and what we believe. These things are vital for the Christian to grow.
John 20:30-31: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (ESV)
There are many different ways that we can increase our Bible intake. Of course reading the Bible as well as studying it are the typical ways we ingest the Bible. Reading the Bible and studying it are two different things. Studying includes reading, but also includes observing, asking questions, determining the meaning and finding the principle in order to apply it.
Another way for us to get the Bible into our lives is to listen to it on audio. There are many great audio Bibles out there, some done in a dramatic style, that we can listen to as we drive on our commute, do our exercise, or work around the house.
Memorizing Scripture is a great way to increase our knowledge of the Bible. This also aids in meditating on Scripture. Biblical meditation is mulling over a Scripture passage, thinking through the phrases, chewing on what they are saying. Memorizing Scripture allows us to meditate on it without having a Bible nearby. A great resource to help in memorizing the Bible is ScriptureTyper.
Listening to solid expository preaching is another way to increase our Bible intake. There are a plethora of sermons available online that we can listen to directly on the computer or download to mp3. A couple preachers I highly recommend are John MacArthur on Grace to You and Alistair Begg at Truth for Life.
While studying the Bible is important, it is also important that we take time to just read our Bibles. Using a reading plan to read through the whole Bible can be helpful to stay on track. For those who have tried to read the Bible through in a year and failed, try reading without worrying about finishing in a year. Just keep going and finish regardless of how long it takes to do it. It is worthwhile to read through the entire Bible, to see God’s whole story unfold through the Old and New Testaments. Another helpful way to read the Bible is to read it chronologically, to see how the prophets intersperse with the kings and David’s psalms are alongside the events happening in his life.
The most helpful reading plan that I’ve found for reading through the whole Bible is called the Weekly Genres plan. This plan reads in a different genre each day of the week. For example, one day is reading the Gospels, another day in the historical books of the Old Testament, while another day is in poetry such as Psalms. By breaking up the genres into different days of the week, it helps to get through some of the harder passages of Scripture (such as Leviticus). A link to this Bible reading plan can be found in the left sidebar or you can see it here.