Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bible Reading Plans for the New Year

While Christians know that we can make a fresh start with God anytime, the start of a new year can be a good opportunity to change some of the patterns of life and make the changes that we haven’t felt able to make in the busy-ness of the year. I suggested in a recent sermon that two of the habits and patterns we might seek to establish or re-establish for the new year might be our quiet times and our Bible reading programme. Often these two can (and should) be linked.

One of the challenges of establishing a regular Bible reading plan is working out the plan. I find that it helps to use a plan that someone else has put some time and effort into devising. I recently came across a collection of these gathered by Justin Taylor here:

Another recent article with a revised Bible reading plan is found here:

I especially recommend the Bible reading plan originally devised by Robert Murray M’Cheyne in 1842. If you read all four readings for each day you read the whole Bible in a year. It can easily be modified so that you read the whole Bible in two years (just read two readings each day). The plan is reprinted in a book by Don Carson, For the Love of God (Vols 1 and 2) which gives a short reflection for each day on one of the readings. Carson’s introduction, which includes a copy of the plan, can be found here: Carson’s Introduction - For the Love of God

It can be helpful to make some notes as you read - especially to write down reflections, response and action points that come from your reading. You can use your own notebook, or you might like to look at the Youthworks REAP journals (for children, youth and adults). (REAP stands for Read, Explore, Apply, Pray).

For those who would like to have access to a Bible reading plan for their mobile device, I recommend Olive Tree Bible Software, which has the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan free - as well as a few free Bibles (eg. the HCSB is free). The free software is available for iPod / iPhone, Android etc.  (You can also get the ESV free for your device - look for it on iTunes or in the Android market).

Take the plunge and get into a Bible reading plan this year. I pray that God will bless you richly as you listen to his word.

PS. For a nice online version of the M'Cheyne plan, with links to Biblegateway, check out this page created by Karen & Ben Beilharz.
(This is a revised version of a previous post.)

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