The last couple of days I’ve been seeing a lot of Bible reading plans touted, mostly to get a reader through the whole Book in a year. Although I appreciate the importance of reading the Word in an orderly fashion, I do pause at the idea of galloping through His Word in any way just to check off the reading as “done”. At this time in my life, with a busy household of a husband and six homeschooling children and one baby on the way, to read the Word in one year would be rushed. But maybe you have way more oodles of time than I do. I do wonder, though, what happens if you get 8 days, or even 8 months, into a perfect reading mode and then you’re slammed for a week with the flu? Do you try to catch up? Feel like you’ve failed? Or worse, failed God? Is He grading us on our Bible reading habits?
Make sure if you’re going to follow a plan of some sort, that you check yourself on your motives. If you’re certain you want to follow a reading plan (because you need the structure or accountability or whatnot), here are some thoughts adopted from the late N.A. Woychuk’s pamphlet, “Hints for Reading the Bible”, which unfortunately I cannot find anywhere online to share with you. It is profitable.
- Will you be approaching your Bible with an earnest desire to understand it, or will it be merely a formality, something to check off your “to do” list?
- Will you be reading it with reverence, or will you be distracted by the things awaiting you when you’re finished?
- Will you be reading it with an earnest prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit, or will you be skimming the passages and paying more attention to the study notes on the side? “Humble prayer will throw more light on your Bible reading than all the commentaries written,” said Mr. Woychuk.
- Will you read your Bible with a child-like faith and humility, knowing that ALL Scripture is profitable (yes, even the book of Numbers), or will you pass by the genealogies and lists just to get ahead (or catch up) on your schedule?
- Will you read the Bible in a spirit of self-application, or do you simply want to be able to say you’ve read the whole Bible?
There is nothing inherently wrong with a Bible reading plan; in fact, in can be very helpful in getting into parts of the Book that are regularly skipped and missed. The main thing, however, ought to be the main thing: reading it honestly.
I’ve gone through many seasons in Bible reading. I’ve had times where I’ve had hours to read and to do in-depth word studies using the Bible alone (with a concordance), finding much fruit in applications. Then I’ve had seasons of postpartum slow-mo-fog where all I ever seemed to snatch was a verse or two a day at best, taping it onto my counter by the sink to ponder. I believe the Lord honors our hearts in our hunger for Him through His Word, and will bless us however much we can do when we can do it.
Currently, I have a husband that goes into work late, and children that all sleep in. I am able to wake early in the morning and have a nice quiet time of reading. In case you are curious, my current Bible reading plan is:
- Reading through the entire Bible, 1-3 chapters at a time, from the OT straight through to the NT. I don’t put a deadline on getting to the end of the Book; whenever I get there, I just start at the beginning again. And yes, I’m in the book of Numbers.
- I read the psalm of the day. If it is the 2nd of the month, I will read Psalm 2. Then I add 30 until I get to the end. So I would read Psalms 2, 32, 62, 92, and 122 that day. In this way I get through the Psalms every month. I don’t stress if I miss a day! I just pick up on whatever day is next.
- I read the proverb of the day, too. If it is the 2nd of the month, I read Proverbs 2.
To do all of that reading, plus writing in my journal, takes me anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour in the morning. But I know that once baby comes, I may have to go back to grabbing a verse or a chapter when I can. It’s not a failure if I can’t keep up on a schedule of some sort, even if it is *my* schedule. Again, reading it honestly is important. The Bible is not a check-off task!
When I want to go through a Bible study or other devotional (topical or a sermon series, etc.), I do that either in the morning if I still have time after reading, and/or in the evening before bed. Audio Bibles are wonderful, too, to listen to while crafting or driving or even while falling asleep. Reading aloud to the children out of the Bible “counts” as reading, too, of course!
Whatever your plans are for this year in your Bible reading, try to do it daily. Keep it simple, allow yourself some grace, and come hungry to hear Him. I am certain He will fill you, and bring you joy as you seek Him in whatever schedule or manner of reading you are led.