The beginning of the year brings a decision - to plan or not to plan my Bible reading.
Some years I follow a plan. I print off a chart and check off the boxes. I'm a list maker, and like chart to give direction to my Bible reading.
But often after a year of following a Bible reading plan, I'm ready for a change. So I decide to take a year off and just read what I whatever I want - no plan, no schedule.
Maybe others have more self-discipline than I but I find that without a plan I falter. Benjamin Franklin said "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." When I make no plan, I tend to open my Bible randomly, often turning to the Psalms or one of the Epistles - not bad place to read, but probably shouldn't just be my default setting. My marker falls out and the next day I can't even remember where I was reading. I don't have a focus. My reading isn't deliberate but haphazard.
So when another year comes around, I'm glad to get back on track and have a plan for my Bible reading.
There are many different plans available. You can find a whole list of free printable plans here. I don't think my goal should be to read the whole Bible through in a certain amount of time as much as to be deliberate in my Bible consumption. To have a vision, a purpose, a goal.
Ed likes the One Year Bible. This Bible is organized with readings for every day of the year. Each day you read a portion from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. At the end of the year, you will have read through the entire Bible once and Psalms twice. I remember my mom using this Bible twenty years ago (and maybe she still does.)
The One Year Bible is a simple way to organize your Bible reading. Each day's reading only takes about fifteen minutes but if that is still too much, you can easily take two or more years to complete it by reading the Old Testament portion one day and the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs the next day.
But I'm a tightwad. I already own lots of Bibles. Why did I need another Bible? So though Ed enjoyed his One Year Bible, I continued printing off a Bible reading plan of some sort.
Until this year.
This year Ed decided to enjoy the advantages of technology. He bought the Kindle version of the One Year Bible. He loves that he can read it on his phone at the breakfast table, or on his Kindle on the couch, or on his work computer and it is always synchronized at the right spot. For Ed, this has been perfect. His Bible reading is always in his pocket. Works for him.
Since he wasn't using his One Year Bible, I decided to give it a try this year. I'm only a couple weeks into the new year but already I'm loving it.
With the One Year Bible I never have to check my paper to see where I'm reading, or flip pages to a new section of the Bible, or lose my chart, or forget to stop and read part of tomorrow's reading. We moms have enough on our minds. With the One Year Bible, I open the Bible and start reading until I come to the next date. Easy. Painless. I'm loving it.
The big question is what happens if for some reason you skip a few days? Or what if you read this post and decide to buy your own copy of the One Year Bible? Do you try to catch up for the weeks in January that you missed?
You may make your own decision but here is my advice. If you only missed one day, maybe you can read two days and get caught up. Thirty minutes of reading isn't too hard to squeeze in. But if it is longer than a day or two, just skip those days and start at today's date. If you force yourself to "catch up"you'll be too discouraged to continue and you will stop all together. The goal is not to read through the Bible in a certain amount of time. The goal is to read, learn, and apply God's Word. It is far better to read something than nothing. So keep going. Read what you can. Next year (or in two years, or however long it takes) you will come back through again and can read those chapters you missed.
What about you? I would love to hear what tips you have found to consistently read God's Word. Do find it helps to follow some sort of plan? Do you have another source of accountability? What works for you?
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