It's time once again for the annual Bible Reading Plans blog essay! I'm notorious for starting and utterly failing to stick to a Bible Reading Plan. But I keep trying! Alexander Pope wrote hope springs eternal
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
– Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man
Three Reasons Why You Should Read the Whole Bible in 2017
Each year at the end of December, many people choose a reading plan for the upcoming year only to find themselves failing to keep pace as the weeks pass. It may surprise you to know how many people in your church have not read the entire Bible. This year would be a wonderful time to read the whole Bible. Consider these three important reasons why you should read the whole Bible in 2017.
Reading through your Bible has become a year-end advertisement, resolution, and chore list. I would like to encourage you not to not do it. This may seem like an odd request, but I want to drive past the activity and look at the heart. I don’t want you to grab a plan, make plans, and follow through with those plans so you can say you read through your Bible. I would rather you simply say, "I'm committed to learning about my Lord and Savior, therefore I need to read my Bible because it is the source of light in this dark world."
I've never been one to follow a crowd and I balk at being herded into a plan just because it's Bible plan time of year. Alternately, I have not read through the Bible completely, and it's been 13 years since I was saved. So, I am lax, lazy, unproductive, non-diligent, and all the words. I want to know my Lord, and the way to do it is to read His word. So thanks to the ever-diligent Challies who wrote about different plans, I am doing three. Over-ambitious? Setting myself up for failure? Probably. However, think of the feast I'll enjoy if I'm successful at even one of them!
This plan I chose is a five day, semi-chronological plan. And it's free. Challies wrote, of theFive Day Reading Plan,
My favorite daily Bible-reading plan is the 5 Day Bible Reading Program from Bible Class Material which I was introduced to by Melissa Kruger. It has several features I love:
It is a familiarity plan that covers the entire text of the Bible over the course of the year. Between January 1 and December 31 those who follow it read every word of the Bible.
It is a pseudo-chronological plan that covers the text of the Bible in the order the events happened. Thus, for example, the Psalms come at appropriate moments in the life of David, the books of Kings and Chronicles are read in harmony, and so on. This helps set the events in their historical context. Yet even though it’s chronological, it’s only pseudo-chronological. There are Old Testament and New Testament readings each day and the gospels are interspersed through the year. I find this an ideal compromise over a strictly chronological program.
It is a 5-day plan. A benefit of a 5-day plan (as opposed to a 7-day plan) is that there is less chance of falling far behind. At 5 days per week it is far more doable than at 7 days—there is always a chance to catch up. Also, it allows a day or two of reading something different for those who, for example, like to read and ponder the sermon text on a Sunday morning.
It is a free plan. It’s free for the taking! They’ve got a nice little print-out you can download, print, fold in half, and put inside your Bible. It’s got boxes to tick as complete each day and each week. Or you can do what I did, which is use the Reading Plan app to organize the plan even while reading through Logos, the ESV app, or a printed Bible.
Reading God's Story, Hardcover: A Chronological Daily Bible Hardcover
by George Guthrie (Author), Holman Bible Staff (Editor)
Reading God's Story takes that clear narrative approach to the Bible, arranging the complete text into a fresh chronological reading plan developed for the Read the Bible for Life biblical literacy initiative. In this plan the books, chapters, and verses of the Bible are thoughtfully arranged so readers can track the story of Scripture, day by day, from beginning to end, understanding the flow of events and how all the different parts fit together to make sense.I bought this one too,
3. NIV, Bible in 90 Days, Hardcover Hardcover, by Zondervan (Author)
As you break it down into bite-sized pieces, what may have seemed to be an overwhelming challenge becomes doable and enjoyable. And this specially designed Bible will help you get the most out of your experience. Use it in conjunction with The Bible in 90 Days curriculum for all the benefits of sharing God’s Word in community, or read it by yourself. Either way, you’ll be fulfilling what for many people is a longstanding ambition: reading through the entire Bible.Well, we'll see. If I can't stick to a plan for three months, or for five days in a week, I will be a sorry excise for a reader, a Christian, and a student!
Michelle Lesley listed these kinds and other types of Bible Reading Plans on her page also. Take a look to see if there are some that appeal to you. There is a good variety. Michelle is faithful to provide a variety of credible and worthwhile resources on her page. You should bookmark it for 2017 if you haven't already.
If you commute, pr prefer an audible Bible reading plan, there are those also. BibleGateway has The Daily Audio Bible plan.
Here is another option, The MacArthur Daily Bible:
The MacArthur Daily Bible takes a portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for each day of the year, with daily comments that guide and inform you as you read through the Bible in a year. John MacArthur's insight maximizes the benefit of each day's reading. If a commitment to daily Bible reading never worked for you before, this is the answer.You can also purchase it directly from Grace To You's website, here.
I am also planning on going through Challies' reading program at the avid level. That is a commitment to read one book every two weeks. I work two jobs, and when I finish for the day, finish my own Bible reading, fulfill my ministries, and write a blog essay for that day, I'm pretty numb. But I do waste time on tv (like Judge Judy clips on Youtube) or shows like Top Chef or Great British Menu, so the fact is, there IS time to read. I want to read more. It relaxes me more than TV does and it's better for my mind. I want to re-ignite the daily habit. I like books, and I miss them.
Here is the entire offering, from light reader of one book a month, to obsessed reader at two books per week.
Completed Personal Reading:
So far this School vacation I have finished:
JD Vance's Hillbilly Elegy which was excellent. There's profanity, but it's necessary because when he quotes his family, that is how they spoke. Overall it's an excellent secular book examining poverty cycles among those from Appalachia, from the perspective of 'one who made it out.'
I read a Kindle short called My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller. You might remember Stoller as Everybody Loves Raymond's whiny look-alike cousin. It's well written and interesting about the background life of character actors and comedy writers.
Hearts of Fire: Eight Women in the Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith. It's published by Voice of the Martyrs. I got a few chapters in and burst out crying as a mother fleeing murderous Muslim fanatics with torches and machetes crawled through the jungle and then exhausted, stopped to prepare her young children for imminent death. Tough but necessary book! There is nothing like reading about the courage of martyrs to make one grateful for the Lord's decision to install me in the US in a comfortable life.
Warren Wiersbe's Lonely People: Biblical Lessons on Understanding and Overcoming Loneliness (Living Lessons from God's Word). I'm not lonely, lol. I am accumulating books for the church library or to hand out to Christian friends. I read them ahead of time to make sure they are solid in doctrine. I've seen too many church libraries and even pastor's study shelves flooded with junk. So I read them before I give them. The book was slim, readable, and biblical. Wiersbe looked at six attributes that contribute to loneliness, which he distinguishes from solitude or lonesomeness. Wiersbe offers reasons for loneliness and biblical solutions.
I had three Banner of Truth magazines piled up and finished them. These are meaty, theological magazines. I especially enjoyed the November edition looking at the doctrine of Particular Atonement and October's edition where the last days of Martin Luther were chronicled. I encourage you to subscribe. They publish 11 times per year, one of the issues is a double issue.
On the To-Read list, books I recommend to one and all,
Truth Or Territory: A Biblical Approach to Spiritual Warfare by Jim Osman. Pastor Osman is pastor of Kootenai Community Church. He is Justin Peters' pastor, the preacher known for his discernment conferences and videos. Pastor Osman has another book coming out soon, too. A new book by Pastor Jim Osman on Psalm 73 and the prosperity of the wicked will be released in early 2017.
Justin Peters has a new book just released this week, also-
Do Not Hinder Them: A Biblical Examination of Childhood Conversion
I live in the Bible Belt where there's a Baptist church around every corner. It is common for me to arrive at school on a Monday and a kindergarten or first grade child shares that 'yesterday they got saved, they'd asked Jesus into their heart'. While I'm thrilled the child goes to church and learns about Jesus, I've seen too many children over the years grow up and abandon their commitment and fall away. I often mourn when greeted with "Jesus into my heart" news. From the book:
Jesus said, "Permit the children to come to Me and do not hinder them; for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these" (Mark 10:14). Is this a verse in support of baptizing children who make a profession of faith in Christ as most evangelicals have supposed? If it is, why is it that so many of the children we baptize grow up to show little if any fruit of having been genuinely converted? Why do so many walk away from Christianity once they gain independence from the home? In Do Not Hinder Them, author and evangelist Justin Peters presents a compelling biblical case that both the nature of children and the nature of salvation warrant extreme caution before we baptize children who have made intellectual assent to the basics of the Gospel.Reviving New England: The Key to Revitalizing Post-Christian America
At one time in history, New England was a light to the nations. From its origination, the Northeast region has been a spiritual powerhouse, leading the way for Christianity to flourish in America and beyond. However, after three centuries of vibrant Christian influence, it encountered a perfect storm comprised of false doctrine, liberalism, and materialism, which crippled the church, and plunged the region into spiritual darkness. In Reviving New England, Nate Pickowicz makes a case for the inestimable value of the region, and offers a series of biblical prescriptions for faithfulnessI'm from New England, and it's heart-breaking to see the empty churches, failing churches, liberal churches, all in gloriously beautiful and historic buildings that once espoused the faith in truth and light.
Women's Ministry in the Local Church, by J. Ligon Duncan, Susan Hunt (Paperback)
Susan Hunt and Ligon Duncan walk through the Scriptures to help readers better understand what it means to have an effective, biblical women's ministry in the church. The benefits of women's ministries are great: training and discipling, evangelizing, and reaching out to the poor and needy. This book, written by seasoned ministry leaders, provides many proven tools to help start a women's ministry in your church.Ok, if I sit here writing about reading for too long I will not get to read! Happy New Year, may the Lord bless you in all you do for Him and in Him.