It’s still the first week of the new year and you’re probably thinking. I’ve missed a few days already, I’m such a failure. Instead, get on the horse today. The goal is godliness, not to check off all of your boxes.
So I’d like to give you a guide on the purpose of Bible reading and some practical ways to get started or keep you going throughout the year.
Purpose: Growing Relationship with God
Sometimes we just skip past this whole thing. Through Bible Intake, you are interacting with God, Holy, Righteous, Judge, Creator, Friend.
All of us have a goal with reading our Bibles it could be:
- increasing our knowledge of God and ourselves
- becoming a better person
- not feeling guilty over doing nothing
But I believe that the true purpose of reading the Bible is to grow our relationship with Christ which in turn transforms us, makes us like Christ and gives us direction and guidance in our lives.
So before you get too deep in your plan for reading the Bible, don’t forget the reason why you do it in the first place: to connect with God.
Plan: Creating a System to read the Bible
For me, I know that if left to my own devices, I would read my favorite things over and over again. I love the letters to Timothy and I love Moses. I could read about them forever and have definitely spent a lot of time investing in them.
A plan protects me against myself, it regularly puts me in front of all of Scripture rather than just in front of the parts that I am comfortable with. Part of growing is pushing through the discomfort.
A good plan for getting God’s Word into your heart usually involves these parts:
- Preparation (usually a quick prayer to God asking for HELP!)
- Reading the Bible
- Study or Meditation
- Plan of Action
I can talk about this particular part for hours. There are so many incredible plans out there to use. I will give you a few that have been impactful for me over the years.
I’ll separate them into the broadest categories for the most effective learning.
This is the way I was originally taught to read the Bible everyday and have done this most of the 20 years that I’ve been a follower of Jesus.
It’s simply this:
1 Chapter of NT, 1 Chapter of OT, 1 Proverb, 1 Psalm
This plan kept me moving through the Bible regularly and usually results in reading through the NT twice a year and the OT once every 2 years.
Read Scripture App
I love this app from the Bible Project and I think it’s awesome! Please check this app out at least to celebrate it. It’s simply incredible. The Bible Project is doing some great things and this is a great tool to use with your kids!
Great plan with additional materials and I came back to recommending this plan to more people this past year than any other.
This is a Navigators resource and I’m using this method for the first time this year. Main reason why I’m switching: Get through the OT faster. You systematically go through the Bible during the year and go through the OT once through the year.
Here’s a link to the plan on Youversion
and here it is on PDF complete with checkboxes if you’re like me 🙂
Partial Bible Plans
There are also a lot of partial Bible plans out there. For me, I look for a few things in a Partial Bible plan.
- Is it too much, too fast?
- Is it enough, too slow?
I’ve heard so many sermons, seminars, and classes on Bible reading over the years. Some people suggest that you can’t read slow enough and others think that reading at big intervals is the best way.
I’ve tried it both. What works for me, may not be the case for you, but. I need enough to build context to help me interpret God’s Word correctly. I also don’t want to get bogged down in too much to not have God’s Word effectively read me, guide me, challenge me.
It takes experience to know this and if you are just getting started, don’t start with those questions. Simply ask this one:
Am I growing closer to Christ and His likeness and attitude towards God and others by reading His Word?
Here’s some great partial plans to get started:
- John 21 Days
- Deeper into Scripture – James
- The Bible Project – Minor Prophets (Have I mentioned that I love The Bible Project)
Just beware of coming back to this method again and again and missing portions of Scripture. All Scripture is profitable… (1 Timothy 3:16)
After you’ve got a plan then the next big category you’ll have to tackle is study.
This is where the depth and growth comes. It’s where the you take what God has given you and you dive into figuring out what God’s Word says to all people and what it means for you today.
I’ll give you a few that I’ve used over the years.
I don’t really remember where I learned this method from, but I believe it came from a pastor in Hawaii. It’s simply means this.
1. Read Scripture
You start with reading God’s Word.
What has God’s Spirit brought to your attention? Make a note of it usually with a pen or highlighter.
What does this truth mean for my life? What am I to think or do as a result of doing this?
You’ll finish by asking God to transform you in the way that the Spirit showed you through His word.
Praying the Bible
This actually came out of a seminary course. It has truly changed the way that I interact with Scripture. I’ll post a link to this short and impactful book. Praying the Bible is just a great resource and the part that I’ve taken and used everyday since learning it is the Psalms of the Day method.
Here’s the Psalms of the Day PDF. It’s just finding a way to pray through God’s Word for me, this is the most simple way to meditate on God’s Word that I’ve found and it has paid huge dividends in my prayer life!
This is maybe a very simplistic way to study or meditate but if you take the time to do this method it will help you. It’s simply reading the verse and emphasizing one word each time in sequential order. It helps you to see the impact of every Word given to us through the Scriptures.
There are so many methods out there that you can use and I would highly recommend finding one that works and finding a study bible that will help you.
Applying God’s Word
For me the best way to work through this is with Scripture memory work and Journaling.
A few apps and resources on memorizing Scripture
- FighterVerses (paid app but so worth it)
- New City Catechism (helps you learn and share systematic theology)
- Scripture Typer
I’ve been journaling for over 15 years. It’s crazy to look back on some of my old notebooks and see old sermon notes, prayers, and stories of God’s faithfulness.
I really didn’t have a method of what to do and didn’t have a system, but I’m starting to develop a little bit of my own way of doing it that I might share later. Ultimately, my goal of journaling is to help me see God’s working in my life a little bit over a long period of time.
I hope that one day my great, great grandkids will learn and worship Christ, because of the things he’s done in my heart and life that I happened to write down in a journal.
As far as notebooks go, I’ve been using a Bullet Journal for the last several years.
Here’s some journaling methods to get you started:
- How to Start Bible Journaling in 6 easy steps (Lifeway article)
- Great Penzu article on Bible Journaling
- Another great how-to article on Bible Journaling
I know that this article is super long, but it’s a deep and expansive subject. I hope that if you stuck to the end you found some resources and inspiration to help you this year. The best way to stick with it is to share with someone and find a partner to help you on the journey.
It matters to me that people interact with God’s Word. It’s something I’m striving to do everyday with my 5 year old son and I hope that you are too.
What’s one thing that challenges you when it comes to Scripture intake? How can I help you?