Read With Us | Bible in a Year
Happy New Year, SGCL!
I want to invite (or challenge) you to join us in reading through the Bible in 2019.
What?! It’s such a big book. I will have to read Numbers! I know, there are plenty of reasons people get bogged down. But most of these reasons are easily overcome. If you haven’t read through the Bible, or haven’t in a while, I want to encourage you to consider joining us in 2019. Here are four reasons why:
ALL Scripture is breathed out by God, and is profitable… (2 Tim 3:16–17). We’ve seen recently how (surprisingly) edifying the genealogies of Exodus can be.
You will gain a deeper grasp of the big storyline of the Bible. The New Testament builds upon the Old Testament. In the NT, we find the promises of the OT are kept, the imagery of the OT is fulfilled, the hope of the OT brought to fruition. The whole Bible points to Jesus in one way or another (Luke 24:27).
You will see God’s providence on display. You might not expect God to meet you in a profound way during your daily reading in, say, Joel. But whenever we come to this book with faith, the Lord opens the eyes of our hearts to see. He meets us in parts of Scripture to which we wouldn’t normally gravitate. You may find a verse you’ve never read in a book you’ve read a lot of times. This happened to me the other day: I was freshly provoked reading Daniel 11:32, "...the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” What a great verse!
There are special blessings that come from reading along with others. Enlist your spouse, your kids, your roommates, or your fellow community group members to read the same plan. We enjoy unique fellowship when we tell someone, “I was reading this morning in Isaiah 40…” and they respond, “I was too!” We can draw encouragement and endurance from knowing that we are in this together with our brothers and sisters.
Here are a few suggestions that might help you stay on track:
Pick a plan. There are a ton of them out there. The ESV app on your phone has a number of plans built right in and will track your progress for you. I like Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s reading plan: it lists your readings in four columns. Read the first three columns, and you get through whole Bible in 365 days. Add the fourth column, and you take another lap through the New Testament and Psalms. Also, D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God provides short meditations on each daily reading, with compelling insights and suggestions for application. Discipleship Journal’s reading plan is also popular. For a wider selection of plans, Ligonier has a pretty comprehensive list: https://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/.
Decide ahead of time on a specific time, place, and duration. Aim for consistency. Habits are powerful, and the longer you can stay with it, the easier it will be to stay with it.
Plan for catch up days. Everybody gets behind; it’s probably the biggest reason people give up a month into it. Decide now that once a week, you’ll read a couple chapters to get caught up. Or play the audio version while you’re getting ready for church.
PARENTS, consider introducing your children to the yearly habit of reading through the Bible in a year. Be realistic, and choose a plan that is age appropriate, but don’t underestimate what an 8-year old can get done in 10 minutes of daily reading! Plus, you’ll have a built-in agenda for family devotions around a daily family meal.
So, I hope you’ll join us. Reading the Bible is its own reward, and reading the whole Bible is especially rewarding. John Newton wisely said, “The best advice I can give you: Look unto Jesus, beholding his beauty in the written word.” I look forward to hearing the testimonies of how God meets you in your Bible reading in 2019