Pursuing God's Word | Resources for Reading Scripture in 2020

Resources Featured

Beginning a new year presents us with an opportunity to freshly appreciate the treasure God has given us in the Scriptures, and to renew our devoted pursuit of God through his Word. Here are some suggested resources to encourage you in that great pursuit.


Scripture Reading Plans

Many things go undone because of the absence of a plan—and there is no shortage of plans for helping us make our way steadily through our bibles. Bible reading plans are excellent tools to help us maintain an intentional, steady diet of bible intake. In considering such a plan, keep in mind these benefits and considerations:

  • Perhaps the greatest benefit to a bible reading plan is they provide a specific entry point each day into Scripture—they in effect “make an appointment with your bible,” and it’s one you’ll want to keep. A sure way to lose motivation in bible reading is to arrive each morning with no idea where to start or dip in.
  • Reading plans also discipline you to cover parts of the bible you wouldn’t otherwise read. In-depth bible study is important, but daily bible reading provides a breadth in our exposure to “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
  • The urge to keep pace with a reading program can sometimes prevent us from the critical practice of meditating upon Scripture—lingering long over verses and phrases and words for understanding, spiritual nurture, and prayer. If you find a reading plan is preventing you from engaging God’s word, simply consider cutting readings in half, covering a day’s assignment in two. A one-year plan can then be completed in two, while providing you with extra time for rich engagement with a portion of God’s word.

This article from Ligonier Ministries describes 16 different bible-reading plans you can consider, each with different rhythms, lengths, and goals:

In this podcast, David Mathis, author or Habits of Grace, discusses how anyone can make Bible reading a habit in 2020. He reflects on the pros and cons of New Year's resolutions, shares why he prefers the term habits of grace rather than spiritual disciplines, and offers practical advice on making a plan to read the Bible every day.


Resources to Motivate Your Pursuit of God’s Word

I always keep my eye out for new books on the practice of the spiritual disciplines. Even if they cover some of the same ground, I always find wonderful reminders and fresh motivation to pursue the Lord through the means of grace he has provided. Here are some that your pastors have found especially helpful:

Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciples, David Mathis (Crossway, 2016). This brief, satisfying book focuses on three main disciplines: the Word, prayer, and fellowship in the church. Mathis does a great job rooting these practices in the gospel, addressing our hearts, and providing many practical suggestions.

When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, John Piper (Crossway, 2004). If you’ve not read Piper’s work, his call for us to fight to lay hold of the treasures that are in Christ is a powerful introduction. The book contains two chapters each on the Word and prayer—in your practice of the spiritual disciplines, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more compelling motivation.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney (1991, 2014 {revised edition}, NavPress). This is a classic text that covers a whole range of spiritual disciplines: prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, etc. The two chapters on “bible intake” will equip you with advice that’s both inspiring and practical.


Resources to Help You Understand God’s Word

Nothing will motivate you more in reading the bible than understanding it better. Different books contribute different things in this regard. Here are some ones we think are helpful.

Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, and Living God’s Word, Stephen Nichols (Crossway, 2011). Steve does two important things in this book: he provides the reader the big picture of the bible’s story, and helps us to see how we are to live out our own stories in light of that story.

God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Story-Line of the Bible, Vaughan Roberts (InterVarsity, 2002). This is perhaps the best, simplest overview of the overall story of the bible and how each sections fits together.

Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me, Kevin DeYoung (Crossway, 2014). As we read God’s Word, it’s critical that we have solid convictions about God’s Word. Kevin provides an excellent, accessible overview of the bible’s teaching about itself (the doctrine of Scripture), which will both strengthen your convictions about Scripture and cultivate your appetite for Scripture.


Can you imagine a church where every member pursues, listens to, believes, thrills over, obeys, and applies God’s Word? May this year be one where we join together in such a glorious pursuit.