Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Bible Reading Plan Challenge

This started as an email to my small group, but I thought it might be helpful for some others as well. Instead of coming reading to discuss on Sunday, leave a comment!

Check out the two articles linked to below. The first one explains the why and the second the what of Bible-reading plans.

Some thoughts:
  • Pick something manageable. Don't try to be super-Christian, just find something you can do.
  • Consider your family--how will your wife or children be included in this plan? (writing to husbands, wives, how will you help your husband make this "stick"?)
  • To use biblical language: Gird up your loins! Make the plan work for January, after that the habit will be set.

Bible Reading for 2012 and why...

Bible Reading Plans for 2012

Specific Plan Suggestions
  • The Grant Horner plan is burly--10 chapters a day. You end up reading through sections of the bible many times (Prov. and Acts 12x!!) and the whole bible 1.5x in a year. This is a great plan if your goal is to be discouraged early on. If this plan is going to work, you really have to plan ahead. The how question is just as important as the what question. If you do nothing else with this plan, download it and read his story. His story is what we are after, but we can do that with different plans.
  • The ESV Study Bible Plan (ESV study bible not required!). I really like this plan. It has the benefits of the Horner plan without the massive investment. You will typically read 4-5 chapters a day instead of 10. My suggestion is to download the four bookmarks and use them instead of the giant list. Bookmarks are really nice
  • The M'Cheyne plan. This is ye ole' standby for bible reading. What I like about how they re-wrote it is that it has two chapters for private study, and two for family reading. This has the family element built right in. You can read your two chapters (a commitment of what, 8min?) in the morning before work and then spend 10min after dinner with the family going through the other two chapters. D. A. Carson's blog has commentary for each reading...could be helpful for the family time!
  • James Gray's plan is really cool. I've been blessed by this one as well. It has you read through one book of the bible multiple times until you "own" it. Far from boring, this plan opens up books of the bible like you wouldn't believe. It's great.

Thoughts from a Bible-Plan Flunkie

  • I like bookmarks because the day-specific plans can be really disheartening when it's July and you're still in Exodus. You'll have to take a week of vacation just to catch up, either that or every morning when you flip to your bible-reading-plan-calendar you can hear it silently mock your lack of discipline. This isn't planning for failure, this is focusing on what's important. I've become so depressed at how behind I was that I gave up a bible reading plan--and I don't think I'm the only one. The goal is to be regularly in God's Word, not to stick to some sort of calendar. Bookmarks don't mock you like a calendar does.
  • Don't over-think the family time. You aren't going to preach a sermon every night, or necessarily present a brilliant exposition of the two chapters that M'Cheyne suggested you read after Mac'n'Cheese. But you can read two chapters with your family and ask them what they were interested in. You can ask what they thought the point of the passage was. You can ask what they learned about God or Man or God's plan of salvation. You can ask what they struggled with, either by not understanding or because it went against something they believed the Bible said about God or man. If all of this lasts 15min with a time of prayer at the end, praise God! If you have really little kids, consider doing what Clint Archer suggests here (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2)

The Challenge!

What plan are you using and how will you incorporate your family into it? It doesn't have to be one from the list, it can be whatever you like, but take a few minutes this week and decide. I promise it'll be worth it. Come ready to share on Sunday.

Zachary Skrip
The Christian Leader
Stranded Scholar