A new year has begun and it’s a time for us to consider our lives in a unique way. There’s no magic in changing pages on our calendar or in a different number used to identify a year, but for many of us it is a time to think about what has been, what will be and, perhaps, what changes we’d like to make in our lives in the months ahead.
To be honest, I have stopped making major goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year. For some this is an key time to do that. For others (like myself) it never really went well….by the end of January I was discouraged or had already forgotten most of my grand plans for the new year. So I don’t make them – with one exception…
The start to a new year has become a special time for me to seek out a new Bible reading plan that I will use for the coming 12 months. I love to read the Bible and I like finding different methods to read through it. Just a few days ago I finished reading through a plan that was laid out chronologically (I read the passages in the order they happened). I enjoyed the insights that came through that way of reading the Bible. This year I have chosen a plan that is simply called “Blended”. It combines Old Testament readings with some in the New Testament to make one consider the connections between the 2 parts of the Bible. Two days into it, I’m enjoying it. 🙂
Beyond enjoyment, however, is it all that important for us to be reading the Bible on our own? What we hear on Sunday at church or in a podcast or vlog certainly gives us enough to think about, doesn’t it? Why add the pressure of reading the Bible everyday (or multiple times a week) to my full schedule? And if I do pick a plan to follow, won’t I run the risk of making it a burden and totally lose any joy I had because it’s now just another requirement on my to-do list?
Those are valid questions. And I certainly don’t want to suggest you add another “burden” to your already full days. The goal of reading the Bible is to learn and grow in our relationship with God, not to introduce another place of feeling guilt or shame for not living up to some man-made expectation of religious duty.
On the other hand, if giving a few minutes a day (5 to 15 minutes depending on the type of plan you would chose to follow) gives you a moment to pause, listen to God’s voice, and find perspective for your day, then I think the value for your time is immense. And while each day is perhaps a little different, that gift of focused time with God and his Word has been tremendous for me. Not only does it give me understanding for what I am facing or feeling, but it often gives me amazingly practical help to deal with my daily situations and struggles. I wouldn’t want to go long without time like that with the One who knows me and this world better than anyone else and loves me deeply.
My encouragement to you: find a plan and try it out for yourself. Not because you must, but because you want and need some time like that in your life.
There are many plans you can find online. In the past years, I have found a good collection of plans to be on YouVersion – Bible Reading Plans. I would suggest either a partial Bible plan (perhaps the New Testament) if you are trying a plan like this for the first time, or a whole Bible reading plan, but find one that interests and fits you.
If the time still seems like too much to you, check out this site: Bible Books Reading Time. It lists the books of the Bible from the shortest to the longest and how long it takes to read each. You might be surprised. 🙂 I know I was!
I hope you have a wonderful year, full of fun and success. But, to be honest, even more than that, I hope you and I get to know God better this year, and that we have a deeper understanding and love for the Word he gave us. I look forward to growing with you this year. And, as you are impacted through your time in the Bible, I look forward to hearing what God is showing you too. This is a personal thing for each of us, but not a private matter. Share with others what you’re learning. We will all be encouraged by it if you do.
Thanks for reading all this. It comes from my heart.
If you have questions or would like to talk more, send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.