I need a plan. If I fail to plan, I can plan to fail. So I create a Bible reading plan each year to keep me on track.
This year’s reading plan is going to be a little different from what we’ve done the past 3 years. Instead of reading big chunks of scripture, we will be slowing down and going deeper into smaller passages each week. This plan is modeled after Anne Graham Lotz’s study method that helps us engage with the Word, not just read it and check it off our list.
This plan will take us through the Gospel of Luke, 2 Corinthians, and 1 & 2 Peter. Woven throughout the year are Old Testament passages that are referenced in our New Testament readings.
At the beginning of each week (preferably on Sunday) there is one chapter (or two) to read. A passage of 10-15 verses is suggested for deeper study on Monday-Friday, taking 2 or 3 verses each day. Saturday is a catch up day.
The goal with this plan to become consistent and disciplined in daily time with the Lord. It may seem complicated and labored at first, but once the habit is established, it will become a cherished part of your day. On weekdays, you may want to set aside 15 minutes with your Bible, a pen or pencil and a notebook. (See below for suggested study method.) God will meet you there! You are welcome to read along with me this year!
5 Step Bible Study Method
Step 1: Look at the passage — read over the 2-3 verses for the day. (Example: for the first week in January we are studying Luke 2:41-52, so on Monday you could read verses 41-43; on Tuesday, v. 44-45; Wednesday, v. 46-47; Thursday, v. 48-49; Friday, v. 50-52)
Step 2: List the facts — in your notebook, make a list of the facts in the passage. Don’t put it in your own words, but use actual words from the passage itself.
Step 3: Learn the lessons — look for a lesson to learn from each fact by asking: What are the people in the passage doing that I should be doing? Is there a command I should obey? A promise I should claim? A warning I should heed? An example I should follow? Focus on the spiritual lessons. Write down the lessons in your notebook.
Step 4: Listen to His voice — rephrase the lessons you found into questions you could ask yourself. Listen for God to communicate to you through His Word. Don’t rush. It may take you several minutes of prayerful meditation to discover meaningful lessons and hear God speaking to you. The object is not to get through it, but to develop a vibrant personal relationship with God. Write down the questions in your notebook.
Step 5: Live it out — record what God seems to be saying to you and your response to Him. How will you follow through in obedience?
Stick with it! It becomes second nature very quickly! (See example below.) God bless you as you seek to learn this simple yet effective method of reading His Word so that you might hear His voice speaking to you personally through it.
John 15:17 “This is my command: Love each other.”
Step 1: Simply read the passage! (It’s always good to pray before reading – “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Word.” Psalm 119:18)
Step 2: List the facts. What does God’s Word say?
- This is my command
- Love each other
Step 3: Learn the lessons. What does God’s Word mean?
- Jesus has authority to make commands. I am under that authority.
- We are commanded to love each other. (Not encouraged, not suggested…)
- Sometimes we need to be told to love each other.
- Jesus was speaking to believers.
- There are no conditions on love for others.
- Jesus didn’t mention anything about feelings.
- We don’t need to be commanded to love our kids, so this commandment is for difficult people, people we might not choose to love.
- To love is an act of obedience.
Step 4: Listen to His voice. What does God’s Word mean to me?
- Do I consider His commands to be optional?
- Why does Jesus have to command me to love?
- Who do I need to love today?
- How can I do a better job of loving?
- Do I recognize that sometimes I am someone’s “difficult person” to love?
- Do I recognize that sometimes I am God’s “difficult person” to love?
Step 5: Live it out. How will I respond to God’s Word?
- I will pray for the Holy Spirit to fill me with love for others.
- I will reach out to someone at work today who I usually overlook.
- I will make an effort to express appreciation to someone I usually try to avoid.
(You don’t need to write “Step 1, Step 2,…” each time. You may prefer to make three columns in your notebook for recording your thoughts in steps 2, 3, 4, with room at the bottom to write how you will live it out. Feel free to tweak this to fit your style!)