When I go to a buffet, I like to scope it out before loading up my plate. I peruse the salad bar and the soup offerings. I check out the main entrees and sides, and, of course, eye up the dessert table. After this fly-over, I form my plan in order to make sure I have room for all the things I want to taste or indulge in. Without this big-picture approach, I may just dish up my old favorites and miss some new and exciting flavors.
Every five years or so, I sense a need to go back and recapture the grand sweep of the Bible. I much prefer the microscopic approach to study — choosing a small portion and burrowing down into it, squeezing out every bit of meaning and nuance. But from time to time, I feel the pull to step away from the microscope and lift my sights to the panoramic view.
This year’s plan is to read through the whole Bible.
I know it’s daunting.
I know it’s hard to push through Leviticus.
I know a year is a long time to stick with anything.
That’s why I’ve decided to try something different.
I’m going to read through the whole Bible in two months.
Thirty pages a day for 60 days.
I expect this fly-over will provide new taste experiences.
I know this landscape view will add valuable perspective.
Perhaps a 60 day gallop through the Good Book is not for you. Then let me challenge you to pick one book of the Bible you haven’t looked at for a while (or ever!) and read a chapter or two every day for two months.
In March, a reading plan will be available that will focus on the 2019 Lenten series.
(One year Bible reading plans can be found here.)
2018 Bible Reading Plan
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 similar to last year’s plan. Instead of reading big chunks of scripture, we will slow down and go 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 several Old and New Testament passages.
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 is 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!)