2020 is upon us and many will make their annual traditions of resolutions. Many of us are starting to form plans and goals for various reasons and purposes. Do you want to accomplish a financial goal such as getting rid of debt, achieve a particular fitness goal, or perhaps establish a new discipline? Some will even venture into the daunting task of reading through the Bible in a year. It’s daunting because many begin but only a few reach the finish line. We walk pass the Bible plans on the wall and we’re reminded of our failures. What started out to be a beautiful goal becomes a source of spiritual discouragement. Or worse, for those who succeeded, a source of spiritual pride. Here’s an idea, why don’t we set the plan aside? In this article I want to challenge us not to read through the Bible in a year but to read the Bible throughout the year.
Please don’t misunderstand me, if you find the yearly Bible reading plans helpful and if you can benefit from the structure they provide, do them. The important thing is to be in the Word in a meaningful way through the year. And there are many ways to do this. The ESV: Daily Office Lectionary is a daily audio reading that lasts about 13 minutes. The ReadScripture app is another great option, it walks you through the Bible everyday. Read a book of the Bible multiple times through the year in different translations. Challenge yourself and try to memorize large portions. Read a book of the Bible you have never known very well along with a commentary. If you don’t know which one to use, ask the librarian, a Deacon, an Elder, or me. Just be in the Word and if you forget, fall behind, or get tired of it…pray and keep going.
What we don’t want to happen, is that we started, then life got in the way and we stopped. Don’t stop. Keep going. Pick a book and go through it with a friend and agree to read through a chapter a month together. Hebrews has thirteen chapters, try that! Immerse yourself in it, read, and pray and watch how God uses it in your life. We’re not in a competition. It’s not a race. It’s for your benefit, for your good. What good is it to you, if to read the whole Bible but missed the whole point?
Imagine if your brother or sister is struggling and asks you for prayer. And for the last six months you’ve been reading and meditating on the epistles of 1, 2, and 3 John. Think of the rich and full words of God’s faithful love with which you could comfort them in their moment of need. And what just happened? God used you to bless and comfort his people and blessed you in the process. That happens because you spent time in those short, little, rich epistles and digested them.
Stay in the Word, let the Word shape us and be ready to be used by God.