I‘ve written about this before, but 2010 was the FIRST YEAR I ever successfully completed a Bible in a year program!!!! I’ve tried multiple times and always fall flat on my face in a few months.
I used this plan from Bethlehem Baptist (of which I just recently found out it is from NavPress – my bad). Each day you’ll read from 4 different books in the bible – 2 Old Testament and 2 New Testament. It sounds like a huge commitment, but you could easily complete the readings in 20 minutes or so. To be honest, I never quite followed perfectly. I would often start reading, and instead of just reading Gen 1-2 for Day 1, I would read Gen 1-4 (which is actually Day 1 and 2) and Psalms 1-2 (Days 1 and 2) and catch up on my New Testament the next day. There’s some freedom within the plan which is fantastic and you can just do however you are feeling led that day.
But one of the easiest parts of the plan – and the reason I believe I stuck with it – is because there are 5+ “gimme” days each month. There are only 25 set readings days a month, so if you’re running late a few mornings and don’t read, or if you’re needing to camp out in the Psalms for a few days – no big! Your reading plan isn’t messed up forever. Also, it’s great because if scripture you read strikes you, you can spend a few days re-reading it and meditating on it.
One of my favorite parts is reading 4 different places in the bible at the same time. At first I felt like it would feel disconnected or like I was jumping all over the place, but the opposite actually happened. I was able to see the Bible as so much more of a cohesive book than I had ever seen it before. I would be reading about sacrificial law in Leviticus and my New Testament reading would take about Jesus as the ultimate sacrificial lamb – and I would understand so much more what that meant because I understood what the audience (the Jewish people) understood about their law!
But the ultimate best part of this plan is that I have known God’s word so much better than I ever have before. I have known the character and person of God more as well as His word and what it means for my life. I’m understanding context and history more than I ever have before! Granted I still have a LONG way to go.
I was trying to decide what to do for 2011 and I decided to do this plan again. I’m reading with expectation. Expecting God to show up and knowing that He will. This year I want to do more meditating on the word, understanding history, places and being able to remember WHERE I read things. I often remember something I read in the scripture, but it is so difficult for me to remember where it is. I want to remember what books of the bible are about, what chapters of the bible are about what. It is a challenge for me, but I’ve grown through this vessel the past year and I am hopeful the Holy Spirit will draw out more growth in me for 2011!
You don’t have to do this plan, but I encourage you to find something to be intentional in your time in God’s Word this year. Justin Taylor wrote a great blog post about all different plans – chock full of great resources. Check it out!