7 Keys to Guilt-Free Bible Reading
Well it’s that time of year again, where most of us are barely waking out of our holiday food comas and begin to think about the new year that has dawned upon us. For many they begin by setting out that goal they wish to accomplish during the New Year. I’m normally one who doesn’t really go in for things like that, (not that I have anything against New Year’s resolutions) it’s just not my style. However, some years ago a friend recommended that I start out the New Year by doing a “through the Bible in a year” reading plan. At the time I was a new Christian and to be honest the thought of reading the whole Bible in a year felt a bit overwhelming, but I was up for the challenge. I made the commitment, and come December 31st I had made the journey from Genesis to Revelation. I can still remember the feeling of turning that last page, I had actually done it and I had learned so much along the way! I now had a better understanding of the Word of God and because of it my relationship with Christ grew deeper and deeper.
It’s 2015, a new year, a new opportunity to make a decision to start the year out right by spending each day with God and making the trip from Genesis to Revelations, and you know what the best part about it is? You are guaranteed to have a great time along the way!
Here are a few tips that can help you out in both picking a reading plan and keeping on track throughout the year:
- Check out www.youversion.com – I found this site last year, they have lots of great reading plans in various languages and even an app for smartphones that helps you keep on track with your daily readings, they also provide links where you can go to print out the reading schedule to keep tucked in your Bible.
- Pray – Seek God in not only how to go about reading the Bible in a year but also every time you pick it up. Taking the time to pray both before and after reading the Bible can drastically change what you get out of it.
- Don’t bite off more than you can chew – There are various plans for reading the Bible in a year, some go through the Bible once, some through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice, even the Bible three times in a year. It’s important to pick something you can handle, something that’s within your limits and won’t give you the feeling like you’re doing homework or trying to make a deadline.
- The right time to read is anytime – Finding a regular time to read the Bible is always a tricky thing, especially for those who may have a fluctuating work schedule, like myself. Some people read the Bible even before they get out of bed in the morning, (I am not one of them, I like to be conscious when I read) and therefore I need coffee beforehand. Sometimes I find myself flying out of the door trying to catch my tram before I even crack open the Bible and those days I simply find the next time I have some spare time and read then…. Usually it ends up being while I wait for the tram I just missed.
- Plough through the tough parts – As with a lot of New Year’s resolutions there can be a tendency to start off the year strong and lose steam shortly after, with the Bible it usually happens around Leviticus, but don’t give up! Keep going! If you feel like nothing is really sticking spiritually I recommend reading a Bible commentary or even reading another book of the Bible in addition to the one you may be having difficulty with.
- Don’t worry if you fall behind schedule – Let’s face it, life is unpredictable and for some reason or the other you might find yourself in the place where you are behind schedule on the reading plan. However, don’t let this stop you from continuing on, find ways to catch up. I usually add another chapter to my regular schedule till I am back on track.
- Switch things up next year – Come December 31, 2015 you might find yourself a bit sad that it’s over, but don’t worry there is always next year to do it again and of course there are lots of different ways to read through the Bible: the standard from start to finish approach, chronologically, the order events happen in the Bible historically, or the order the whole books were written. There are even websites that can help you make your own plan. Endless possibilities.
Whatever way you choose to do things, whether this year or the next, whether it’s your first time or your tenth time doing it, you will always come away from the experience changed. The time you invest in reading the Word of God is time well spent. The more we read, the better we understand who God is, what He has done for us, and as the knowledge sinks in it begins to change everything about us.