Read the Bible Together in 2018
If you're like me at all, you've read the first two or three books of the Bible way more than you've read the rest of it. See if this sounds familiar to you:
- You start the new year with good intentions and holy ambition, setting out to read the entire Bible during the calendar year.
- The first few weeks you're on track and enjoying the exciting stories in Genesis and Exodus.
- By March or so, you're already weeks behind in your reading plan.
- By June, you've given up on the reading plan, but maybe are trying to keep up with a Psalm a day or a reading from the gospels.
- By the end of summer, it's over. "It's no use. Maybe next year," you think to yourself. And so the Bible sits, unopened, on your shelf. (Or your Bible app sits unclicked, collecting digital dust.
Is that just me?
It doesn't have to be this way. For one thing, reading the Bible shouldn't be just another boring ritual we're dutifully checking off, like an early morning trip to the gym. But also - and for our purposes, more importantly - you don't have to do it alone.
That's why in 2018, we're introducing a plan to read through the Bible together, as a community. Sure, most of your actual reading sessions will take place on your own time. But we'll be holding each other accountable as friends and followers of Jesus, and offering each other encouragement, insight, and refreshment that we've found from the Scriptures as we go.
Here's what to do:
1) Prepare Your Heart. Pray, and ask the Lord to prepare you to embark on this yearlong journey through his Word. Ask him to give you a greater desire for his Word - for him - than you've ever had before.
2) Make a Plan. Decide NOW when you'll do your daily readings, and then protect that time. You'll probably need about 30 minutes a day to stay on track. When are your best hours? When are you mentally and physically most alert? When do you have relatively quiet time and space in your natural daily schedule? Choose it, consecrate it to God, and maximize it. Invite your family and friends to help you protect that time and space, and leave it uninterrupted.
3) Download the App*. One of the cool things about the "Read Scripture" plan that we're following is that it's as easy as picking up your phone. The reading plan is divided into daily sessions, often including a video to help you understand what you're reading. When you finish the reading for the day, click the check-mark at the end of the reading, and you're all set for the next day. (Find out where to get the app here.)
4) Encourage One Another. If journaling is your thing, write down your questions, discoveries, and insights as you read. Bring your questions and insights with you to church gatherings and share with friends. Ask others in the church what they're learning from their time in the Scriptures. Be willing to share a brief testimony in our worship services of how God is speaking to your heart through his Word.
* If you'd rather skip the videos and prefer to read in a physical copy of the Scriptures, you can download the reading plan here, and just keep track of your readings on your own.
My prayer is that we'll find strength and accountability in community, and our shared commitment to God's Word will bear rich fruit in our lives and in our church. The journey is bound to be challenging, but rewarding - and ultimately worth it.
Will you join us?