Seeing as we are days away from the start of a brand new year, I thought it might be helpful to you all to do a post about Bible reading plans.
Let’s begin with the basics. Believers need to be in the Scripture daily because it is God’s Word to us. We can not know God without reading His word. The Word is what grows us in our sanctification (Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 1 Peter 2:2). In John chapter 17 in the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus prayed”Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (v.17). The Bible is where we learn about who God is, what He expects from us, and how to be saved from His wrath for our sins. It also has the answers to the challenges that we will face in our lives here on earth. The Bible gives us victory (Ephesians 6:17), power (Romans 1:16), guidance (Psalm 119:105) and God’s blessing (Luke 11:28). 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” The Bible also keeps us from error. If you are familiar with the truth, then you will be better equipped to spot the false. The Bible says that all believers are to be good Bereans (Acts 17:11).
In his book “How to study the Bible” John MacArthur gives the attributes of the Bible:
- The Bible is infallible in its totality (The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7)
- The Bible is inerrant in its parts (Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Proverbs 30:5-6)
- The Bible is complete (I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22:18-19)
- The Bible is authoritative and final (Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Psalm 119:89)
- The Bible is totally sufficient for your needs (all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16)
- The Bible accomplishes what it promises (o shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11)
- The Bible provides assurance of salvation ( Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. [John 8:47] but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. [John 20:31])
The most important aspect to Bible reading is to be consistent, read to study, and apply what you find there. The first few years after I was born again, my Bible reading strategy was to pick a book in the New Testament and read a chapter or so every morning. In the first few years of my walk I read through the New Testament 5 or 6 times. I also read during that time: Genesis, Exodus, Esther, Job, Psalms and Proverbs. But beyond those books I hadn’t read much of the Old Testament. I wanted to change that because all scripture is profitable, so I decided that an actual reading plan would be best so that I would have some accountability. It is also nice because a reading plan is a manageable portion for each day, already figured out for you. I decided on the MacArthur Daily reading plan. It is free and you can have it sent to your email each day. This particular reading plan covers a portion of the Old Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, and New Testament each day. It takes about 25 minutes to read the text, and in the email will be relevant commentary for that day’s reading. You can find that plan here if you are interested.
As of December 31 of this year, I will have done that plan twice. It took me awhile to get used to reading that way, but I have really enjoyed it. Most importantly, I have begun to see the overarching themes of the Bible more clearly. It is all interrelated. The Old Testament is often avoided by Christians and it shouldn’t be. The Old Testament is beneficial to us today because it clearly outlines God’s attributes, and since He is immutable those are still the same today. It also shows us His plan for redemption throughout human history. It gives us examples of fulfilled prophecy. I really encourage you to begin reading the Old Testament if you have not already.
There are many Bible reading plans out there that are free online. Whatever you choose, whether it is a daily plan or your own plan, the main thing is to just be in the Word!
Soli Deo Gloria!