We live in a world of endless resources.
We have information in print and online, audio and read, free and paid, entertainment and education, tabloid and truth. It can be wonderful. And overwhelming.
In a spiritual context, it is no different. We can find Bible studies, articles, sermons, commentary and blog posts for any topic we desire, to teach us anything we want. And again, it can be wonderful. And overwhelming.
It’s a gift to live in a world of resources, especially in a spiritual sense. But if we rely solely on them and never read the Bible itself, we lose so much. We miss context, direct insight from the Spirit, discernment, intimacy of relationship and a right view of God.
His word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), our sword (Ephesians 6:17), and ultimately, our best resource, always. For his word is trustworthy and true, and it exists without error.
This is my challenge as we enter a new year: read the whole Bible.
In all honesty, it took me five years to read through the Bible in a year my first time. But it was a starting point, and it initiated a routine and discipline that is still part of my life now. Every time I read, I learn new things. And I question new things. It’s a journey, and it’s a relationship, and it is so wildly worth the attention because it’s true. There is a king who reigns, who loves his people, and who made a way for us to know him. To love him. To be transformed by him.
His word is that path.
We make time for the things that matter to us. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not. But character and relationship grow in time. It doesn’t have to be perfect, for Jesus already was. But we can be present. We can be regularly available to our heavenly Father, who knows us and wants us to know him.
There are a variety of plans and options available, and I have a few favorites linked below.
However it works for you, whichever method or combination is most practical, my encouragement for the new year is to read the whole Bible. Get to know the God who made you. Dive deeper in your understanding of context – to specific passages and to the Bible as a whole. And, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen,” (2 Peter 3:18).
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. – Psalm 119:18
You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! – John 5:39
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
NLT One Year Study Bible – Option 1 or Option 2
This is the first plan I read through. The NLT translation is more readable and easier to understand. Reading includes some Old Testament, some New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs each day.
NIV Chronological Bible
I loved this option. I had never read the Bible chronologically, and this helped to piece so much together. It also includes commentary and historical context.
Multiple plans on the Holy Bible app. (Find plans – Search – Bible in one year)
Podcast – 1 Year Daily Audio Bible, Brian Hardin
5-Day Bible Reading Plan
I love that this plan allows you to read in your own Bible.
Try to do this with someone! Grab a family member, a friend, a co-worker, and read it together. And then talk about it! What are you learning? What don’t you understand?
And just for fun… pens and highlighters.
Additional Reading: Objections to reading the Bible
Comparing Bible Translations
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