Reading the Bible in 2015
December 29, 2014 by Larry Lazarus 0 comments
As a new year dawns on us, I want to again take the time to encourage you to give yourselves to the regular habit and discipline of reading the Scriptures daily. Last year as a church we used a reading plan that took us through the New Testament over the course of the year. I’d like to encourage us to a bit more this year, though I’m mindful that no one plan is going to suit everyone’s needs and desires. So I will commend one particular plan for this coming year, and then point you to a wide array of other options, in hopes that if you don’t have a regular habit of reading the Bible, you would have the push you need to get started.
For 2015, I will be giving myself to the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan, which is named after Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Scottish pastor in the 19th century. Though he only lived thirty years, M’Cheyne was known throughout Scotland for his godly character and his devotion to reading, understanding and feeling the Scriptures. He saw the benefit of reading from more than one portion of Scripture at a time, so he devised a plan to aid readers in doing just that.
His plan is organized in four daily readings and takes you through the New Testament and Psalms twice, and the rest of the Bible once, over the course of the year (you can print the plan here). If the pace seems too daunting, you can choose to only read the first two readings this year, and then the second two readings next year (which will obviously cut your rate of progress in half).
To assist readers in going through M’Cheyne’s plan, Don Carson published two devotional books titled For the Love of God, which offers a short daily reading two supplement the Bible readings for each day. The books can be purchased online here and here, or you can catch up on the readings daily for free at the For the Love of God blog.
One drawback to the M’Cheyne plan – in comparison to the plan we used last year to get through the New Testament – is that there are no “catch up” days. The plan we used last year had only five readings per week, meaning that if you missed a day here and there, you could always easily make up for them. M’Cheyne’s plan has no built in days off, so if you miss a couple of days (which inevitably will happen, because of illness, travel, etc.), it can be discouraging to try to get caught up.
Let me encourage you to fight against that tendency and persevere, even if you miss a couple of days. Though it may be difficult to catch up, it is not impossible. Take a Sunday afternoon or whenever is convenient and sit down with your Bible for a couple of hours, and you can make up for missed days and get back on pace. You’ll spend 2-3 hours watching a sporting event, or a movie, or a television program. Why not spend that time reading the Bible? You can find the time, if exposing yourself to God’s Word is important enough!
But as I said at the beginning, I know that the M’Cheyne plan will not be for everyone. More important than what plan you choose, is to create for yourself a regular habit of feeding your soul on the nourishing food of God’s Word. From years of talking to believers, it seems that often times the lack of such a habit is because of the failure to have any kind of plan for how you will read through the Bible. And there are tons of plans out there, so surely one will fit your needs!
Tim Challies recently collected a variety of plans that will move you through the Bible at several different paces. Check out his blog post, peruse the options, and give yourself to one of them. Our God has said, "This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word" (Isaiah 66:2).
In 2015 and beyond, may you tremble at the precious, powerful word of the living God, by giving yourself to the regular reading of the Scriptures.
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