One of the things that happen when every new year rolls around is that some Christians want to make a New Year’s resolution to read their Bible more. That’s an admirable goal and one that will pay off dividends, but also many fail before the year is through. How do you survive the next 12 months as a loyal Bible reader? Let me make a few suggestions.
1. Don’t try and eat the whole elephant!
Many say, “This year I am going to read through the whole Bible!” Well, let me warn you. Most “read-the-Bible-in-a-year” enthusiasts usually die like the children of Israel somewhere in the middle of Leviticus! I’m not saying that is a bad goal. What I would say is that it is a bad FIRST Bible reading goal. Once you have learned to have a regular Bible reading plan for a couple of years, THEN go for the whole Bible, but I would not recommend it for your first real commitment to the habit. Pick a goal you are more likely to actually achieve.
2. Don’t make a goal for the whole year!
Again, that is a daunting task if you have never done it before and haven’t yet established the habit. How about reading the book of Matthew in January and seeing how you do? January has 31 days. Matthew is 28 chapters. If you do 1 chapter a day, that sounds doable, right? You even have three days of wiggle room! Making shorter, doable goals – like monthly goals or even weekly goals for example – are going to help you. You don’t try and bench press 300 lbs your first day at the gym. You do hundreds of bench presses with MUCH smaller weights first, and then someday the 300 lbs are achievable. There are hundreds of Bible reading plans online; just Google for them.
3. Don’t let failure stop you!
For some reason, Christians always seem to be shooting for perfection. Not sure why.
When someone starts a Bible reading plan and then messes it up by missing a day or a
week or a month, or whatever, they end up so discouraged and self-judgmental about how horrible a Christian they are and think God must be so disappointed in them…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!!! Do you know who is REALLY happy when you do this? Satan! That’s who! Some famous Christian in church history said discouragement is Satan’s favorite tool to use against us. In contrast, George Sweeting said this: “The secret to a successful Christian life is a series of new beginnings.” Dust yourself off and get at it
4. Know your WHY!
Why are you doing this in the first place? To impress God? Hope if you read enough of the Bible he’ll like you more? Be nicer to you? Be able to brag in your small group? Do you want to know why I read the Bible? Because I’d be stupid NOT TO! I read the Bible because I need it. I need wisdom. I need encouragement. I need a spiritual kick in the pants. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know who does, and he has gone to great lengths to speak to me. He has given me his Word and his Holy Spirit and millions of gifted teachers through the centuries so I can hear him. Scripture is a gift! Stop treating it like an obligation as if you’re going to the dentist or something. Why read Scripture? Because I believe it makes my life better by showing me who God is, who I am, and how his world works. Why WOULDN’T I read it?!
Matthew in a month – 1 chapter a day
Proverbs in a month – 1 chapter a day
Romans in a month – that is roughly 15 verses a day
Philippians once a week for a month – that is roughly 15 verses a day
1 John once a week for a month – that is roughly 15 verses a day
James once a week for a month – that is roughly 15 verses a day
Ephesians once a week for a month – that is roughly 22 verses a day
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