It is that time of year again to prayerfully choose a Bible reading plan for 2018. December 1st begins the last month of 2017. Hopefully you have been able to fulfill your 2017 bible reading plan. If you are behind, December is the last chance to "double-down," catch-up, and complete your program.
Forgive me for saying it again, however, merely completing a plan is not a plan. Ultimately it is not the quantity that matters, it is the quality of the reading which has been completed. The object is to meditate, to absorb, to master each book of the bible in order to live out it's message and/or teaching. Simply "checking off" a box will never renew your mind nor transform you into the image of God's dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Most of you know that I am not a fan of most reading plans. You know that I have struggled with them for quite some time. Most of the time I failed to complete them which made me feel guilty and miserable. For quite some time I swore off of them completely.
For the past couple of years I have settled on a plan that enabled me to take my time through the Old Testament in a year and then allowed me in the following year to read the New Testament. This way I would be reading the Bible every two years. The value of this plan and pace allowed me to slow down a bit, read for value and content, and to meditate on important passages and principles.
I continued to think on my "reading plan" and why I felt it was important to always be reading the Scripture. As a result I have come to this conclusion about the intake of Scripture. First, allow me to share with you my ideas on scripture intake.
- Reading the Scripture is absolutely vital - you must be committed to regular reading the scriptures with a viable plan
- Hearing the Scripture faithfully and accurately taught during the weekly gathering of a local body of believers
- Studying a particular book of the bible, a bible character, a bible doctrine, or a bible topic with an in depth method. Devotional reading is different than an in depth study. I think both are necessary.
- Meditating deeply on a particular book of the bible, or a passage in order to extract its life-giving nectar
- Memorizing scripture consistently throughout the year
I chose to read the Old Testament through during 2017. As of today, I am on schedule to complete the OT on December 31. It has been a great experience. I have read and spent considerable time thinking on various passages throughout the OT by being able to concentrate on it alone.
Secondly, let me share with you my bible intake plan that I will utilize (by God's infinite grace) in 2018:
I am going to read the New Testament over the next two years. My intent is to read slowly and to think deeply over its content. I have taken the time during November to break several books of the New Testament into paragraphs. I have used the internal paragraph breaks that most bible contain, but I have also tried to look at the content of the paragraphs in order to make sure I begin and end each paragraph accurately.
So, for 2018, I am going to prayerfully, meditatively, and slowly work through the following books of the bible:
Read the Scripture
- Luke (Jan 1 - Apr 30)
- Acts (May 1 - Aug 8)
- Galatians (Aug 9 - 24)
- 1 Thessalonians (Aug 25 - Sept 2)
- 2 Thessalonians (Sept 3 - Sept 6)
- 1 Corinthians (Sept 7 - Oct 15)
- Romans (Oct 16 - Oct 25)
- 2 Corinthians (Oct 26 - Dec 25)
- Titus (Dec 26 - Dec 31)
Meditate on Scripture
The plan is to think deeply on each paragraph search for the main principle of the paragraph and for the appropriate application for my life. I will not be reading simply to read but to understand with the goal of living out the text.
Hear the Scripture
Lord willing it is my intent and commitment to be obedient to Scripture and to regularly gather with a local body of believers where the word is taught grammatically, historically, literally, and expositionaly. True bible teaching churches are rare, yet finding one and being a part of one is absolutely vital for genuine believers.
Study the Scripture
My plan for 2018 is to study the book of Ephesians exegetically. I hope to master the contents of this book for God's glory and my good.
Memorize the Scripture
I did not do as well as I would have liked in this portion of my Scripture intake plan. I ashamed, but have confessed it to God and will move on with a plan for 2018. I intend on memorizing by God's grace one verse per week, for 52 strategic passages of Scripture.
Now let me conclude with three (3) thoughts:
First - do not avoid the regular and steady intake of God's word. It is vital that you renew your mind, be renewed by the Word, and be able to understand what the good will of God is.
Second - do not be intimidated. It is not as much work as you might think. Discipline, organization, and scheduling is vital. We really waste a lot of time. We fail to "see" and utilize many opportune times during our day.
- it is crucial to take some time dedicated to planning
- it is crucial to develop a workable plan for you
- it is crucial to monitor that plan
Remember, Benjamin Franklin once said,"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Plan, Practice, Police, and Profit.
- Plan - develop a plan for you
- Practice - consistently work that plan
- Police - regularly monitor your goals, plans, & results
- Profit - enjoy the working of God in your life through the Word
Third - Don't make this a burden. If you miss a day or several don't quit. Just get up the next morning and pick it up again.
So, what is your plan for 2018?
I would love to see it!
See ya on the other side of 2018!!