Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Setting yourself up for Bible reading success in 2013

In my January 2012 church newsletter column I encouraged folks to make a New Year's resolution to read through the Bible in the year. After all, 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, among other things, that all scripture is God-breathed and equips us for every good work. I can't think of a book more worthy of habitual reading than one that is God-breathed and equips us for every good work.

Last year I suggested several methods of reading through the Bible in a year, but one in particular appealed to me then. Zondervan, a publisher of the New International Version (NIV), has made available a schedule for reading through the entire Bible in 90 days. The page numbers reference a special 90-day version of the NIV, but you can ignore those and go by the chapter numbers.

If people have trouble reading the Bible in a year, what makes me think there would be a higher success rate in attempting to read the Bible in 90 days? I wonder if many may find it easier to stick to a discipline for three months rather than 12 months. Furthermore, what if you try the 90-day plan, but you miss some days and it winds up taking you six months or 12 months to finish instead of 90 days? So what? You will still read through the whole Bible within the calendar year, which is better than most Bible readers in our culture.

This year, I'm going to suggest a modification to this 90-day schedule. If you look at the link above, you will see that you don't get to the New Testament until day 68 of 90. Start there, picking up with Matthew, not the the end of the Old Testament. If you can hang with the schedule for 22 days, beginning at day 68, then you will at least read through the entire New Testament. Once again, if you miss a few days and the process takes longer than 22 days, don't quit. 

The New Testament is, of course, a lot shorter than the Old Testament. You can build on your success of completing the New Testament by turning your attention to the Old Testament. Perhaps in this way the discipline of reading through the Bible in a year will become less intimidating. 

We can do this.


Unknown said...

I took your advice last year and changed my goal from 1 year to 90 days. I am so happy to report that I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in 90 days! Many have asked if I comprehended everything I read . . . absolutely NOT! I did dig deeper using commentaries on some topics; however, I didn't everyday or even every other day. My goal now is to reread the bible and to study the text more indepth. Thanks so much for your suggestion last January! Happy New Year!

willie said...

Interesting 90 day! One percent of teh Bible rounded to the nearest chapter is 12 and I cut that in half and shoot to read 6 chapters a day and usually finish in about 300 or so days. But that was after the first read of 13 or so months and the 2nd time I purposely decided to take the better part of two years and lots and lots of notes. Then and only then (other than when I was in Bible college) did I feel comfortable in reading teh Bible in less than a year (about 300 or days average ) But what really helps me just knowing where to start and keep reading until I am satisifyed and then recording the new chapters I read in a journal as I go along (for ex Gen 1-3 check, gen 4-6 check, gen 7-9 (next days goal) Since I know that (approx) 12chapters = 100 days 6 = 200 3 = 400 days 2= about 20 months 1 = 3.25 years, I can make an assessment anytime to see how I am doing short term and longh term .. for instance if over a 10 day period I have read 30 chapters than my reading rate is that of a 13 month Bible read. Also I can add Books. I have competely read the Bible about or exactly 6 times in a row.

willie said...

Just read in succession starting with Genesis 1-3 in pencil then Gen 4-6 and keep going until you are finished.. you can read more or less each day.. just make changes by erasing (ex Gen 4-6 to Gen 4-5), and always put a check mark next to what you wrote). TO be honest I keep tract of my reading on a computer spreadsheet with a goal or 6 chapters a day but I wanted to make this real easy for everyone to get started. I have used this fill it in as you go method for over 6 years and have never failed to finish reading teh Bible this way (completely read teh Bible approx or exactly 6 times)

willie said...

Just fill it in as you go along ..log in what oyu read gen 1 to 3 check 3-6 check etc I have completely read teh Bible this way .. you can just use a notebook and pencil withan erasel and adjust as you go along (eg Gen 1-3 chang to Gen 1 to 2 if you only read 2 chapters that day and put a cehck mark next to the two and pick it up teh next day starting with chapter 3-6) I have red the Bible 6 times in a row by just filling in what I read as I go along

David Stratton said...

Sorry to be slow in posting your comments, Willie. Great advice and great work!