Resolve to Read the Word in 2016
by Marlin Caddell
December 24, 2015
John 5:37-40: And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
Luke 24:25-27: And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
I hope you and your family got a chance to go to either Christmas at the Bama service on Sunday. If not, you missed this video that is absolutely worth a second look.
As we are coming to the end of 2015, you may be thinking through some New Year’s resolutions. Resolving to read Scripture (individually, with your family or in a group) could and should be on that list. There are some really good plans to help you do it. (I’ve listed some at the end of this blog.)
But, as you are trying to pick out a Bible reading plan that works in 2016, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. All of Scripture points toward Jesus. The Bible is not a disconnected set of books with chapters, verses and stories that don’t make sense together. The entire Old Testament is filled with promises that God makes to send a Savior.
2 Corinthians 1:20 says, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
The story of Adam and Eve tells us of our beginning and the fall of man, but it points to the true and better Adam (Jesus Christ) who crushes Satan’s head! All the men and women in Scripture, from Abraham and Moses to David and Esther, point us toward the coming of Christ and His saving work.
Just because a reading plan sends you hopping around the Bible, remember that the stories are all connected together and are telling the grand story of God fulfilling His promises to send a rescuer for us!
In John 5:37-40, we see a group of Pharisees who have studied Scripture. They’ve read it. Memorized it. They can recite and teach it. But, when they missed Jesus as the coming savior and king, they missed the whole point.
2. Reading the Word should be accompanied by prayer.Reading the Bible isn’t about checking a box off your list or fulfilling some spiritual obligation. This is our chance to truly hear from God. God speaks through His Word. God proclaims His greatness and His love to us in all 1,189 chapters, 31,173 verses and 807,361 words. Don’t ever lose the awe that God, the ruler of the whole universe, speaks to us!
So when we read, we should be praying for God to clearly speak to us through what we’re reading and to show us how we should live in the light of what we’ve read. Absorb His Word. Lock it in your heart.
Pray for God to give you a fresh love for reading His Word. Psalm 119:14-16 says, “In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”
3. Reading the Bible isn’t a race to see how quickly you can get through it. The temptation of reading plans is to speed through them because there can be a lot of material to cover. It’s OK to read slowly. It’s OK to need to read a chapter before and a chapter after to understand what’s going on.
Give yourself permission to get “behind” on your reading as long as you actually are prayerfully and consistently reading. Also, when (not if) you miss a day of reading, don’t give up. Go back to His Word, pick it up and read.
Merry Christmas and happy New Year!
Possible Bible Reading Plans
M’Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan
Link to Print
— With this plan, you’ll read through the New Testament twice, the Psalms twice, and the rest of the Old Testament once.
Discipleship Journal Reading Plan
Link to Print
— One of the benefits of this reading plan is that there are only 25 readings in a month. That way, if you get “behind”, you can catch up.
The Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers
Link to Print
— The benefit of this plan is it doesn’t assign specific readings to dates but to days of the week. That way, if you need to slow down, pick up with the day of the week. It also breaks up each day into genres.
Mondays: Penteteuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
Tuesdays: Old Testament history
Wednesdays: Old Testament history
Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
Fridays: New Testament history
Saturdays: New Testament epistles (letters)