Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

Month: December 2018

Five Bible Reading Plans for 2019


“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

(Psalm 61:2b ESV)

As we launch into 2019, I want to encourage you to put a Bible reading plan together for the new year (if you don’t have one already).

Here are 4 Principles and 5 Plans to Read the Bible this Year from Pastor Philip Nation (everything in italics below):


 

Many believers look for a systematic Bible reading plan as they enter a new year. As you consider how you’ll deepen your devotional life and understanding of the Bible, let me make a few suggestions.

  1. Remember the goal. The main reason for reading the Bible is to encounter God. The Scriptures are His self-revelation to us. Use “finishing the plan” as a goal but not thegoal. Make your aim to become more intimate with God through engaging His Word.
  2. Plans are made for you and you are not made for the plans. Over the course of the year, you will likely have a smattering of days where the Bible reading plan goes unattended. It will be because of a blip of spiritual apathy and sinfulness. You’ll have an emergency that interrupts the whole of life. Events will occur where you need to abandon the plan for reading and studying some other portion of the Bible. Remember that the reading plan is a tool for you to use, not a master that decides your spiritual fate. Be faithful to God and His Word; not to a plan that someone wrote and posted online.
  3. Seek the whole counsel of God. Too many people hop, skip, and jump through topical readings about their favorite subjects. Finding a solid plan and sticking with it will allow you to get the full overview of God’s revelation and a deeper understanding of how it all works together.
  4. Pick a plan that will benefit you. There are no shortages of plans to use. In a previous post, I listed 14 different plans. Besides the ones listed there, here are a few others to consider using.

Here are five plans that you could consider using in the year ahead.

90 Day Reading. On occasion, I have plowed through the Bible with a 90-day plan. It requires reading somewhere around 13 chapters per day. However, I’ve developed my own version that fluctuates between nine chapters (in some places of the New Testament) and 25 (in the Psalms). It is an intense process.

Day-by-Day Chronological Bible edited by George Guthrie. I’m utilizing this edition in my devotional life this year.

Foundation 260 Plan from Robby Gallaty. Replicate Ministries has wonderful resources for discipleship and Bible engagement. I love the F260 Plan. The Foundations books and The Disciples Bibles are great resources that help you move through it as well.

The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan. The Navigators developed this plan and it is a great one to mix the OT and NT each day in your reading.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan. The original by M’Cheyne with a few various ways to print are available. A solid system for anyone who wants a one-year plan.

You Version app. There are no shortages of Bible reading plans on the most popular Bible app.

Ultimately, we should discipline ourselves to read the Bible because it is the great Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) that God uses to reveal Himself and conform us to the image of Christ. Reading it is the spiritual endeavor to know Him, seek His ways, and understand ourselves better. It is a primary habit for our holiness.


This Christmas… take time to read a good book

Karen Swallow Prior (Author and professor of English at Liberty University) has written an excellent book entitled On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books (Brazos Press – 2018).

Here are a few quotes I pulled out as I read her book this Fall. May they motivate and encourage you to slow down and pick up a good book this Christmas… and savor it.


“Literature helps to humanize us. It expands our range of experiences. It fosters awareness of ourselves and the world. It enlarges our compassion for people. It awakens our imaginations. It expresses our feelings and insights about God, nature, and life. It enlivens our sense of beauty.” (Leland Ryken)

“Reading virtuously means, first, reading closely, being faithful to both text and context, interpreting accurately and insightfully.”

“Indeed, there is something in the very form of reading – the shape of the action itself – that tends toward virtue. The attentiveness necessary for deep reading (the kind of reading we practice in reading literary works as opposed to skimming news stories or reading instructions) requires patience.”

Nicholas Carr explains in The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains that ‘the linear mind is being pushed aside by a new kind of mind that wants and needs to take in and dole out information in short, disjointed, often overlapping bursts – the faster, the better.’”

“Whether you feel you have lost your ability to read well, or you never acquired that ability at all, be encouraged. The skills required to read well are no great mystery. Reading well is, well, simple (if not easy). It just takes time and attention.”

“Therefore, even as you seek books that you will enjoy reading, demand ones that make demands on you: books with sentences so exquisitely crafted that they must be reread, familiar words used in fresh ways, new words so evocative that you are compelled to look them up, and images and ideas so arresting that they return to you unbidden for days to come.”

“Also, read slowly. Just as a fine meal should be savored, so, too, good books are to be luxuriated in, not rushed through. Certainly, some reading material merits a quick read, but habitual skimming is for the mind what a steady diet of fast food is for the body.
         Speed-reading is not only inferior to deep reading but may bring more harm than benefits: one critic cautions that reading fast is simply a ‘way of fooling yourself into thinking you’re learning something.’
         When you read quickly, you aren’t thinking critically or making connections. Worse yet, ‘speed-reading gives you two things that should never mix: superficial knowledge and overconfidence.’”

“Don’t be discouraged if you read slowly. Thoughtfully engaging with a text takes time. The slowest readers are often the best readers, the ones who get the most meaning out of a work and are affected most deeply by literature.”

“Read with a pen, pencil, or highlighter in hand, marking in the book or taking notes on paper. The idea that books should not be written in is an unfortunate holdover from grade school, a canard rooted in a misunderstanding of what makes a book valuable.
         The true worth of books is in their words and ideas, not their pristine pages. One friend wisely observed that ‘readers are not made for books – books are made for readers.’”

“Reading well adds to our life – not in the way a tool from the hardware store adds to our life, for a tool does us no good once lost or broken, but in the way a friendship adds to our life, altering us forever.”

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” (Francis Bacon)

“Seventeenth-century Puritan pastor Richard Baxter writes, ‘It is not the reading of many books which is necessary to make a man wise or good; but the well reading of a few, could he be sure to have the best… Good books are a very great mercy to the world.’”


The greatest benefit will always come from reading and engaging Scripture… in the midst of reading other good books, make time for the Good Book.

“Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let them show it by their good life,
by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

(James 3:13)

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