Have you decided “Bible reading” is going to be on your list of New Year’s Resolutions? If so, join the thousands of Christians who do the same thing. The two tougher questions are: Has Bible reading been on your list before? and Did you follow through? (Insert heavy sigh here.)
Today I want to share four options to get you started on the right foot. Hopefully, the result will be you enjoy the Bible more, know the Bible better, and read the Bible more regularly than ever before.
For each one, I provide a brief description, links to other posts where I have written more deeply about the plan, as well as links to resources to maximize each plan.
ONE: Rapid Bible Read Thru (3-6 Months)
I start with this one because it is how I begin each year (since 2010). A rapid Bible read thru is any reading of the whole Bible in six months or less. I typically shoot for four months (about 45-60 minutes of reading each day).
It is amazing to immerse yourself in the full narrative of God’s Big Story! Every year I am blown away by new insights and a renewed confidence in a God who has been faithfully engaged with messy people (like me) for thousands of years! Not to mention it is a fantastic foundation for all of the deeper study I do for the rest of the year.
- Rapid Bible Read Thru – My book where I lay out the Why, What, and How of doing and hosting a Rapid Bible Read Thru.
- The post to RBRT 2018 with a video from me, FAQs, and links to sign up to to join me this year…as well as a couple hundred other people around the world!
- A post I wrote called 4 Benefits of Reading the Entire Bible You Probably Haven’t Thought Of
TWO: ReadScripture App & Plan (5-12 months)
This is also an “entire Bible” plan. It’s put together by The Bible Project in partnership with Francis Chan. It is an app you can download to your phone or tablet and check off the readings as you do them. NOTE: While it’s setup as a 1-year reading plan, it’s very simple to read multiple days and make the plan as long or short as you wish.
What makes this plan unique – and why I love it so much! – is the integration of video overviews as you begin each book. The 6-9 minutes it takes to get an overview of a book of the Bible is extremely helpful for beginners and longtime Bible readers alike.
- The ReadScripture home page (with links to FAQs and apps)
- The Bible Project
- The printable version of the ReadScripture plan
- A post I wrote about the app (with screenshots, intro video, and Genesis overview video)
THREE: The “New Disciple Challenge” (4 Months)
Are you new to the Bible? Have you been a Christian less than two years? Could you use a “refresher” in the life of Jesus and the early church?
If you said “YES!” to any of these questions, the New Disciple Challenge is just what you need. Here’s the super-simple overview:
- Set aside 20-40 minutes a day.
- Focus ONLY on Mathew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts.
- Read each gospel (M, M, L and J) for two weeks each.
- In between each gospel, read Acts for two weeks.
That’s it. At the end of the four months you will have walked through the life of Jesus 8-12 times and the happenings of the early church another 8-12 times. After those four months you’ll be ready to dive into one of these other options. (So make sure you bookmark this page!)
- A podcast episode (and written post) where I go into greater detail about the New Disciple Challenge.
- A post with a “modified” version of the New Disciple Challenge
- I devote part of Chapter 9 in my book – How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible – to the New Disciple Challenge (as well as the Rapid Bible Read Thru).
FOUR: Dive Deep Into One Short Book (60 Days)
Do you have a favorite “short book” of the Bible. Would you like to know it deeply? Not just know as in “memorize,” but know as in “internalize.” Understand it. Remember it. Be able to ponder it as you go throughout your day…not to mention have God bring it to your mind whenever HE wants!
If so, there is no better way than to do a “60-day adventure.” One month looking at the Big Picture of the book (what I like to call “watching the movie”). Another month walking verse-by-verse through the book you’ll now be very familiar with. (Think of Month #2 as “studying the scenes of the movie.”)
NOTE: If you don’t know where to start, I highly recommend you start with Philippians, II Timothy, or Ephesians. They are all short, you’ll be very familiar with many of the verses, and they are each filled with encouragement, beauty, and practical application.
- If you want a high-level overview of my entire approach to Bible study – as well as a day-by-day plan for Philippians and II Timothy – you’ll find it in my book How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible.
- My book Falling in Love with God’s Word: Discovering What God Always Intended Bible Study to Be is my thorough, deep-dive into every aspect of doing a 60-Day Adventure. I put the whole process into the analogy of building a house – Foundation, Framing, and Finish Work. (Also includes day-by-day plan for Philippians.)
FIVE: Relational Bible Study (8-session video course)
If you are a “video learner,” please, please check this out!
This is my baby. This is the one resource I have created that I wish every person who comes across my blog would walk through. It shares my HEARTBEAT for studying the Bible relationally (not just informationally). And it shares my PROCESS for how I study the Bible. Not to mention it’s filmed in cool places like an unfinished house, my kitchen, and hiking up a mountain.
I love this series. It seems like the participants love it too…
I have been studying the Bible for 30 years and Relational Bible Study opened up a whole new way of digging into the Word of God.” (RBS participant)
You can find out more and register here.