Pastor Mark often talks about being a Word-saturated people. One of the ways he suggested growth in this area was to commit to a Bible reading plan. There are several types of plans available, but here are four we recommend for your consideration.
- Two-Year Reading Plan. This plan, developed by Stephen Witmer, spreads the reading of the Bible out over two full years. You’ll read through one book of the Bible at a time, as well as a daily Psalm or Proverb.
- Robert Murray M’Cheyne Plan. This plan was developed by a Scottish pastor in the 19th century. In this plan, you read shorter selections from four different places in the Bible each day.
- Chronological Reading Plan. In this plan, you read through the Bible through a chronological lens over the course of the year.
- The Kingdom Bible Reading Plan. This plan has four evenly distributed readings that take you through the Law, Prophets, Writings, and New Testament each day. This plan is scheduled for 25 days each month so you have a bit of a buffer if you miss a day.
Step-by-Step Framework for Bible Reading
Studying the Bible will often include reading large portions of Scripture at a time but at other times it will require slowing down and reading a single paragraph or meditating on one verse to allow the Holy Spirit to knead it into your soul. The key to Bible reading is to read with a purpose.
Do you read with a purpose? If someone asked you what you read this morning, would you remember? Could you explain the passage? Make an effort this year to read the Bible like you know someone is going to ask you what you’ve learned.
Here is a helpful framework that can help you as you study the Scriptures this year:
- Read the passage aloud: We all know how easy it is to get distracted while attempting to pray and read the Bible. Reading the passage aloud to yourself will not only help with focus and but will also help you pick up the overall tone of the passage.
- Determine the context: What type of literary genre is this? (An epistle, poem, narrative, parable?) What clues points you to the circumstance the writer or the readers find themselves in? (You may consider investing in a good study Bible to help with background information and structure.) What has happened already in the book?
- Make observations: What stuck out to you in the passage? Where they any repeated words or themes? Any surprises? What would you say is the main point of the passage?
- Decipher the meaning: Where else in the Bible do the key themes in the passage show up that might help you interpret the passage? What does the passage teach us about God? About man? How does this passage point to Jesus?
- Make direct applications: Are there sins you need to repent of in light of this passage? Are there ways you need to change your thoughts about God or about yourself in light of this passage? Are you living in a way that is in accord with the passage’s principles or commands?
- Pray the passage: Ask the Holy Spirit to apply this passage to your heart. Pray the Scripture a verse or section at a time back to God, and ask Him to help you live out His commands.
May God, by His Spirit, help us crave His Word like newborn babies.