Bible Reading in 2017
Immersion in God's word is vital for our spiritual health, and scripture reading is a habit that gains value when practiced in community. Of course I realize that for some of us, the mere mention of a bible reading plan brings out all kinds of bad memories - thoughts of reading through the first chapters of Genesis in January, getting a little behind and then feeling guilty until December. Well, before I make my pitch for this year's plan, let me remind you that when attempting to read through the Bible, perfection is not the point. This is simply an effort to put God's word in our mind and our hearts as regularly as possible. Reading the word every day will not make God love you any more (that work was finished on the cross), but it just might make you love God more, and it will certainly give you a better understanding of who he is.
With that in mind, this year I want to recommend to you a three year plan from Tim Chester. This plan is quite a different pace the one-year bible we read last year, but here are some of the benefits he lists in a post on his blog:
The plan specifies a number of chapters for each week rather than for each day. This makes it more flexible. You can read a chapter or two each day or you can read it in two or three sittings. Or you can set out reading a chapter a day and then catch up at the weekend. It means it fits more readily around people’s lifestyle.
It is designed to be followed with a partner or among a group of people. There is only one section each week (occasionally two shorter books). So you don’t have to read a section from one book and then a section from another book each day. It means the sections are somewhat uneven, but it makes it easy to discuss what you have been reading when you meet up with other people.
We’ve been using it for a year now and it works very well in this way. I meet up with a friend each week for lunch. It’s easy for us to discuss what we’ve been reading because there is only one Bible book to focus on.
It also means I only need look at the Bible plan once a week – I don’t need to refer to it each day.
Following this plan you read the OT in three years and the NT twice in three years. This works out at about nine chapters a week. It means you are not rushing through what you are reading to ‘get it done’. I’ve found with other plans I tend to read it with my mind disengaged. This plan gives time to meditate on the passage.
The plan balances OT history, prophecy, wisdom, Gospel and Epistles throughout the year. You move between genres so you’re never faced with reading OT prophecy continuously for six months.
Another advantage of this book-by-book format is that as new people come into the church we can invite them to join with us throughout the year, and if you fall behind you can always pick up again easily.
Here is a link to the readings for 2017 https://timchester.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/weekly-reading-plan-2017.pdf
Here is link to the full 3 year plan https://timchester.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/three-year-weekly-reading-plan.pdf
Note: If you don't own a bible and want to join us, please let me know. We'll get you one!