Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Bible Reading Plan That Works

Over the years Trinity Church has annually promoted numerous kinds of Bible reading plans, often designed to assist us in reading through the Bible in a single year. These have ranged from Robert Murray M'Cheyne's plan (twice through the Psalms and New Testament and once through the rest), reading straight through the Bible, reading chronologically through the Bible, writing out the New Testament, etc. Each method we've promoted has had its advantages and we would still commend their use.

At the same time, plans like those named above frequently cause discouragement as our New Year's Bible reading resolutions give way to the unexpected X-factors of life which seem to encroach with a vengeance after a few weeks or months. I don't know about you, but I can't seem to find a command in the Bible giving special importance to reading all 66 books of the Bible in a year's time. Furthermore, as we've discussed in recent weeks, trying to speed through a book like Proverbs could be positively harmful since its poetry was designed to be read slowly and thoughtfully.

Therefore, let me suggest a new kind of reading plan for 2010, one that writer Margie Haack calls 'The Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers' (I love that title!). Advantages to this plan include:

1. Removing the pressure to 'keep up' with getting through the entire Bible in a year.
2. Providing variety throughout the week by alternating genres.
3. Providing continuity by reading the same genre each day of the week.

In a nutshell, here's how it works:

Sundays: Poetry
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)

The advantage of this plan is that it provides guidance as we read each day but does not put us on an internal guilt trip if we miss a day - we just pick up with the next reading on the day it happens to be. Also, this plan allows us to see the many interconnections between sections of Scripture. So, as Margie puts it, on the same day you may be reading about God's covenant with Abraham in Genesis and a few days later read Paul's commentary on the Abrahamic covenant in Romans.

Many Bible reading plans are good, but I find this one unusually helpful, for it combines two biblical values which seem to diverge in most plans: discipline and grace. Beginning this Sunday we'll have hard copies of the plan on our free resource table in the fellowship hall. If you would like to download an electronic version so you can begin today, you can find a link here.

2 comments:

NeedANap2 said...
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Bill Weber said...

Andy, Thanks so much! --Bill Weber