The old adage, “If you fail to plan, you are planing to fail” is typically attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Regardless of who originally said it, it is hard to argue with it’s wisdom. In fact, it is wisdom that I apply in my approach to reading my Bible.
For the past 8-years I have followed the ESV Study Bible Reading Plan. I started using it because it was included in the back pages of my study Bible so it was very handy and always accessible. However, even after I stopped using my study Bible in my daily reading, I still used the plan. I simply printed out a copy, folded it in half, and used it as a bookmark.
The thing I enjoyed about this particular reading plan is how balanced it was. Each day’s readings were organized into the following four sections:
- Psalms and Wisdom Literature
- Pentateuch and History of Israel
- Chronicles and Prophets
- Gospels and Epistles
Following this plan gave me a balanced and healthy diet of both Old and New Testament every day.
But this year I decided to try something different. It’s not that I no longer thought this was a good plan or that I found it lacking in any way. It’s just that I felt like it was becoming too “routine” for me and I wanted to avoid falling into a rut. I wanted to shake things up a bit. And so, in late December, I started looking for a new plan to follow in 2016.
After researching and considering many different reading plans I ended up landing on the Discipleship Journal Book-at-a-Time Reading Plan.
My primary reasons for selecting this plan are:
- Focus – I was really desiring a plan that would allow me to have a more intensive focus on one book of the Bible at a time. I have to say, thus far I have greatly enjoyed it.
- Balance – although I’m not in both the OT and NT every day like I was with the ESV Study Bible Reading Plan, my new plan alternates between the two. So, in other words, while I may be focused on reading through Genesis right now, as soon as I finish (which will happen in just a couple days from now) I will begin focusing on reading through the Gospel of Mark and when I finish that I’ll be back in an OT book. I like the fact that it switches back and forth and doesn’t have me waiting until September before I get to touch the NT.
- Margin – the plan is focused on getting me through the entire Bible in one-year but it still has some margin built into the schedule. Grace is in place. Sprinkled throughout the plan are days off that they call days for “Reflection” but, practically speaking, they can also serve as “catch up” days in case you miss a day’s reading. Regardless of how these days are used, it’s nice to know that this buffer is built into the plan.
This year I am also supplementing my daily time in God’s word with a new (to me, at least) devotional. After I finish my time in God’s word each day I read a daily entry from Voices From The Past – Puritan Devotional Readings. Although I’m only 16-days into the year, I have engaged with this book enough to feel very comfortable commending this resource to you. It has been a blessing to read each day and I am greatly enjoying the exposure to the many puritan authors who are represented in it’s pages.
It’s never too late to get a Bible reading plan in place. In fact, if you are not already following a plan, why not start today?