I am writing this with mainly the people of Central Oaks in mind. It is my desire for us to become more deeply in love with the Lord. A sure mark of that love and avenue for it to grow is spending time in His Word.
There is a tendency for some to become legalistic about regular Bible engagement. If you are on track you feel prideful. If you fall behind you feel defeated. A great way to keep from falling into either of these is to regularly remind yourself of the value God finds in you at the cross, not in your Bible reading plan. Then, ask for mercy and start where you left off.
First, a few benefits, then some reading plans I found.
The Benefits of Regular Bible Engagement
I came across a study from the Center for Bible Engagement a few days ago. It contains some fascinating research on spiritual growth among Christians. Here’s the money quote: “Engaging the Bible four or more times a week is the strongest and most reliable predictor of spiritual growth.”
Specifically, here are some stats from the study.
A person who engages the Bible four or more times a week sees their odds of giving in to these temptations decrease:
- Drinking to excess -62%
- Viewing pornography -59%
- Having sex outside marriage -59%
- Gambling -45%
Receiving, reflecting on, and responding to God’s Word four or more times a week decreases a person’s odds of struggling with these issues:
- Feeling bitter -40%
- Thinking destructively about self or others -32%
- Feeling like they have to hide what they do or feel -32
Across surveys we’ve found that, among Christians, engaging scripture most days of the week strongly predicts a more proactive faith. Specifically, controlling for age, gender, church attendance, and prayer practices, the person engaged in the Bible has significantly higher odds of . . .
- Giving financially to a church +416%
- Memorizing scripture +407%
- Discipling others +231%
- Sharing their faith with others +228%
- Giving financially to causes other than their church +218
You probably didn’t need any reasons to engage the Bible more, but there they are.
Plans for Engaging the Bible on a Regular Basis
Many will want to read God’s Word. Here are some great reading plans I found:
- Daily Bible Reading Plan from ESV.org This gives you four options for 365 days of readings: (1) Psalms and Wisdom Literature, (2) Pentateuch and History of Israel, (3) Chronicles and Prophets, or (4) Gospels and Epistles
- Chronological Bible Reading Plan. This takes you through the entire Bible in the order the events likely took place.
- 30 Days in the New Testament. This includes key selected passages from the New Testament for 30 days. Includes a section for notes.
- Systematic Theology Reading Plan. Here you can read about a key aspect of theology once a day for 30 days.
- Discipleship Reading Plan. This plan, put out by the Navigators, leads you through four passages in different genres each day, finishing the entire Bible in a year. I enjoyed this in 2019 because it only gives you 25 readings/month, resulting in up to 6 “grace” days to catch up.
- 5x5x5 Plan. For those newer to daily Bible reading, this is the way to go. Read 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week. It also gives 5 ways to dig deeper and explains how to do that.
- Five Day Plan. This one takes you through the whole Bible in a year while reading 5 days/week.
Some other options:
- Read one Proverb a day for one month. You’ll read through the Proverbs in one month.
- Read through one gospel a section heading at a time until you complete it. Do your best to read every day. But if you don’t, just pick up where you left off last time.
- Search for the “YouVersion” Bible on your device. There are endless translations and endless devotionals on there.
Some aren’t great readers, but they will pick up more listening. (That’s actually me.) There are some great options for you also! Here is what I found:
- I just came upon an app called Dwell. It is really great. It’s a Bible listening app for iOS or Google Play.
- Free audio Bible from BibleStudyTools.
- Audio Bible in the NIV
- Free ESV Audio online
May God bless you as you read His Word!