God’s word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feeling in our hearts.
Whether you have a favorite Bible or not, the next step seems logical: crack open that bad boy and use it. This is how people discover that God’s Holy Word as the fuel for our spiritual lives.
This works best when a person follows a Bible reading schedule. A quick Google query will bring up a gazillion different options. Choices abound: ones that cover the Bible in a year, the New Testament in a year, the Old Testament in the year, etc. Some Bibles are specifically laid-out so to read through them in a year.
I prefer a reading schedule in which you read from different sections of the Bible every day. Starting in Genesis and expecting to plow straight through is one way to ensure you won’t complete the task. On the daily reading schedule I am currently using, I’ve been reading in Leviticus. If I was only reading from Leviticus and not getting a New Testament reading or a Psalm or Proverb, the detail about wave offerings would have done me in.
Another option is to sign-up on online. Readings are delivered right to your e-mail. Then, you just actually have to read them! One such resource is biblegateway.com. I prefer reading out of my Bible. I use my Bible and circle, underline, sticky-note sections that are important and meaningful for me. This helps me find something latter on.
Some think it really isn’t necessary to have a schedule to follow. I’ve tried that route. I was once again reminded that failure to plan is a plan to fail.
Do I follow the reading schedule 365 days a year? No. I strive for 5-6 days a week. When I was actively serving a church, I rarely did a personal devotional on Sunday. I most often read in the morning and I wanted that time to prepare myself for worship. I double up to stay on schedule.
I’m not convinced a person MUST read through the Bible in a year. Give yourself realistic goals. Read a chapter a day, or a chapter a day from the Old Testament and the New Testament. Whether you complete the reading schedule in the designated timeframe or you take a bit longer to accomplish it, the important point is to get yourself into God’s word.
“But it’s not my job to read the Bible. That’s the pastor’s job.” One of the most enriching times for my spiritual journey was the 34-weeks in which I participated in a Bible study group in which we read 75% of the Bible. Being in the words daily changed my understanding of being a Christian. Had I not taken this class, would I have become a pastor? I’m not so sure. Your pastor should read the Bible. But faith is personal. Discover the stories yourself. It’s the best way to get the complete, big picture of God and what it means to a member of God’s family. It is one of the ways God will speak to you.
Finally, pick a regular time of the day to read your bible. Unless I do it first thing in the morning, it won’t get done. There was a time when I read my Bible often during my lunch break at work. Pick a specific place you will most often do it. Carve out time in your day and make it just like brushing your teeth.
There comes a time when your car gets low on fuel. You wheel into the gas station and refuel. Think of reading scripture daily as topping off your spiritual life. Without it, there will come a time when you won’t have any fuel left in your tank. This is one way Jesus refueled his tank. May it be so for us.
Lord God: help me discover the most appropriate way to consistently read your scriptures. When I get tired and want to stop, inspire me to continue. When I don’t completely understand something, let it be OK. As I read your story, speak to me. Amen.
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