One good thing that came out of 2020 was that I read through the whole Bible, chronologically, for the first time. I had tried in previous years to stick to a reading plan but like many I ended up dropping off sometime in February. About the when most plans start hitting Numbers. So, what made this year different? I want to offer what worked for me and some observations for why every Christian should have a daily Bible reading plan.
What Made 2020 Different
I had a workable plan. There are a lot of daily Bible reading plans out there and not all are created equal. The plan I used was the “Five Day Bible Reading” by Mark Roberts. In this plan you read only five days a week. Which means that you have the weekends to either catch up or study and prepare for other Bible studies.
Each day you have a reading from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. The Psalms are interspersed throughout the readings. Also, the whole plan is in chronological order, so you are, in a very real sense, seeing God’s plan develop before your eyes.
What I like about this plan is that it is doable, and you can either read through the whole Bible or just the New Testament in one year. So, this plan is a right fit for either new converts or more mature Christians. I cannot recommend this reading plan enough.
I resolved not to fail twice. Right before the reading plan started this year I listened to a sermon by Mark Roberts titled “Building the Habit of Daily Bible Reading.” Which I highly recommend everyone listen to before starting their reading plan. The one thing from that lesson that really stuck with me was that Mark said the key to developing a new habit is resolving not to fail twice. That is, you are going to miss a day. That’s okay. But make sure it doesn’t happen twice in a row.
I did my reading at the same time each day. A big help in doing my daily Bible reading was that I set aside time after I ate breakfast to do my daily reading. This meant that I had to change my morning routine a little but it was worth the change. Doing something the same time each day helps in building a habit. I recommend you find a time that works for you and stick to it. It will make a world of difference!
Now I want to share some things that I noticed as I got into a habit of daily Bible reading and my hope is that some of these will serve as motivation for you to build your habit of reading the Bible every day.
Greater Biblical literacy. The first thing I started to notice after a couple of months was that I had better recall of the Biblical record and familiarity with the overall trajectory of the Bible. I was able to see the connections that existed within the Scriptures. Which only reinforced the desire to keep going!
Big Scary Books Weren’t That Scary. There is a tendency to make the things we put off doing bigger and scarier than they are. Such was the case when it came to the major prophets. When I finally got to them in the reading, I found out that one, they weren’t that scary (that is hard to understand) and two, they weren’t that long or boring. Now, this doesn’t mean that I understood everything Ezekiel or Zachariah was saying but, they weren’t so confusing that I wasn’t able to understand the overall message God was sending through those prophets.
Starting the day with the Word helps! I also noticed that when I began each day with reading the Bible, I was better equipped to handle that day’s challenges and temptations. Also, beginning each day reading the Bible just starts you off on the right foot.
I hope this has encouraged you and motivated you to start the habit of daily Bible reading for 2021.