Have you considered reading through the Bible this year? This suggestion is untimely, you say. Ah, but no! Just because you didn’t start an intentional plan on Jan. 1st doesn’t mean it’s too late. It’s never too late to begin a daily regimen of Bible reading.
To think that one must either begin on Jan. 1st or jettison the whole effort until next year is an insidious excuse born of the diabolical one.
I know people who read through the Bible annually, starting afresh each Jan. 1st. I confess not to being such a person. Some years I have embarked on such an endeavor while other years I’ve not; there’s no telling what has prompted me either way.
In 2012, I have felt the call again to read through the entire Bible. There are many different plans for doing so. The YouVersion website (available as a free app and online at www.youversion.com/) offers over 200 Bible reading plans, including reading the entire Bible in 90 days (too energetic to me), reading the Psalms and Proverbs in a year (Book of Psalms twice and Book of Proverbs 12 times) or reading the four gospels in 30 days.
Some of the plans are organized according to topics such as grief, marriage, bullying, cutting, clothing and death. Others provide an overview of certain key Bible personalities.
If you don’t have access to a smart phone, simply type the words “Bible reading plans” into your computer’s search engine. Here’s a website that offers 13 different reading plans: www.bibleplan.org/.
I have followed various plans over the years, but one I like the least is beginning with Genesis 1:1 and reading to the end. This dogged plan is usually doomed to failure. It’s not only that one has to struggle through the Genesis genealogies; there is the daunting book of Leviticus, the boring boundary descriptions of Joshua and the seemingly repetitive books of Kings and Chronicles. To read “straight through” is not for novices or sissies.
I have returned to my favorite plan, organized by the Scottish clergyman Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-43). His plan involves reading four chapters of the Bible daily, two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. It begins with Genesis 1, Matthew 1, Acts 1 and Ezra 1. At the end of a year, the person will have read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. You can easily find this plan on the Internet.
I am current after 18 days, but know from experience that I won’t remain current. Some days I have already had to read eight chapters (two days’ worth) to catch up. My resolve is this: I refuse to quit reading even if I fall behind. I give myself permission to complete the task in more than a year. I do not give myself permission to quit.
Start today. Keep reading. You’ll be rewarded and inspired.
Contact the Rev. Creede Hinshaw at Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church in Savannah at firstname.lastname@example.org.