A New Year, A New Bible Reading Plan
It is hard to believe that 2020 is already upon us. This is the time of year for plans and resolutions, clean crisp pages on the calendar that are waiting to be filled. Some of us are planners, some wish we were planners but can never quite seem to follow through, and some are of the “just wing it” mentality. No matter which category you would say that you fall into, have you considered setting Bible reading goals for the coming year?
Again, some may do this every year, some may have done it once and “checked it off your list,” some may have tried and failed, and some may know that they’re never going to follow through, so why even bother? I would like to make a case for why this is an important Christian discipline for us all. In Joshua 1:8, the Israelites were instructed that, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” And 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
In his “Desiring God” podcast, John Piper talks about the importance of a yearly Bible reading plan:
I think the ultimate goal of every Christian should be to glorify God in your life every day — or, to use the words of Philippians 1:20, to magnify Christ in your body, whether you live or whether you die. We exist ultimately on this planet to make God in Christ look magnificent — to make him look precious and valuable, to look like the supreme treasure that he is. That’s the goal of life: make God look like a treasure.
Now, how do we go about that since, in our sin, even as believers, there’s so much in us that is inclined to think or feel or act in ways that don’t make Christ look great? The answer to how we do this is that we have to see the glory of Christ. To see him as glorious, to see the magnificence and the value and the beauty and the greatness and the desirableness of Christ, we have to see him for what he’s really like.
You can’t savor what you don’t see. You can’t cherish and desire and love and enjoy and treasure what you’re not aware of. If we don’t desire and cherish and enjoy and savor and treasure Christ, we will not commend him as magnificent in what we feel and say and do. Christ is most magnified in us when we are most satisfied in him, and we cannot be daily satisfied in the depths of our soul in Christ if we don’t see him and savor him. My point is that that can only happen by a steady meditation on the word of God in the Bible.
If you don’t already have a plan for Scripture reading in 2020, here are a few helpful suggestions from other members of Westminster:
- Five Day Bible Reading. Michelle Hodges is planning to follow this reading plan in 2020. It has been endorsed by Melissa Kruger and Tim Challies. One of the appealing aspects of this plan is that you only have to read five times a week, not every day. This allows time for taking a day off, catching up, reading other parts of the Bible to keep up with another study, etc. And best of all, this schedule is FREE to anyone who wants access. Click the link to download the schedule and feel free to print it out and make as many copies as you need.
- Michelle Hodges is also planning to put together a Scripture writing binder. She will use a plan that either writes through a Book of the Bible or follows a certain theme for each month. She would love to share this with anyone who would like to do this as well. If you are interested, contact Michelle.
- New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. This devotional has been recommended by several members of Westminster. This book holds 365 devotional readings that lead off with a compelling, gospel-centered thought, followed by and extended meditation for the day. Focused less on behavior modification and more on helping people encounter the living God, this resource equips readers with the good news that they need to trust God’s goodness, rely on his grace, and live for his glory – day in and day out.
- The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan. This plan has been recommended to Westminster’s youth and is a great one for first-time planners or for those who have tried and failed a daily reading plan in the past. It gives you 5 or 6 days at the end of the month to catch up if you have fallen behind.
- The Dwell App. This is an audio Bible app that is recommended by Richard and Anne Marie Owens. It has multiple Bible in a year plans. You can also choose topical playlists and curated stories. Choose from six passionate voices and whether to add intimate music to the readings.
- The Daily Bible in Chronological Order. This is Selena Nause’s favorite daily Bible. All of the stories in the Bible are arranged in chronological order which provides a seamless experience.
- Everyday Prayers by Scotty Smith. This book is a collection of 365 Scripture-centered prayers. Scotty Smith helps readers pray the Scriptures through the lens of the Gospel. Each day includes a Scripture reference and an original prayer. Kathryn Dyksterhouse read through this book in 2018 and kept a prayer journal of her own as she read through the book.
- For the Love of God by D.A. Carson. This is a two-volume book that is not for the beginner, but rather for those who are desiring to spend a bit more time in the word each day. Each volume contains a systematic 365-day plan, based on the M’Cheyne Bible-reading schedule, that will int eh course of a year guide you through the New Testament and Psalms twice and the rest of the Old Testament once. D.A. Carson has written though-provoking comments and reflections regarding each day’s scriptural passages. In Volume One, the comments normally relate to the Scripture passages in the first two columns of the reading plan, and Volume Two focuses of the latter two columns. Carson offers perspective that places each reading into the larger framework of history and God’s eternal plan to deepen your understanding of his sovereignty – and the unity and power of his Word. Kathryn Dyksterhouse read Volume 1 in 2019 and hopes to read Volume 2 in 2021.
- Acts Timeline. As our adult Sunday School class has been studying the book of Acts, Stephen Pillow has decided to go through Acts in 2020 along the timeline that you will find by clicking on the link. Start with Chapter 1 (see the left side of the table), and then when you get to the first book written (see James shown on the chart on page 3), then read through that book. After completing that book (i.e., James), continue through Acts, detouring to read the letters that were written as they were written. Please see the attached document to better understand the timeline. What a great way to delve into a book of Scripture, detouring through other books along the timeline!
- For other reading resources, please visit our website for both reading plans and audio listening options.
Happy New Year and happy reading!