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Posts Tagged ‘augustine’

The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home. – Augustine

Plans give you the ability and option to change things up to help keep the Word fresh.

In the past I have read the One Year Bible in NLT, NIV, and ESV. I have used a twice through the New Testament (NT) and twice through the Old Testament (OT) plan. I have even use a spreadsheet to make custom reading plans for my wife and I. Yes, I’m a geek like that! The point is that I have probably used close to 10 different reading plans each with different things that I like but each great in how they changed up how I read the Bible. Isn’t that a great thing about the Bible? You don’t have to read it straight through. You don’t even have to read it a book at a time. You can read it chronologically. You can read it over the course of 2 years. You can read it in a burst through 10 chapters a day. You wouldn’t take your wife to same exact restaurant for date night and then go to exactly the same coffee shop every week would you? We need habits but this is a relationship that we’re in with God. A plan enables you to shake up the monotony a little but not the habit. This is huge for me when approaching the NT. The gospels and Paul’s epistles can become just familiar enough that I breeze through them without seeing them fresh, living, and active. Different plans have helped battle this familiarity (as well as seeing the whole of the Bible!).

Now what is food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again, not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water passes through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering it over and applying it to our hearts. – George Mueller

Pick a plan! I currently like the Discipleship Journal book at a time plan because it has 3-6 days a month with no reading scheduled, which is helpful for catching up. I also like how it uses an unorthodox order to how it switches from NT to OT and back each book of the Bible you read. The order of the reading used to seem random but I see more of a method to the madness the more I use this plan.

Read the Scripture, not only as a history, but as a love-letter sent to you from God. – Thomas Watson

Another resource I’d also encourage you to check out is “30 Days to Understanding the Bible in 15 minutes a Day” to begin your year with a solar system view of the Bible presented pretty solidly.

Various Reading Plans:

3 Discipleship Journal (NavPress) Reading Plans (includes 5x5x5, Book-at-a-Time)

10 Plans from the ESV (from Chrono to M’Cheyne to Literary)

ESV Study Bible Reading Plan

13 Reading Plans (includes OT in 2 years, NT in a year)

Zondervan Reading Plans (includes beginner/intermediate/advanced readings)

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Habit, if not resisted, soon becomes necessity. – Augustine

A habit of reading the Bible will get broken easier than anything else

Focused time with God in the Word without a plan is difficult to sustain. Few of us are more disciplined than others, and I’m not arguing all of our walks or relationships with God look the same. However, just like I should not be showing up to a date night too unintentionally, I need a plan in my reading. This helps push us toward a good goal. Legalism, you say? It’s the Word! Will you really look back on your life regretting that you were too committed to reading the Bible?

None of us are too busy to read the Word. But why is it so hard? We have so many reasons to skip time in the scriptures, often those reasons have less to do with time and more to do with where we choose to spend our time. Is time in the Word a priority? Are we more faithful to spend 15 minutes reading up on sports or status updates than reading our Bible? We have 5 kids under the age of 6, think it’s hard for my wife or me to get into the Word and pray sometimes? You bet. So what keeps me going back? My love for the Word. When I sleep in too late or blow off my time in the Word, I crave it. Now, obviously, this is the work of the Holy Spirit in my life growing my love for Him. But what is our part?

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:11-12 ESV)

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:15-16 ESV)

Make a habit to seek the Word. God has wired us so that habits tend to affect our desires. When I oversleep for a week and run off without pursuing God in His Word, it becomes very hard the next week to get up. I start to not even desire to get up early. As I break this habit, the desire drifts as well. The more I daily snack on candy, the harder it is stop. We heat our lower level with a wood stove. I used to grumble in my head about making a fire in the mornings. Now I just do it and I enjoy doing it. When I head downstairs first thing in the mornings and it’s dark and cold outside, I just automatically bring in more wood and get a fire going. I don’t even think about it really. It’s same thing with approaching the Word. The more I seek God in the Word daily, the harder it is to stop. Now, don’t get me wrong, we battle the flesh which means that prayer and reading the Word will probably always be easier habits to break. Setting a habit of indulging the flesh in candy or fantasy football is very easy!

The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian. – AW Tozer

A Bible reading plan will help with this habit. It’s a plan. It’s so you don’t come to the Word and wonder what you’re going to read and it keeps you pressing on to finish the Bible. Is this legalism? It is if you find yourself just doing your duty and banging out your readings every day. A plan is a means to discipline, to establish a solid habit of pursuing God’s Word. Some of us can dwell in the Word consistently without a plan, but not me! If reading God’s Word without a plan is not habit for you, it will be difficult at first, and you will have to make a more concerted effort. But isn’t it worth it?

The more you read the Bible; and the more you meditate on it, the more you will be astonished with it. – Charles Spurgeon

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