The change of the calendar from one year to the next is always a good time to evaluate our spiritual health and make concrete plans for growing in godliness. Few disciplines are more influential in our growth than a habit of meditative reading on the Word of God. God’s Word breathes life into our souls and helps us see both ourselves and the world around us rightly. “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 4:12).
My desire to share Bible reading plans is not driven by a secret passion to turn the rest of the world into a bunch of type-A personalities. I am simply convinced that nearly every critical discipline in life requires planning. Some of us find a great deal of internal satisfaction in planning. Some of us endure planning. Regardless, if you want to accomplish something important, you need a plan.
Reading and meditating on God’s Word is no exception. There are not many Christians who can study the Word with the consistency that nourishes the soul who don’t rely on some sort of intentional strategy. Our friends at ESV.org have gathered a helpful list of various Bible-reading plans that are well worth exploring. My personal favorite is the Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s approach in which you read four passages of scripture every day. Reading this plan in one year can be daunting, so I prefer to slow down and read through the plan in two years instead of one. I find that when I slow down I can think harder about what the words on the page actually mean.
If you desire to use the M’Cheyne plan in two years, I highly recommend D.A. Carson’s two-volume devotional entitled, “For the Love of God.” In Volume One Carson tackles the first two Scripture passages from the plan and in Volume Two he focuses on the second set of Scriptures. Each day he has a 1-page meditation on a passage you read that day. If you’ve ever finished reading an “assigned” passage and thought, “I have no clue what this means,” Carson is a tremendous help! His written meditations are faithful to the original meaning of the text, but also point to various forms of application. Stop by the Bookshop this Sunday to check them out!