The first week of a new year is a good time to evaluate our spiritual health and make concrete plans for growing in godliness. Few disciplines are more influential in this regard than a habit of meditative reading on the Word of God. Trying to do life absent a mind and heart saturated with Scripture is like trying to navigate a path through the woods when it’s pitch black. It doesn’t work. Well did the psalmist conclude, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
With that goal in view, I mentioned in a recent sermon that I would post a list of recommended Bible reading plans and devotional guides for 2018. My desire to do so 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. Rare is the Christian who can study the Word with the kind of consistency that nourishes the soul over the long-haul without relying on some sort of intentional strategy. Our friends at Crossway recognize as much and have gathered a helpful list of various, Bible-reading plans that’s well worth exploring. My personal favorite is Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s approach, which I like to break into two years. I find that reading less overall quantity of Scripture on a given day helps me slow down and think harder about what the words on the page actually mean.
I also highly recommend D.A. Carson’s two-volume devotional entitled, “For the Love of God.” Carson assigns four Bible readings a day (consider dividing them into two days) and writes a 1-page meditation on one of the four. 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 Book Shop this weekend to check them out!