Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Read Through the Bible in a ...

Happy New Year!

I invite you to try my "Read Through the Bible" plan this year.  I know, I know ... some of you are probably saying to yourself, "Not another Bible reading plan! I've tried and failed those so many times, I don't want to set myself up for failure again." 

But this plan is different.  It is simple, flexible, and low pressure.  Here's how it works:

Step 1: Open your Bible to the book of Genesis.

Step 2: Read as much of the Bible as you happen to have time for that day.

Step 3: On the next day, pick up where you left off and read as much as you happen to have time for on that day.

Step 4: Continue this pattern until you've read through the whole Bible and then go back to Step 1. 

In other words, there is no set amount you have to read every day, there is no minimum amount of time you need to commit, there are no deadlines, there is no pressure, and there especially is no feelings of guilt (unless you don't read anything at all).  You're not trying to read through the Bible in a year, or two years, or two weeks ... You're just reading through the Bible.  Period.

I've been using this plan for the last few years and it has been great.  It is so freeing to just go at my own pace.  I just work through as much material as I have time for on any given day.  If I get a few verses read, great!  If I get a few chapters read, great!  After all, the whole point of spending time in God's word is to spend time with God.  When is the last time you set an agenda when you were visiting with your dad?  Probably never.  That's because (hopefully) you have a relationship with your dad, and when you're with him you just talk about whatever comes up naturally.  Why should it be any different when we spend time with our heavenly Father?  Why do we pressure ourselves with reading schedules?

So this year, I encourage you to take the pressure off yourself and just spend time in God's word each day.  If you have only a few minutes, then just read for a few minutes and don't feel guilty about it.  If you want to spend an hour or two reading the Bible on a certain day, then go for it.  But the most important thing to focus on is cultivating a closer relationship with God.  After all, God's ultimate goal is to have an intimate relationship with a group of people.  (See more on that thought in previous posts here, here, here, and here.)  If God's goal is to have a close relationship with you, shouldn't it be your goal to cultivate a close relationship with Him?  So take time to read some of the Bible today and spend some time in prayer.  Grow closer to Him and you will have peace this year, even through life's storms.