According to everyone, eating food is a necessary rhythm of life. According to Jesus, eating words is another one. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,” he said (Matt. 4:4). We prioritize eating meals every day. That’s good. We don’t always prioritize engaging with God’s word ever day. That’s not good. And it’s also a reason why so many Christians feel spiritually famished. Our own spiritual life depends on hearing and trusting God’s words.
In light of that, here’s a plan to engage with the whole Bible in 2018: The Weekday Bible-reading plan for 2018. We’re using this as our whole-church Bible reading plan at Zionsville Fellowship this year.
Details of the Plan
- Balance of Old and New Testament: Each reading includes 3 OT chapters and 1 NT chapter, moving through both testaments in order. This balances an emphasis on reading straight through the Bible in canonical order, while also keeping us continually in the New Testament.
- 5 Readings Per Week: Each week includes five readings. This gives space to read or study something else, such as the upcoming sermon text over the weekend. This also allows flexibility for you to remain on track if you can’t read every day. This also functions as a built-in guilt-avoidance system for when we miss a few days.
- Psalms: The Psalms are not included in the daily reading, but that’s not because we should neglect them. Just the opposite. Rather than reading the Psalms at only one point in the year, this plan encourages us to integrate the Psalms into our lives in different ways, reading one in the morning and/or evening, or reading through them with friends or as a family. Consider using this new ESV Devotional Psalter written by Dane Ortlund.
Encouragement to Read With Dependence and Devotion
The reading plan also includes ways that we can treat God’s word not merely intellectually, but personally. We do this by approaching God’s word with dependence, and by responding to God’s word with devotion:
Approaching God’s Word with Dependence: We come to God’s word aware of his presence and depending on him to make us open what he says. Here are a few prayers to pray before reading.
- Humility: Make me humble and open to whatever you say in your word (Isa. 66:2)
- Understanding: Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your word (Psalm 119:18)
- Satisfaction: Satisfy me with your love and goodness (Psalm 90:14)
- Transformation: Transform me by showing me your glory in Christ in your word (2 Cor. 3:18)
Responding to God’s Word with Devotion: After reading scripture, we can meditate on it further and turn our reflections into prayers. Here are four questions Tim Keller provides that can serve as way to respond to the reading in prayer:
- Praise: What does this text show me about God for which I should praise or thank him?
- Repentance: What does this text show me about my sin that I should confess and repent of?
- Request: What does this text show me about a need that I have and how shall I petition God for it?
- Transformation: How would this change my life if I took it seriously—if this truth were fully alive and effective in my inward being?
Reading In Community
Many people have been encouraged throughout the year as we’ve used this type of plan as a church. I’ve heard of marriages strengthened as husbands and wives talk about the reading together. I’ve learned of small groups discussing the weekly reading in their gatherings. I’ve heard from people who discussed the Bible more frequently with friends because they were all reading the same thing together. So, consider ways to integrate your reading into conversations together:
- For spouses or families who read this together, bring it up at dinner and share what you’re learning and how you’re growing.
- Read as a small group and then discuss your reading from time to time when you meet together.
- Consider grabbing another friend or two to join you on this journey, and then meet for coffee to talk about what you’ve been reading
- For families or those with roommates, consider reading through one Psalm together each morning or evening.