As I said on Twitter recently, now is the time of year when Christians across the nation are deciding which read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan they’re going to give up on in February. Teehee.
To encourage Discipline and avoid Discouragement, we have:
1.) My choice: The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan. It’s a member of the “read from four different sections of the Bible each day” species of reading plan. Benefits:
- Scope. I love the read-from-different-sections plans. Among other things, it makes it much easier to slog through the rougher patches, like Leviticus, Number, & Deuteronomy.
- Flexibility. There are four readings for each day–but you can do just one, or two, or three.
- The most awesomest super-cool feature: Good for slackers! It only has 25 days worth of readings for each month, giving you free days to catch up if/when you fall behind.
- It’s also recommended by both my own pastor, and John Piper. So it’s gotta be good.
2.) Good news for those of us who look to the ESV Bible as the One True Translation™ (I kid, I kid): The ESV.org people have put together a fantastic site with 10 different reading plans. Including a podcast feature for listening to the readings! According to Justin Taylor, the plans can be accessed by:
- web (a new reading each day appears online at the same link)
- RSS (subscribe to receive by RSS)
- podcast (subscribe to get your daily reading in audio)
- email (subscribe to receive by email)
- iCal (download an iCalendar file)
- mobile (view a new reading each day on your mobile device)
- print (download a PDF of the whole plan)
Here’s all 10 ESV Reading Plans
JT also explains how to sign up for these plans as podcasts in iTunes. (They don’t show up in the music store, but you can still easily add them.)
3.) Finally, we have The Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers. It doesn’t mark the readings by date, so you can never tell that you’ve “fallen behind” if you missed a day. There’s no such thing as falling behind!
The advantage of this plan is that it provides guidance as we read each day but does not put us on an internal guilt trip if we miss a day – we just pick up with the next reading on the day it happens to be. Also, this plan allows us to see the many interconnections between sections of Scripture. So, as Margie puts it, on the same day you may be reading about God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis and a few days later read Paul’s commentary on the Abrahamic covenant in Romans.
4.) A couple other suggestions from Facebook friends: Jennifer Lawton pointed out that having other people to encourage you can help keep you going. And LaNette Lathem said that reading from an unfamiliar translation can keep things fresh. (If you’ve got any other suggestions for avoiding the doldrums–or if you have a favorite plan I missed–then please leave a comment!)
Good luck to you all! Er, I mean, “Good providential outworking of God’s plan for your life!”