Pastor Dan Taylor Shares How NOT To Read The Bible This Year
The Bible has changed my life! I hope to read it every day of my life because I need it every day of my life, so I am always on the hunt for a great Bible reading plan. When my friend Pastor Dan Taylor, who is one of the wisest men I know, shared his thoughts in a blog about how NOT to read the Bible, I took notes.
This really helped me adjust my expectations and evaluate the reason I read the Bible in the first place, and I wanted to share it with you. Now, be sure to supplement your reading with community – people who can encourage you on your journey of faith.
I hope this helps you like it helped me. – Tracey
How NOT to read the Bible this year, by Pastor Dan Taylor
One of the things that happen when every new year rolls around is that some Christians want to make a New Year’s resolution to read their Bible more. That’s an admirable goal and one that will pay off dividends, but also many fail before the year is through. How do you survive the next 12 months as a loyal Bible reader? Let me make a few suggestions.
1. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant
Many say, “This year I am going to read through the whole Bible!” Well, let me warn you. Most “read-the-Bible-in-a-year” enthusiasts usually die like the children of Israel somewhere in the middle of Leviticus. I’m not saying that is a bad goal. What I would say is that it is a bad FIRST Bible reading goal. Once you have learned to have a regular Bible reading plan for a couple of years, THEN go for the whole Bible, but I would not recommend it for your first real commitment to the habit. Pick a goal you are more likely to actually achieve.
2. Don’t make a goal for the whole year
Again, that is a daunting task if you have never done it before and haven’t yet established the habit. How about reading the book of Matthew in January and seeing how you do? January has 31 days. Matthew is 28 chapters. If you do one chapter a day, that sounds more doable, right? You even have three days of wiggle room! Making shorter, doable goals – like monthly goals or even weekly goals – are going to help you. You don’t try to bench press 300lbs your first day at the gym. You do hundreds of bench presses with MUCH smaller weights first, and then someday, the 300lbs are achievable. There are hundreds of Bible reading plans online; just Google for them.
3. Don’t let failure stop you!
For some reason, Christians always seem to be shooting for perfection. Not sure why.
When someone starts a Bible reading plan and then messes it up by missing a day or a week or a month, they end up so discouraged and self-judgmental about how horrible a Christian they are and think God must be so disappointed in them…blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!!! Do you know who is REALLY happy when you beat yourself up like this? Satan! That’s who! Some famous Christians in church history said discouragement is Satan’s favorite tool to use against us. In contrast, George Sweeting said this: “The secret to a successful Christian life is a series of new beginnings.” Dust yourself off and get at it again.
4. Know your “WHY?”
Why are you doing this in the first place? To impress God? Do you hope if you read enough of the Bible that He will like you more? Be nicer to you? Be able to brag in your small group?
Do you want to know why I read the Bible? Because I’d be silly NOT TO! I read the Bible because I need it. I need wisdom. I need encouragement. I need a spiritual kick in the pants. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know who does, and He has gone to great lengths to speak to me. He has given me His Word and His Holy Spirit and millions of gifted teachers through the centuries so I can hear Him. Scripture is a gift! Let’s stop treating it like an obligation as if we’re going to the dentist or something. Why read Scripture? Because I believe it makes my life better by showing me who God is, who I am, and how His world works. With all that in mind, why WOULDN’T I read it?!
- Matthew in a month – 1 chapter a day
- Proverbs in a month – 1 chapter a day
- Romans in a month – that is roughly 15 verses a day
- Philippians once a week for a month – that is roughly 15 verses a day
- 1 John once a week for a month – that is roughly 15 verses a day
- James once a week for a month – that is roughly 15 verses a day
- Ephesians once a week for a month – that is roughly 22 verses a day