“That was the longest year of my life.”
That was something that I said during the last months of the year. If you’re like me, the start of a new year takes on special significance as we flip the pages on the calendar. It’s a time that we can reset and look for a renewal of our spirit. To do so, I’m committing to reading, engaging, and learning from God’s Word—and I want to invite you to do the same. Let me offer you six questions to ask yourself, five reading plans to choose from, and four principles to use.
To properly understand a passage of Scripture, you need to ask the right questions. In my book Habits for Our Holiness, I outline a process that anyone can use to study the Word. You can boil it down to asking six key questions:
1. God question: How does the passage reveal God’s character
2. Salvation question: How does the passage reveal God’s redemptive plan?
3. Context question: How did the passage apply to the original hearers?
4. Personal question: How does this truth affect my relationship with Christ?
5. Sin question: In what ways do I rebel against the truth of this passage?
6. Mission question: What is the impact of the passage on the church?
As you work through passages in your devotional life, use these questions to keep your thoughts God-centric as you explore His Word.
Five Reading Plans
Finding a way to read and study God’s Word will help you stay focused. Reading plans are plentiful, but you need to pick one that will work for you. Here are five that I find to be helpful:
1. Old/New Testament: Each day throughout the entire year includes a passage from both the Old and New Testaments.
2. 90-Days through the Bible: It is an intensive way to read but beneficial to get the whole storyline in mind as you study.
3. 4 Weeks in the New Testament: A reading plan that walks through the entire New Testament in 24 weeks of daily readings.
4. M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan: The classic M’Cheyne plan—read the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Psalms or the Gospels every day.
5. 365-Chronological Reading: Read the Bible in the chronological order in which its stories and events occurred.
As you consider how you’ll deepen your devotional life and understanding of the Bible, let me make a few suggestions:
1. Remember the goal. The main reason for reading the Bible is to encounter God. The Scriptures are His self-revelation to us. Use “finishing the plan” as a goal but not the goal. Make your aim to become more intimate with God through engaging His Word.
2. Plans are made for you and you are not made for the plans. Over the course of the year, you will likely have a smattering of days where the Bible reading plan goes unattended. It will be because of a blip of spiritual apathy and sinfulness. You’ll have an emergency that interrupts the whole of life. Events will occur where you need to abandon the plan for reading and studying some other portion of the Bible. Remember that the reading plan is a tool for you to use, not a master that decides your spiritual fate. Be faithful to God and His Word; not to a plan that someone wrote and posted online.
3. Seek the whole counsel of God. Too many people hop, skip, and jump through topical readings about their favorite subjects. Finding a solid plan and sticking with it will allow you to get the full overview of God’s revelation and a deeper understanding of how it all works together.
4. Pick a plan that will benefit you. There are no shortages of plans to use. The ones listed above are just a fraction of what you can find to use. The key is to use a plan that is well suited for you. If you are in need of mercy, stop and dwell in passages about it. The same goes for your need of deeper commitment to holiness, guidance for relationships, or any other issue in your life. God has been gracious to reveal Himself and His truth to us. Allow the Word to have its full effect on your life by keeping your focus on knowing God with the reading plan as a tool.
As you get rolling with the new year, I am praying that it will be a year of spiritual fruitfulness for you. Stay in God’s Word and we can all be assured that He will do great things in our lives.
16 replies on “How to Read the Bible More This Year”
Yes this year 2021 I need to know my God Almighty intimately so I can be able to see a new He is doing in my life. God speak through his word.
Yes i would like a go on this study
I am interested
I particularly liked the six questions. I had never heard of these as part of my Bible study and they make total sense to give me a deeper understanding of the passages I’m reading. Thank you!
I desperately want and need to participate in this plan.
So much touched by this great revelation on my Bible study and relating with Jesus Christ
I wish to become more knowledgeable about God. This is the perfect plan to do some.
I will use the 6 questions this year in my scripture reading. Thanks for the help on focusing where needed.
I need God’s Word Daily
I look for the chance to get closer to God
Need more of God an less of me.
This is a great revelation that will change one approach to the reading of the Bible. I love this 6 questions approach. Thanks
H, i very much need a less random way of reading. Im confused by just opening blind and need structure. How do i get help without breaking my bank?
GOD BLESS US, WE NEED THE LORD, WE nothing WITHOUT HIM, BUT EVERYTHING WITH THE ALMIGHTY.
I read my bible every day especially in the morning and verses and night and midnights I need to read the bible completely, I will use your 5 reading plans.
May the LORD BLESS you and your family in JESUS NAME I pray. thank you