Bathing in the word. Daily devotions. There are all kinds of metaphors and ways to describe one’s Bible reading, and one should read the Bible. I’ve seen and used so many plans over the years. Topically based plans and scheduled plans. I wanted to take a moment and share how I’m currently reading The Bible. It’s something I used to do and I kind of dig it again. You might too.
A well balanced diet
When the Bible first came alive to me it was when I made the discovery that it isn’t just one book, its a library of books but with one Author. There are a number of singular threads that weave together to make the whole. There are many ways to organize and divide this library. Here is how I’ve done it for my reading.
- Torah – Genesis through Deuteronomy. The first five books of the Bible, also referred to as the Pentateuch, The Law, or the Books of Moses. It’s the origin story of the world, sin, and redemption. It’s the family thread from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, through to the people of Israel.
- History – Joshua through Esther. The history of God’s people from when they enter the promised land through to when the Medo-Persians came on the scene. Roughly 1400BC – 500BC.
- Poetry – Job through Song of Solomon (or Songs). It’s the record of one man’s journey to discovering who he is in God. It’s Israel’s hymn book which also contains remarkable prophecy about Jesus. It’s ancient wisdom in what are essentially ancient tweets. It’s a steamy love letter.
- Prophets – Isaiah through Malachi. The word of God given through a person of God to the people of God. Some of it is relevant to the historical context. Some of it is relevant to our context. Some of it is both. It’s God foretelling His word and forth telling the future.
- New Testament – Matthew through Revelation. The New Testament is a library unto itself. While the Old Testament covers about 4,000 years of history, the New covers essentially one lifetime. The record of Jesus mission, the history of the infant church, the letters of encouragement and correction to that infant church and its leaders, and a vision of how everything mentioned in the previous four chunks of the Bible will come to a conclusion.
How the reading plan works
It’s pretty simple really. The plan starts with chapter one of the first book in each of the above sections. I read one chapter each day from each section which means I read five chapters a day. When I get to the end of a section I start that section over. If you manage to read every day of the year you will finish the entire Bible in a year, plus a little extra.
I’m reading all five chapters at one sitting. An alternative is to spread it out over the day.
- One chapter in the morning.
- One chapter during your first work break.
- One chapter during your lunch break.
- One chapter during your afternoon break.
- One chapter in the evening.
Here’s the important part in any Bible reading; the goal isn’t to get through the Bible, the goal it to get the Bible through you.
The more goal-oriented people among us, those whole like to check off boxes, might not like the sound of that at first. Go ahead, check off the list. But keep in mind as you read that there are connections between each of the sections you are reading that day. It’s seeing those connections for yourself that will give you the amazing thrill of seeing the interconnectedness of the entire Bible for yourself. More than that, it will begin to transform your own life in all of its interconnectedness.
Since I just recently started this up again here is one you will see early on.
- Joshua 3. Joshua has taken the baton from Moses in leading God’s people. They have to cross the Jordan River to get into the promised land. It’s essentially a reenactment of the people crossing the Red Sea in Exodus. The river stops upstream, the people cross on dry ground, the river flows again. It’s a new beginning for God’s people.
- Matthew 3. John the Baptist is baptizing in the Jordan River. Jesus arrives to be baptized by John. The trinity shows up in the form of God’s voice (The Father) from Heaven, Jesus (The Son) being baptized, and the Holy Spirit falling on Jesus empowering Him for his mission. This event takes place at the same spot where the people crossed the river in Joshua 3! How cool is that? Jesus, who provides for our new beginning, participates in baptism which is symbolic of our new beginning, in the very place where Israel began its new beginning. I love this about God’s word! This kind of stuff make me love God all the more and makes me want to live for Him. It’s powerful.
Tips and tricks
I’m old enough that I grew up on “real” Bibles, meaning ones printed on paper. I’ve also enjoyed seeing the evolution of digital Bibles from Palm Pilots to iPads. As techno nerdy as I am, I recommend going analog for this process. Here are a few tips to get the most out of this.
- Use a dead-tree Bible. Your paper Bible doesn’t have a clock on the screen. It doesn’t “ding” with every new email, text, SnapChat, and all the other crud that can Instagram, I mean, instantly distract us. In fact, put your gizmo on silent and away from you while you read.
- Put some extra bookmark ribbons in your Bible. You need five for this program. Doing a quick search online I found this five-minute video on how to make your own. Or…
- Use some paper bookmarks. I’m in the process of designing a PDF that you can print and cut up for your own reading. It will break down into five strips, one for each section. There will be a grid you can check off each time you read a section that day. Once I have the PDF finished I will be emailing out to my email list. Sign up in the upper right of this page to get on the list!
- Keep a journal, and/or use a wide-margin Bible. These days they make Bibles with journalling columns in them. You aren’t doing a Bible study so you aren’t trying to keep huge amounts of notes. Instead, what you want to do is make short notes of the connections you discovered between sections that day or week.
- While I would encourage you to spend this time with just you, Jesus, and your Bible, I would also encourage you to have a friend or two read at the same pace as you. Get together and share your discoveries with one another. It’s equally amazing to see others connect the dots. You all learn together and from one another.
By all means, share what you find on social media after you’ve spent the time with just you and the word and not you, the word, and Facebook. Take a picture of your notes and share them with me @corbystephens on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I’d love to see what you find!
Speaking of sharing, I’m planning on starting a new category of posts called Daily Thread. I’m not promising to post every day, but every day I read with this plan I get an idea for a new post. I will share them as often as I am able. Stay tuned for those. Happy reading!