My ten-thousand-steps-a-day routine is a lot easier to accomplish in June than in January, the month when we all set our intentions for the year. The green world beckons, the garden needs tending, and our mowing business is in full steam ahead mode. (On a recent six-lawn Wednesday, I passed the ten thousand step mark before noon!)
Approaching the mid-point of 2020, however, I wonder if other disciplines might be flagging. Let’s be honest for a minute about the mid-year Bible reading slump. Did you make a commitment to read through the Bible this year? Or maybe a trip straight through from Genesis to Revelation was never your goal, but the resolve to read something every single day has sputtered out by now.
Years ago, when my two younger sons turned six months old, their older brothers would help me make them a half-birthday cake. We’d bake a round cake, slice it in half, and then layer it with frosting for a semi-circular celebration of the baby’s half-year birthday. I’m suggesting we do the same for your Bible reading routine in June 2020. (The cake is optional, but… Hey, why not?)
Let’s just start over! Decide that June is the new January! Don’t worry about how long it takes you to finish. Just begin!
To get you started, I’ll offer some suggestions of resources that have worked for me.
Here’s What I’m Doing Right Now
Eugene Peterson offers deep insights and lyrical words about the Truth. Right now, I’m traveling through Ephesians at a leisurely pace using Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ. You can find my thorough review of this book here.
I’ve traveled through Revelation and the Psalms of Ascent with Peterson as well. He’s definitely a reliable guide.
Too, for the past several years, my husband and I have read through the Bible out loud together, but we’re taking a break from that this year. I knew I’d miss that overview, so I’m listening to a daily podcast called The Bible Recap featuring insights from D Group founder Tara Leigh Cobble. Everything you need to know to jump in to this great routine can be found here.
Other Favorite Scriptural Guides
Jen Wilkin has produced a wealth of resources for studying individual books. I used her guide through 1 Peter for a women’s Sunday school class, and it was both challenging and deeply informative. Reading in context and reading repetitively are key. Diving into a study of the Bible without considering the who and the where and the why is like receiving a letter, tearing it open, reading part of it and ignoring the return address on the envelope. Jen’s teaching via video provides some of this background — reading and re-reading provides the rest. Five-days-per-week study questions over a period of nine weeks allow for a slow and thoughtful digestion of the truth served up in Peter’s first letter. I reviewed this resource here.
Trillia Newbell has produced a comprehensive guide for my favorite New Testament chapter of the Bible–a deep dive into Romans 8! The six-week in-depth study begins with an overview of the book of Romans and a flying trip through the first seven chapters to serve as background for the material in Romans 8. Insightful questions lead the reader into considering what the passage says AND what it means, urging a full engagement with the text and a deep dive into all that’s unknown before giving in to the temptation to consult with the “experts” through commentaries. Then and only then are we ready for application of the truth to our lives, and Romans 8 delivers in so many ways, for not only does it unpack the heart of the gospel, but it offers assurance to those who are “in Christ Jesus” that we can indeed, through the power of the Spirit, live in fellowship with God on this fallen planet he created and loves. For more detail, check out my review here.
Resources for Reading Through
I’ve used The One Year Bible several times to read through in a year. I rely on this routine to keep the narrative arc of Scripture before my eyes and in my mind. Daily readings include a section from both testaments, a psalm, and a short section from Proverbs.
Another great way to read through the Bible in a year is via The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. Genesis is followed by Job, and I never tire of the woven words of history with the psalms and prophecies that were composed in context. Too, the book of Acts is interspersed with epistles in their historical context. It’s my opinion that everyone should travel through the Bible this way at least once.
On My Bucket List
In 1843, Robert Murray M’Cheyne developed a comprehensive strategy for reading through the Bible that incorporates a daily reading of a historical piece and a devotional psalm, a piece of a gospel and a piece of an epistle. That’s four chapters per day, and I’ve never taken this challenge, but it’s a goal I’m looking at. PDF versions of the schedule abound. Click here for the link to one.
The Bible Project has produced free videos that combine original illustration with solid, fast-paced exegesis. I’m very tied to text, so I’m not sure how I’ll take to a video format for Bible reading. I’m curious. I understand, too, that the videos cut through genealogies and war chronicles, so for anyone who’s looking for a way to take in the big picture of Scripture in a visual format, this may be a great tool. Click here for more about how you can watch, read, listen, and learn.
The discipline and delight of steady and methodical Bible reading is life changing. Logging my daily ten thousand steps has a purpose of strengthening my body and increasing my stamina, and I’m looking at my commitment to Scripture as more than just a daily reading assignment. It’s a means of revitalizing my relationship with God and of deepening my understanding of his works and his ways. It’s not just a check mark on my daily list. It’s a habit for a lifetime.
Grace and peace to you,
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