The discipline and delight of steady and methodical Bible reading is life changing.

It’s Time to Conquer that Midyear Bible Reading Slump

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.

Capture

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.

Capture

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,

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or resources mentioned within this post, simply click on the title or the image, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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48 thoughts on “It’s Time to Conquer that Midyear Bible Reading Slump”

  1. Lots of good resources here – I would certainly recommend the Bible Project video clips for youth groups/teenagers who often don’t read but will watch! I’ve made a not eon the commentary, thanks!

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  2. Michele, I’m in my 5th year of reading the Bible all the way through using the 52-Week Bible Reading Plan. It really works for me! To top it off, my husband recently got me The Jesus Bible as a gift for my birthday. The commentaries and insights offered there are priceless and have really enhanced my Bible reading experience.
    Blessings, and thanks for these great recommendations!

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  3. I am happy to report that I am NOT in a mid-year Bible-reading slump. I am reading a new (to me) version of the Bible, which keeps my interest high. It’s amazing the new insights we get from reading slightly different words. Of course, I only began a month ago and I’m just in Deuteronomy! Check back with me in August! 🙂

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  4. I think that’s why so many Jan.1 resolutions fail–we don’t think about them again until the next January. What a great idea to revisit them halfway! Especially reading the Bible, such a vital and necessary practice.

    Thanks for the resource suggestions. I’ve been wanting to read the Bible chronologically at least once. I had accumulated a lot of Warren Wiersbe’s “Be” commentaries through various Kindle sales, and have been using those as companions to my reading this year. I’ve only read one of Jen Wilkin’s books but would love to read more and do one of her Bible studies.

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  5. I used M’Cheynne’s reading plan when I was first struck with chronic pain and had nothing to do but sit still all day. It’s a great plan.

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  6. 1. Michele, I’m beginning to think you never sleep. I know you have four boys that you’ve homeschooled, you tend a large garden each summer, you preserve much of that produce, you teach Sunday School, and you write. I’m sure I omitted a half dozen or more other ongoing commitments. Now I learn you also mow lawns and/or pastures? Goodness! When do find time to read?! 2. Over the past 45+ years I have grown to love Bible study. Morning quiet time is my favorite time of day. 3. Our Bible study group completed two of Jen Wilkin’s studies this year: 1, 2, and 3 John last fall; Joshua in winter/spring. Though we had to finish on our own during the quarantine, it was still highly valuable. 3. Trillia Newbell’s guide for Romans 8 intrigues me; I’ll have to check it out. Thank you for the recommendation. 4. Currently I’m savoring Peace for the Journey by F. Elaine Olsen–50 reflections followed by questions and scripture for meditation and application. To add to the pleasure, Elaine is a former student of mine!

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    1. Ha! I promise that I DO sleep (although not as much as I’d like these days! Summers are our busy time.) I would love to tackle more of Jen Wilkin’s books. I have the guide for Judges and am waiting for the best opportunity to share it.
      What a terrific encouragement to be reading a book created by a former student!
      And you, Nancy, are always an encouragement to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so timely. Slump is such a good descriptor for this leg stretch of my journey. I want to make it through the Psalms of Ascents that I began to study and then let lag AND THEN I’m going to embark on a chronological journey through the gospels. I’m looking forward to being back in the New Testament after a long (and fruitful) sojourn in the Old. Thanks for a little more encouragement!

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    1. The Psalms of Ascent are one of my favorite chunks of Scripture, and I have lovely memories of taking a group of women with me on that journey using A Long Obedience in the Same Direction as our field guide.
      Thanks for reading, and for your encouragement.

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      1. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction is such a lovely book. I read it a few years back and passed it directly to my husband. This time, I’m just reading the psalms themselves, in a few translations, as well what Matthew Henry has to say about them!

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  8. I just recently came across the Bible Project as a resource. It is a good one. I read through the Bible years ago and used the One Year Bible as a resource. I am glad I challenged myself to stay the course in reading the whole Bible. And of course, Trillia’s study on Romans 8 is so good. Thank you for the grace that June is the new January. Fresh beginnings are always welcome here in my little corner.

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    1. I love my One Year Bible. Can’t remember how many times I’ve been through it, and then my Chronological Bible is in the NLT, so I get a different perspective than usual.

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  9. Thank you for this mid-year reminder/encouragement/motivation! I was telling my daughter the other day one of my favorite Bible reading schedules was the Chronological reading. It’s been a while and I’d like to do it again. I really don’t have to wait for January 1st, do I?

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  10. A friend of mine suggested the listening while driving, bible study. She loves it and it makes great use of her time. Thanks for all of the suggestions and for linking up.

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    1. Kelleyn, be sure to give your self plenty of grace in this season. Three minutes of solid truth are pure gold, and may be all you get some days. Blessings to you in your mothering and all you do. God honors your least effort and always meets us more than half way!

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  11. I personally have to be in the right frame of mind to be able to sit down and read, regardless of the time of year. Thank you for joining in with #pocolo and hope to see you back later this week

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  12. Thanks for the links and resources…and especially for the encouragement. I am on-track (on paper) but there seem to more than a few days lately that are simply “ticking the box” days. I want the same excitement, passion and anticipation that I had back in January:) I appreciate the motivation!

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  13. I appreciate seeing all these great resources. I’m still chugging along on my two-year plan to read through the Bible again, but I can see already that it’s going to take more than two years again. 😉

    (Sigh. I think my comments have been going to spam. I contacted Akismet and *maybe* it’s cleared up? We’ll see if this goes through. ha)

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  14. It’s funny how reading can come in flutters and slumps over the year. I always find that I read more freely in the cooler months and have to put my mind to reading when the weather gets hotter. Thank you for sharing this lovely resource of books with the #DreamTeamLinky

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for hosting! This is what I featured the week of 6-8 to 6-12 on my blog. On Tuesday was Salsa Roll Ups. Wednesday saw Stuffed Peppers. Thursday was Basic Marinara Sauce. And winding up this Week was Homemade Beef Stew Seasoning. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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