The keystone habit for spiritual development has to be consistent time in the Word of God. Prayer is vital. The spiritual disciplines like tithing, witnessing, service are all crucial. But everything we do spiritually rises out of a regular, focused, intentional plan for staying in the Word. My friend Robert and I have been to a lot of Men’s Retreats together. As soon as we walk in to the dorm where we are staying he goes to his bunk and says, “I christen you ‘The Word.'” That way, during the course of the retreat when you see him coming out of the dorm room in the middle of the afternoon with a serious case of bed head, and you ask him where he has been, he will proudly proclaim, “I’ve been spending time in The Word.”
That’s not exactly the plan for the next three months. As we look at the keystone discipline of daily Bible reading, we will look at some different plans, some new ideas, and some tools to make your Bible time more meaningful. One of the key disciplines for me for years now has been reading through the Bible each year. Some years I don’t quite make it. Other years I am done by mid-November. But I can tell you this, I have never one time read the whole Bible in a year bu accident. If I don’t start out on purpose, I just won’t do it.
There is a free, and simple Bible reading app called You Version. You can download it to your phone, your tablet, or your computer. If you download that app you will see on the opening page the options at the bottom for home, read, plans, search, and more. Click on the plans tab and the first page right now is a plan to read the Bible in one year. In fact, if you send me your email I will send you an invitation to that page and we will be reading it together. There is a place at the end of each day to respond to the group. (One note, if you start right now you will be a day behind so plan to read a couple of days worth tomorrow, about 8 chapters.) After that it is 4 chapters a day, usually a Psalm or Proverb, 2 OT passages and 1 NT passage.)
If you want to just keep track on your own, read 3 chapters everyday and 5 on Sunday and you will read through the Bible in a year. One idea that keeps me focused, get a colored highlighter, choose a topic, theme, or story line, and then mark those verses every time you come across them in your daily reading. For example, 2 years ago I did race and works. Every verse that I encountered that spoke of God’s grace I highlighted in green. Every verse that spoke of my responsibility to do good works, i marked in yellow. At the end of the year I could thumb through my Bible and quickly see the number of verses dealing with each topic.
Here are 3 tips:
Choose a consistent time each day. Even dividing it up works, 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before bed.
Prepare a place. Get a good light, your markers, a notebook, and of course your Bible, and keep it ready for you each day.
Focus more on the daily routine than on finishing the task. If you miss a day or two, don’t get hung up on trying to catch up. Just do your 3 or 4 chapters each day. We are developing a habit, not winning an award.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll post some suggestions for the other journals, finances, eating, etc. For now, the focus is on daily time in the Word of God. If I do that MOST days during 2019, I will have perfect 2020 vision at the end of this year.