I Didn't Read Through the Whole Bible Last Year
I didn't read through the whole Bible in 2015... but I almost did. And that was a huge benefit for my soul and my walk with Christ Jesus my Lord.
Here's what I did:
1. Started with a Bible Reading Plan
My plan of choice is the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan. You can snag a copy HERE. I like it because it is structured to take me through the Psalms and New Testament twice and the entire Old Testament once. I also enjoy reading in four different places at once in the Bible for breadth.
2. Printed It Off
This step was actually important to me. I printed off the plan, folded it in half, and stashed it inside the front cover of my bible. I got a sick sense of satisfaction of literally crossing off the days as I progressed through the year. The hard copy also came in handy at Step 4.
3. Covered Up the Dates
This was the first simple and critical hack I made to my efforts in 2015. Covering up the dates of my "plan" allowed me to progress through the plan at my pace, not the "plan's pace". It converted a “yearly bible reading plan” into, simply, a “bible reading plan.” For me, this took the pressure off to “keep up” (something, I was almost guaranteed not to do) and it removed a level of self-imposed guilt when I fell behind.
With this hack, when I would fall behind or miss a day, no big deal. I just started again the next day where I left off last. The goal was that I was progressing through the Bible. The goal was not “keeping up with the plan."
Using the copy of the plan linked above, I simply crossed out the months in each section. The dates were small and unobtrusive and didn't need literal covering up for me.
4. Started in the Psalms
This was the second simple and critical hack I made to my efforts in 2015. After printing off my copy of the M’Cheyne plan and ignoring the dates, I started in the Psalms. The Psalms are simple, devotional, and I am almost always going to feel encouraged, challenged, or personally helped in reading them.
This was an “easy entry-point” for getting going with reading the Bible on a regular basis.
Per the linked plan above, this meant I needed to start with the readings for either April 1st or August 4th. Remember: the dates are irrelevant.
I chose to start at April 1st because this also threw me into Proverbs (again, very practical, simple and helpful) and it helped me get Leviticus out of the way early :)
Following the above, I didn't make it through the whole Bible in 2015... but I almost did. I'm on track to finish sometime in mid-February at which time, I'll begin again. If you do the math, that means (on average) I missed two or three days each week throughout the year. I'm okay with that—and it's realistic.
Resolve to Read the Bible
As the New Year rings in, don't resolve to read through the whole Bible in 2016. If you are currently undisciplined in your reading, you'll start strong but likely not stay consistent. You'll fall behind, feel guilty, and eventually give up. Instead, try the above and resolve simply to grow in being more consistent in your bible reading. The goal is growth, not perfection.
The beauty of the above also means it doesn't actually matter if you start today or tomorrow or Monday or May 21st. Whenever you begin, the first day you’d read: Leviticus 4; Psalms 1-2; Proverbs 19; and Colossians 2 (i.e. April 1 readings).
The next day (or the day after if your kid woke up puking at 5am on day 2 and there’s no way you’re getting your bible reading in), you’d read: Leviticus 5; Psalms 3-4; Proverbs 20; and Colossians 3.
Happy New Year. Happy Bible Reading Year.