What is a Good Bible Reading Plan?
We’re here at the beginning of the year in 2023. It is still that time of year when people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. They’re making their plans for the year, and one of the things that Christians do every year, is talk about (even if they don’t do it), they talk about how to have a plan to read the Bible for 2023. I think that you should have a plan to expose yourself to the Bible on a regular basis. I do that. There are all sorts of Bible reading plans and all sorts of methods that you can use. I want to talk to you today about how I read the Bible in a year. And I want to talk to you about giving you a challenge about how you might read the Bible this year in 2023. It’s not too late.
I started reading the Bible through every year years ago; I actually don’t even know how many times now I’ve read the Bible through in a year. I’m not keeping track in that way. I just made the decision to do it a very, very long time ago, and it’s one of the most spiritually significant things that I have ever done in my life. I want you to share in the spiritual significance of that. I’ll tell you the way I do it. I have my own method for doing this. Every year, I select a theme that I’m going to try to seek out in the Bible. Throughout the years, it’s been different things, from reading about grace to reading about love to reading about demons and angels to reading about sexuality. I pick a theme. And every day, when I’m reading the Bible, I have my colored pencils next to me, and I sit there, and I color in the verses and the passages that have to do with the theme that I am looking for. So what I’ve got is a growing collection on my shelf of rainbow Bibles organized according to themes that interest me and are helping me grow in the Bible. I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, so consecutively straight through every now and then, I’ll skip ahead and mark it and that kind of thing. But generally, it’s straight through. And then I also have not just a method but a timeline.
My goal is to read about ten chapters of the Bible every day. If I do that, if I’m able to read the Bible ten chapters in a day, then I’ll get it done in somewhere around six months. I don’t always read ten chapters in a day. So there are some skips in there. And that usually means that, most years, I’m done somewhere around September or October. I like reading in chunks like that because it gets me into a lot of the Bible. I like getting done earlier in the year. I don’t like finishing my Bible reading on December 31st in, say, Revelation and then opening up the Bible in Genesis 1 on January 1st. I like to have a little bit of a break. One of the reasons I like to have a little bit of a break is because I spend the break going back through the marks and the colored markings that I made throughout the year and digesting and studying and thinking and praying about the theme that I read. So that is how I read the Bible. I read it looking for themes. I read it actively with colored pencils and ink pens, and I typically read it in about six to seven or eight months from Genesis to Revelation.
First Baptist Bible Reading Plan
You need to find a method that is right for you. My method won’t be right for everybody. It works for me. You need to find something that works for you because what matters is that you do it. One of the things that I’m really excited about is that at my church, the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, we have established this year in 2023, our very own Bible reading plans. Very faithful pastors in our church went through and broke down the readings and came up with our very own Bible reading plan. Here’s what it is. If you get the First Baptist reading plan, you’ll read this year in 2023. You will complete the New Testament, you will complete Psalms, you will complete Proverbs, you will complete the book of Judges and Hosea, and you’ll complete the book of Acts. Now, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs that’s pretty standard fare for a Bible reading plan. Why Judges, Hosea, and Acts? Well, the reason is, and this has to do with the fact that it’s a Bible reading plan tailor-made for First Baptist Church is because in Sunday school this year, if you’re in a Sunday school class at First Baptist Church, you’re going to be studying the books of Judges and Hosea. So the Bible reading plan at First Baptist is going to have you through the week reading the relevant Bible passages that your Sunday school teacher will be talking about in church on Sunday.
Similarly, on Sunday mornings at First Baptist Church, throughout 2023, we are going to be preaching through in our worship services the book of Acts. And so if you are on the First Baptist reading plan, you will show up every Sunday morning already having read the passage that I’m going to be preaching on for that Sunday. This isn’t just about getting you exposed to the Bible every day. It’s about helping you prepare for worship. It’s about helping you prepare your heart as you study the Bible in the context of the books that we’re learning this year at First Baptist Church. Because of that, I’m going to tweak my Bible reading plan a little bit this year. Where I normally just go from Genesis straight through to Revelation, I’m going to have to keep a little careful track; I want to read each week what the rest of us at First Baptist is going to be reading. I’ll still try to stick with my ten chapters and still try to get done a little bit early. But I’m going to tweak it so that I’m more or less on track with everybody else because I want to be studying and reading and praying the Bible together through with my church family.
If you maybe are not sold, if you think I don’t know if I need to read the Bible this year. I’m pretty busy this year. Why don’t you go to fbcjax.com/blog? There’s our First Thoughts blog, and I’ve got a blog up there called “Why You Need to Read the Bible in 2023”. On the podcast, I’m giving you the challenge. I think you should. I hope you will. But on the blog, I’m giving you some reasons why you need to do this. Why don’t you go to fbcjax.com/blog and check out that blog and if you are interested in the First Baptist Bible reading plan, you can get that on the First Baptist Jacksonville app that is available on iTunes. Whatever you do, I hope that you will take the challenge and read the Bible this year. You will, I promise, be blessed for having done it.