Bible Reading In The New Year
In c. 1722, Jonathan Edwards, the celebrated American Puritan preacher and author, began a list of resolutions. Among his list of 70 resolutions was one that reads as follows:
“[I resolve] to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.”
As the New Year begins, many of us will consider making the same resolution as Edwards; to read our Bibles. Some of these resolutions will focus on frequency, others volume, still others will resolve to read with a new set of eyes and a new heart to understand and apply.
Underlying each of these resolutions, whether present day or three-hundred years old, is the firm belief that reading the Bible is an important part of Christian life. This is absolutely true. The Bible tells the story of God’s relationship with His people Israel, His own life here on earth as Jesus Christ, and the apostles and Early Church. It includes teachings and wisdom from God Himself, as well as from people who received messages from God and those who devoted their lives to following Him. In the Bible we see God’s character on display through His words and His interactions with regular people. As we continue this practice, we learn more about who God is, and we become better able to understand His ways, and His will in our lives.
Many Christians believe that reading the Bible is an important part of the Christian life; that it is vital to a strong relationship with God. However, it seems equally common for Christians to struggle to put this belief into practice. A 2017 study conducted by the American Bible Society indicates that 81% of Christians would like to read the Bible more than they do. The simple truth is that, though many of us feel we should spend more time reading the Bible, we are often reluctant to begin the process, and if we do, we seldom manage to make it a habit.
Whether it’s your New Year’s resolution or you’re simply looking for a way to change up your regular reading routine, we at WMBC want to do what we can to help you turn Bible reading into a day-making spiritual practice that helps you GROW closer to God. And so we are recommending 3 resources that can help you take your Bible reading to the next level this year.
1. The Bible Project
For me, nothing makes Bible reading more difficult than not understanding what I’m reading, or not understanding the importance of what I’m reading to the greater story of the Bible. Enter The Bible Project. They create videos, podcasts, and study guides for books of the Bible, word studies, and major biblical themes (like the image of God, the Holy Spirit, and God’s justice). In each video, they show you how that part of the Bible fits inside the grander story of the Bible and human history, so you’re never lost. It’s truly a great resource to help you understand the message of each book and theme, and how they fit into the overall story of the Bible, which can give new life to the practice of reading your Bible.
2. Read Scripture App
The Read Scripture App is a free app that partners with The Bible Project to produce a year-long Bible reading plan. The reading plan breaks the story of the Bible into sixteen chapters, and re-organizes the order of some of the biblical books to help you follow the flow of the story. When you start a new book or chapter, a Bible Project video will lay out the overall message of each book so that you don’t get lost or confused. For those looking for a reading plan to get through the Bible in a year, this is a must.
3. You Version
This is Bible.com’s app, and it’s a doozy. The app includes the Bible in 50 english versions, many of which have audio bibles included. The app also includes studies and plans to help you study the different parts of the Bible in a way and manner that works best for you, and you can use keywords to search for Bible verses and studies. Maybe the best part of this app is that you can connect to other people through the app, allowing a group of people to read the Bible, or go through a study together at the same pace, ask each other questions, and start conversations all in the app itself. This makes it a great way for a small group or friend group to keep each other accountable as they read the Bible together.
Whether you use these or other resources, let’s make 2018 a year where we GROW in our familiarity with God’s word, our relationship with Him, and our similarity to Jesus. God bless, and happy reading!
by Luke Hildebrand | Jan 1, 2018 | Personal Growth|