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|