There is nothing like reading a chapter of the Bible in the morning and a chapter at night, along with some study notes. I did that the first time I read through the Bible back in 1996 and it was life-changing. Hey, God’s word does what it promises. Who knew?
While I’ve never stopped reading completely, I’ve had different patterns over the years, usually just once a day. But late last year I started back with the twice a day routine and I don’t think I’ll ever stop. It is just the perfect set of bookends for the day.
I don’t try to get through the entire Bible in a year. Nothing wrong with that, of course. I’ve done it before, and even listened to it over just a few months when I’d play it in the car regularly. The pace I’m on now is a “read the Bible in 20 months” plan.
I’ve always loved the chronological approach, but I do like a mix of Old and New Testament as well. But I think my favorite will be this plan I came across in Logos, where you cycle through 7 different books. Currently I’m going through a few chapters each of Genesis, Ruth, Psalms, Job, Isaiah, Matthew and 1 Corinthians. It is a great mix, where every day or two I’m reading from a different book.
For prayer, I made a personal translation of the Valley of Vision Puritan prayers, where I converted them from old English poetry form to contemporary prose. I read one a day. (I wish I could get it published, as it is so much more accessible than the original, but the copyright owners didn’t even respond to my request.)
I also just started using the PrayerMate prayer app, which is an easy way to keep track of various prayer categories.
Finally, I love the Bible Memory app. I cycle through a batch of verses at least once a day, sometimes more often. When I come across a new verse or passage I add it to the list. Whenever I am bored or distracted I am inclined to reach for my phone to do something. But having taken off social media apps, I now go to the Bible Memory app and do a few verses instead. Aside from being a great part of your devotional time, it is helpful if you are out waiting for something like an oil change or whatever. It really redeems the time.
And while I am not good at memorizing, this app has helped me memorize so many more verses, passages and even whole chapters than I ever thought possible. My challenge is not to just go through them and not think about them. For example, I’ve gone through Jude so many times that I can recite it without thinking about it, so I need to challenge myself to slow down and meditate on what it says.
So that’s it. Morning: Prayer, then reading a chapter of the Bible and the accompanying study notes, then some memory verses. Evening: Another chapter. And perhaps more memory verses at breaks during the day.
I love this routine and its results. Your mileage may vary.
Some people are busier than ever during this pandemic, but others have lots of time on their hands. For the latter, this is a great time to establish good habits in this area. If you can’t do it now, when will you?
And remember that even if you are very busy, you can listen to the word of God on audio – for free! Redeem your commute! Each chapter is only about 4 minutes, so you’ll be surprised at how much ground you can cover. Of course you can’t look at study notes and such, but the word of God is what really matters. And if you get distracted there is always the rewind button.
And if you still say you don’t have time, ask yourself how much entertainment you consume each day, and why God designed the world in such a way that you never have time for his daily bread.