If you were committed to getting into physical shape, one of your first steps would be to write out a plan of attack: when you’d go to the gym, how much time you’d spend there, which exercises you’d do, and what other life habits would need to change to maximize your workout. You’d follow this predetermined plan to keep you accountable (on the days you didn’t feel like working out) and to track your growth.
Now think about this: God wants to shape you more and more into the image of His Son. One of the primary ways God does that is through His written Word, the Bible. Not only does God give us direction in life through His Word, but the truth we discover there also guards our hearts and minds from error – specifically, from the Enemy’s deceptions. We demonstrate our trust in God by reading, learning, knowing, and obeying God’s Word.
If you are committed to following Jesus, then you should select a plan of attack: when you’ll spend time in God’s Word daily, how much time you’ll spend there, what you’re going to read, and what other life habits need to change to maximize your time in God’s Word. This could be anything from toning down how much social media you consume, all the way to eliminating a destructive and sinful habit you’ve accommodated for a while. The key is this: having this plan established will keep you accountable and also help track your growth, as God continues to shape you into the image of Jesus.
We’ve put together a few different plans for you to choose from. Remember: the key is spending daily, quality time with God – not just trying to absorb content or check off a box. Choose a plan that will lead you into that quality time, and consider inviting a friend or family member to join you in that same plan.
- 5x5x5 New Testament Plan.
5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, with 5 suggestions for how to retain what you’re reading. If you’ve struggled in the past, this would be a great place to start. You will read through the entire New Testament in a year. (Get plan here: 5x5x5)
- Book-at-a-Time Plan.
This plan is great for its variety. The first reading alternates between Old and New Testament; the second reading selects from the Wisdom books (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs) or Isaiah. You could read both selections together or split them up between morning and evening. You’ll end up having read the whole Bible in a year. (Get plan here: Book-at-a-Time)
- Genesis-through-Revelation Plan.
January 1 starts in Genesis 1, and December 31 ends in Revelation 22. This plan journeys straight through the pages of Scripture, requiring about 3 chapters per day (sometimes more, sometimes less). A segment of this plan is what we include in each Monthly Bulletin you receive at The Chapel. (Get plan here: Genesis-through-Revelation)
- “Read the OT and Dig into the NT” Plan.
This plan is a bit of a hybrid, doesn’t have a cool name, but if you’re looking for a change of pace, this plan may help you. Bottom line: you read through the Old Testament in its entirety in a year, but for the New Testament books, you read one book (or one lengthy passage) repeatedly each day for a month. Since most of the New Testament books were written as letters, they were meant to be read in their entirety. Sometimes we lift verses from the Bible completely out of context, and to our own detriment.
As an example, read through the letter to the Philippians. Most people can read it in fewer than 10 minutes (or quicker if you leave your phone in another room). Read that letter every day for 30 days and you will really begin to have a grasp for what Paul is communicating. You’ll discover the major themes of the book and of each chapter, and you’ll finally see what Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things…”) is really about – and that it’s not a carte blanchemotivational verse to help you ace that test or finish that 5k.
The goal is that you will embrace the message of the Old Testament while discovering the fulfillment of all things in Christ through the New Testament. You won’t settle for a cursory, surface-level reading of the Bible, but instead will want to uncover the rich truths of Scripture – with the intent of actually doing what it says! (Get the plan here: 3-year plan)