Many Christians want to faithfully read the Bible, but they don’t really know how to begin. Here I’m talking about daily reading, not an in-depth study of a book of the Bible. Some will decide that they want to read the Bible from beginning to end. That is an excellent goal, as you will see God’s grand story (Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation) displayed from Genesis to Revelation. Those who commit to this usually make a good start with the oftentimes familiar historical narratives found in the books of Genesis and Exodus, but then run into Leviticus, get frustrated, and many just give up.
Some prefer to read through the New Testament, ignoring the Old Testament, but that’s a mistake. It would be like reading just the last 25% of a great novel or mystery. Others may choose to read through the Psalms of the Old Testament or the Gospels of the New Testament. Some, like me, will choose to read through the Bible from beginning to end, and when finished with Revelation, go back and start again in Genesis. The scriptures are so rich, you will never get tired of reading God’s word. A lifetime of reading the Bible is not enough to mine all of the riches in its pages.
There isn’t one perfect approach to reading the Bible, the key is just to commit to doing it on a regular basis, preferably daily. It’s also best to find a consistent time and place in your day that works best for you. It may be in the morning over coffee, listening to it on audio in the car on your morning commute, or in the evening before going to sleep. For me, it’s while I’m on the exercise bike in the morning. Again, it doesn’t matter when or where it is, just that it works for you and your schedule.
Although the English Standard Version (ESV) is my favorite version of the Bible, in 2020 I will again use for my daily reading the CSB Spurgeon Study Bible, edited by Alistair Begg and includes study notes from Charles Spurgeon. I’ll supplement that with the book introductions from the Reformation Study Bible (ESV), for which R.C. Sproul served as General Editor.
For your daily reading, choose a version of the Bible that is easy for you to understand, or you can certainly use a more accurate translation if you want to dig deeper for your Bible study if you would like. For example, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is translated word for word and New International Version (NIV), is a thought for thought translation. Bible Gateway is an excellent online FREE resource. It gives you many versions of the Bible to choose from including audio bibles, and also includes access to commentaries (my wife Tammy often consults Matthew Henry’s commentary).
Nathan Bingham of Ligonier Ministries has again done us all a favor by gathering a number of Bible reading plans for consideration. You can view Nathan’s article here.
New for 2020, the Gospel Coalition is partnering with Crossway to launch an initiative for 2020 called Read the Bible. The goal is to help individual Christians and churches feast on God’s Word in the coming year.
- Bible Reading Plan. Reading the Bible following Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s plan, which will take us through the entire Bible in a year (including the New Testament and Psalms twice). This is the main course. The rest are side dishes. Download the PDF reading plan, print out, and place it in your Bible. If you’re a pastor, small group leader, or discipling someone, consider printing out copies to give away and invite others to join you as you commit to the reading plan.
- Daily Newsletter. A daily newsletter with Don Carson’s devotional reflection along with weekly discussion questions for small groups, Sunday school classes, and church reading groups. Subscribe to the newsletter.
- Podcast. An audio-podcast reading of Don Carson’s For the Love of God(vol. 1), a daily devotional commentary that follows the M’Cheyne reading plan.
- Online Articles. Bible and theology articles on TGC’s website that track with the weekly Bible readings and help us answer tough questions that arise from what we’re reading in God’s Word.
Read more about this reading plan here.
So, don’t be overwhelmed: Tolle Lege! – just pick up and read! I encourage you to choose a plan and try to stick with it throughout the year, so you can know our great God and His story. You are part of that grand design!
Please share what reading plan you are going to use in 2020.