Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bible Reading Plans for 2012

Two years ago I decided to begin reading the Bible all the way through each year. I started out last year doing a historical plan and read through the Old Testament according to the Hebrew Bible (which has books arranged differently than our standard Bibles) and the New Testament in order of when they were written. I liked this because it gave me a good understanding and perspective of God's Messiah from how Israel may have experienced things. It was also more practical for me (I typically listen to an audio version of the Bible on my iPhone while I run and/or during my commute to and from work) because I could easily navigate through books on my iPhone.

This year, to try something different, I've been reading the ESV Study Bible's plan which includes daily readings from one of four categories of writing. One benefit of this plan was a variety of experience of God's Word each day - often times overlapping in theme or message, such as Isaiah and Revelation. I've enjoyed reading some Old Testament mixed with Psalms and New Testament writings, and have thought more holistically about God's redemptive plan in history. However, this plan was less practical for me because it has required making a playlist each day for all of the 4 categories of readings, which has been monotonous and difficult to track at times.

In 2012 I want to continue this tradition to help me consistently remain in Scripture and hear from God each day. I'm considering reading the Chronological plan or the simple Straight Through plan, though I'm leaning towards the former. As an aid to you, I want to include two links to very organized and thorough resources with various Bible Reading plans for 2012:

  1. Ligonier Ministries has a list that includes PDF's of each plan to help you track your reading
  2. Justin Taylor also has a list with Crossway's ESV resources that include multiple formats (iCal, RSS, print, etc.), as well as PDF's
There's one more resource I want to point out, but separated from the other two because it's new to me and I wanted to highlight it. Tim Challies first alerted me to this when he initiated The 3650 Challenge on his blog. It's based on Professor Grant Horner's system of reading 10 chapters of the Bible for 365 days, totaling 3,650 chapters in one year. The premise is that quicker repetition of reading, rather than in-depth study, can provide the same benefits of becoming familiar with Scripture as slower reading. It's definitely a demanding plan for those who may have the time and are willing to commit to it; I am simply not at a place in my life yet where I can do that with two small boys at home. Challies created a Facebook group for those who want to join the challenge.

So there you have it. I hope these are helpful for you in planning your new year around God's Word, and I pray that He will use these resources to spread His Gospel of peace to the world, as well as deepen His roots in your own heart.

UPDATE:
After reading on Joni Eareckson Tada's blog that she's doing the Chronological version, I made up my mind that I will do that for 2012 as well!

UPDATE 2:
I recently found an app for iOS (Apple) devices that can help track progress: ReadingPlan (App Store). It's a free app that I've used for the past few days and found it extremely helpful so far. You can pick your reading plan to set it up, then simply check boxes next to that day's reading and see a progress bar for the year. You can also view each day's reading right from within the app (which I haven't used, but just noticed the feature existed). Check it out!

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