December 31, 2012

2013 Bible Reading Plans

At the end of every year, I plan how I will read the Bible the next year. I find that if I don't plan to read, I just don't read. These are the plans I've used for the past few years.

2010 (2009 too, I think) - Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan (pdf). This plan has selections from four different parts of the Bible each day and takes you through the whole Bible in a year. It gives you a few catch-up days each month. It's biggest pro could also be a con. Reading from four different places each day keeps things varied and allows for interesting serendipities. On the other hand, the reading can seem fragmented and it takes a while to get through the long books.

2011 - The Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan (pdf). This one is also from Discipleship Journal. It allows a few catch-up days each month, but provides:
two readings for each day. The first reading alternates between Old and New Testament books, giving you three or four chapters a day. The Gospels are spread throughout the year. The second reading takes you through a chapter or so of the wisdom literature and Isaiah. Combined,these readings will take you through the entire Bible in one year.
2012 - The Daily Bible Meditation Guide (pdf). This provides much shorter selections, curated by Doug Wolter at The selections are short, but the idea is "not to read less, but to meditate more." 2012 was the year in recent times (after having children) that I meditated most and journaled most. The short, well-selected readings were helpful for that.

2013 - My plan is to read the New Testament four times (once every three months) in four different translations.

I'm starting with The Message, and will probably read the ESV, Phillips, and the NASB or NRSV. I have all of these translations in paper, and these and many more are available for free on and Both of these sites have free audio Bibles if that is what you're into. Various smartphone and tablet apps are also available. Many people like the youversion Bible reading app.

Here are some recent blog posts about Bible reading that I've found helpful.

Want To Be Blessed in the New Year?

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

From Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of the Bible, called The Message. This famous passage from Matthew 5 is known as the Beatitudes.

December 29, 2012

Reading THE Good Book Well

This blog is about reading good books well. Most would say that the Bible is a good book, even THE Good Book. I read the Bible every day, and like many others, I read a study Bible. Jen Wilken at the Gospel Coalition questions the helpfulness of study Bible notes. She says that depending on the commentary in a study Bible can be like depending on a GPS. You get where you're going, but you don't really get to know your way around. She says that sometimes it's good to get lost.

Wilken follows up with thoughts about the right use of a study Bible and concludes with this exhortation.
So use your study Bible as it is intended to be used: as a reference point for your own conclusions, but not as a substitute for them. And get lost a little bit. Allow yourself to feel the extent of what you don't understand. It's a humbling feeling---but if your destination is wisdom and understanding, humility makes an excellent starting point for the journey. Seek with all of your heart, trusting the promise that those who do so will find that which they seek.
Read the rest.

Blog Merge

If you are one of the (very few) people who subscribe to this blog, you probably noticed a bunch of new posts. What I've done is merge my "Read Good Books Well" blog with this one. Sorry for the flood of posts after a long silence. Happy Week-between-Christmas-and-New-Year! We'll see what happens here in 2013.