Getting the Most Out of Bible Reading

In recent years I have been using a Bible reading plan to make sure I get through the Bible at least once a year. If you want to know, I have been helped by Don Carson’s daily email, ‘For the Love of God’. Each day I get an email with the readings for the day and a few paragraphs of commentary from Dr C. The readings are based on the Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading plan with some minor modifications. You can easily find a copy of this plan by googling “M’Cheyne reading plan”. There’s one here.

While Dr Carson’s commentary is good, and I would thoroughly recommend it, I have tended to use the email simply as a prompt for what to read in the Bible. I fear that we can too easily skip over the Bible to get to men’s words without doing the work of labouring in the word. Besides, I like reading just the Bible.

For the last two or three years I have been using the email as a prompt for what Bible book to read. A problem with reading four chapters from four different places in the Bible is that it is easy to lose any sense of context and flow of the book in which each chapter sits. I don’t want to lose that perspective. So I stick with a book till I am finished. Of course I don’t need to use Carson’s email for this. Simply making a list of the books of the Bible and systematically working through them would work too. However, Carson/M’Cheyne helps keep the balance through the year of OT and NT.

After coming back from holiday I noticed that Dave Bish had posted a link to another post by Dan Edelen about Bible reading. The post is interesting and takes Bible reading one step further. Why have a one-year Bible reading plan? Why not make it a rest-of-life Bible reading plan? His concern is that even with a one-year plan, people simply do not remember and understand what they have read. Amazing, but possibly true. With Dan’s plan there is an emphasis on really wrestling with a book, not verse by verse, but by re-reading books in single sittings, looking for themes, ideas and application.

Seems a good idea and well worth reading his post. As Dan says,

This is about sixty years of discipleship. It’s not about getting through the Bible in a certain length of time.

Getting the Most Out of Bible Reading