Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Intake of the Word, Part 2


Last week I shared the reading plan that I use in order to get a steady intake of the Word. I wrote that I plan to read through the New Testament once a month. For any who might wonder about including the Old Testament in your reading plan, permit me to share the rest of the story. As anyone can tell, the Old Testament is almost four times longer than the New. So, for me, I try to read through the Old Testament once a year. The question is how do I do it? At first glance, it seems like a daunting task. Many who start reading through the Old Testament get bogged down as they try to get through Leviticus so be forewarned. Push through it even if you do not grasp as much as you did in Genesis and Exodus.

Someone asked the proverbial question, "How do you eat an elephant?" The classic response is,"One bite at a time." How do you read through the Old Testament? One page at a time. I have broken the Old Testament into monthly assignments. Daily readings can be from two to four pages. Here is how you can break what appears to be a monumental task into smaller manageable units:

January: read Genesis and Exodus

February: read Leviticus through Deuteronomy

March: read Joshua through 1 Samuel

April: read 2 Samuel through 1 Kings

May: read 2 Kings through 2 Chronicles

June: read Ezra through Job

July: read Psalms

August: read Proverbs through Song of Solomon

September: read Isaiah

October: read Jeremiah

November: read Lamentations through Daniel

December: read Hosea through Malachi

This is a simple plan that will work if you will simply implement it. The key is consistency. I challenge you to get into God's Word and read it and study it for your self. Whenever I read the Scriptures, I always ask three guiding questions: What does it say? What does it mean? And, what am I going to do about it? I challenge you to get into the Word and let it shape you into being Christ-like!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Intake of the Word

One of the most important Spiritual Disciplines is to maintain a steady intake of the Word of God. Many believers have intentions to read their Bible but do not have a plan. As a result, they are hit and miss with more misses than hits.

Last year, as I was planning my disciplines for the coming year, My wife and I had the good fortune of spending a weekend with Steve and Donna Gaines in Memphis. That Sunday, Bellevue Baptist Church distributed an outline of how a person might read through the New Testament in a month. I have incorporated that discipline in my own schedule. Should you get more than three days behind due to unforeseen circumstances, I encourage you to skip those passages and simply pick up on the day's assigned reading. I know of people who get behind and just give up. Don't let that happen to you. Each number corresponds with the day of the month. Here is the outline that I use each day:
1.    Matthew 1-8
2.    Matthew 9-15
3.    Matthew 16-23
4.    Matthew 24-28
5.    Mark 1-7
6.    Mark 8-13
7.    Mark 14- Luke 2
8.    Luke 3-8
9.    Luke 9-13
10.  Luke 14-21
11.  Luke 22- John 2
12.  John 3-8
13.  John 9-15
14.  John 16- Acts 1
15.  Acts 2-8
16.  Acts 9-15
17.  Acts 16-21
18.  Acts 22- Romans 1
19.  Romans 2-10
20.  Romans 11- 1 Corinthians 6
21. 1 Corinthians 7-15
22.  1 Corinthians 16- 2 Corinthians 12
23.  2 Corinthians 13- Ephesians 4
24.  Ephesians 5- Colossians 4
25.  1 Thessalonians 1- 1 Timothy 6
26.  2 Timothy 1- Hebrews 6
27.  Hebrews 7- James 2
28.  James 3- 1 John 1
29. 1 John 2- Revelation 4
30.  Revelation 5-22

If you will accept the challenge to read a significant portion of the New Testament on a daily basis, it will strengthen your walk with the Lord. Here is a plan that will work if you will make it a priority. My habit is not to read anything else including looking at my iPhone or iPad until after I have spent time in the Word. Remember, we do what we plan, prioritize, and practice. There is a reward for those who put the Lord first.