My Bible Reading Plan for 2020 is something I’m really excited to get kicked off…maybe the most excited I’ve been in years. It will be a challenge. But most good things don’t come easy. And I want to devote this year to knowing Scripture. Now that I’ve put it online, I have to stick to it, right?!
Here’s the plan:
This whole endeavor started with this article published by Joe Carter a few years ago. I’ve read it a few times, appreciated its perspective, but never tried it for myself. It might sound a little crazy to you, but hang with me!
The gist of the plan: Pick a book of the Bible, read 20x, repeat. You can read more about it here.
Joe has since changed this number to 5-10x in a follow-up article, but I’m personally sticking with 20, at least for now. Especially as a pastor, I think there could be some added benefits for me to stick to the original 20.
The cited Sanders article is also worth reading, to get more perspective on the “why” behind this way of reading Scripture. Sanders quotes James Gray at length, the man behind this “mastery” approach to Scripture.
I also laid a few ground rules for myself on how I’ll be getting this done:
– Only use my ESV Reader’s Bible set for the readings. The ESV Reader’s Bible is designed to minimize distraction during reading, removing all chapter/verse numbers, footnotes, and cross-references. The text reads like your favorite novel. Oh, and they’re beautifully-designed, too.
– Strive for daily reading. I think daily Bible reading is a good, even an important practice. But it is also not an ultimate practice. More important is being formed by the Word, and having meaningful engagement with it. One of the great features of this plan is that it doesn’t box me into times or days. I get out of it what I put into it.
– Complete daily reading before I use my phone in the AM. This is a practice I started after reading The Common Rule this year, and it’s such an important component of my day. I’m not perfect and don’t get it done every morning. But I tell the difference on the days I do. This is a physical way to catechize myself into remembering what it is that should get priority each morning and what will center me for the day.
– Alternate reading OT/ NT books. I think one reason many Bible plans fail is that they ask people to spend all their study time in one section of Scripture for months on end. This can be discouraging, especially when you fall behind on daily readings. I think it’s wise to get a balanced dose of Old Testament and New Testament as I go.
– Pray the Bible to close. Pretty straightforward, but I want my Scripture reading to direct my prayer life. I don’t want to over-correct and so “master” the Bible that I forget the majesty of its mystery and the unsearchable nature of its riches.
I created myself a spreadsheet to help me keep track of where I’m at in the process. I’ve also included a column that shows the average length of time to read each book of the Bible, using a resource from Desiring God. If you’re interested in jumping in and giving it a try, you can access that spreadsheet here:
Whatever you decide to do for Bible reading in 2020, make sure you do something that’s going to grow your love for God & His Word. Make every effort to be consistent, but be gracious. Challenge yourself, but don’t take yourself too seriously. And pray to grasp these sacred words.