when, how, and why to read your bible this year.

Who is ready for 2020?! I have to admit that most years when Christmas passes, I spend the week leading into a new year trying to hold tightly to the Christmas spirit: continuing to play Christmas music, keeping the tree and stockings up, and pretending that it isn’t all over. But this year, I feel refreshed and encouraged by what might lie ahead in 2020.

As we prepare to pop the bubbly and ring in a new year, I hope and pray that so many of you are resolving to read your Bible more often. It can feel daunting, I know. To help, I’ve rounded up a few resources that I’ve used to help you tackle this goal head-on. And unlike so many other goals that we might set for the year, I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the fruit of this one will be far greater than anything else we could devote ourselves to in the new year. Who’s with me? Let’s do this.

First, let’s address a few of those lingering questions:

Why do I need to read my Bible?
This question sat in my heart for so long, because let’s be 100% honest here: for those of us who don’t read our Bible often, it feels boring. It feels ancient and hard to interpret and we’d rather read a book about the Bible or hear our pastor tell us what happened in the Bible instead of reading it ourselves. But y’all, let this soak in for a minute: the Bible is God’s Word. The God we worship, serve, pray to – the God that came down to us and sacrificed Himself so that we could have life – has left us with pages upon pages of His perfect and holy Word. It’s there for us to unpack, cherish, obey, and trust. It doesn’t feel like it from the outside looking in, but when we open up the pages and trust that God will work in our obedience, big things happen. I’ve seen it happen in my own life, and I know it can happen in yours too. Give it a shot, trust me.

When and how should I read my Bible?
Maybe you’re in complete agreement that reading the Bible is of critical importance, but where do you start? Do we just open it up randomly and start reading whatever page we land on? I think the complexity of the Bible, with all of its books and timelines and the rarity of reading it cover to cover like you would with any other book, is what kept me from reading God’s Word for so long. That’s where the reading plans I’m going to share later really come into play. In terms of the logistics, here are my best suggestions:

  • When: Start somewhere. When I started reading my Bible consistently, I did it twice each week. I would get up 30 minutes earlier than normal on a weekday, and I would read from the Community Bible Reading plan (more details on this below). Even if you start with once a week, I would suggest making it weekly so that it becomes a consistent part of your routine. As you become more comfortable with opening up your Bible, try to increase the number of times you read each week.
  • How:
    • Logistically: This might look different for everyone, but I’ve found it easiest to read in the morning when my brain is fresh and it’s the first thing on my to-do list. I found myself opting out of reading my Bible when I saved it for the evening, because I was tired and my brain didn’t want to absorb any more content for the day. It isn’t always perfect: sometimes Harper wakes up early and I’m trying to balance my Bible on the arm of the couch while she’s throwing Cheerios across the room… but I trust that God is working more in 5 minutes of reading His Word than anything I could ever do with all the time in the world. Trust that He will do the same for you, no matter how and when you read the Bible.
    • Mentally: I think one of the main hurdles we face when opening God’s Word is that it feels irrelevant. I will be the first to admit that making my way through 1 and 2 Chronicles, when it feels like nothing but genealogies, was exhausting. But here is what I’ve missed for so long: the whole story of the Bible is about Jesus. The Old Testament points forward to Him (prophecies of the coming Messiah abound in it all), and the New Testament points back to Him, citing His death and resurrection as the reason for our hope for eternal life. I can’t encourage you enough to read through this lens: how does what I’m reading point to Jesus?

Where to start:
I’ve outlined below what plans I’ve used over the past three years to read my Bible, as well as the plan that Jordan and I are planning to tackle in the new year. What I hope you see is that this has been a slow and steady progression for me, but over the years God has placed this firm, steady desire in my heart to open up my Bible in all circumstances. Every morning, the first priority is to open up His Word, and it has changed me. That same opportunity sits before you!

  • Community Bible Reading: Our church in Richmond introduced us to this as a way for our Bible study groups to read the same material and discuss it each week. This plan emphasizes the idea that if you miss a day, no need to go back and catch up — just keep steady with today’s reading, and don’t beat yourself up over missing a day or two. This approach really helped me as I got started, so I really encourage it if you’re new to Bible reading. It’s also a great plan to tackle with a friend to hold you accountable! You can access today’s reading, purchase a journal (although you don’t need one to use the plan), and learn more by clicking here!
  • Chronological Bible in a Year: In 2018, I set out to read the Bible from cover to cover in one year. It was challenging, but so worth it. I used this plan, which goes through the Bible in the order that its events happened. I wrote down my reading for each day on a calendar, but you can do what works best for you! You can also download the YouVersion app, which provides a number of Bible reading plans that will provide you with each day’s reading right on your phone.
  • She Reads Truth: As I looked at 2019, I knew balancing a newborn and daily Bible reading was going to be an adjustment. After reading the Bible in a year, I wanted to find something that came with a devotion in smaller-sized chunks of reading, so I came across She Reads Truth. It is amazing! You get the day’s reading in your email each morning (or you can use their app), along with a devotional that helps shed light on the text. They also have He Reads Truth and Kids Read Truth, if you’re looking for Bible reading plans for the whole family.
  • The Gospel Coalition’s 2020 Bible Reading Plan: I’m a little nervous to even put this out for the world to see, because I know this is going to be an intense plan for this year! So here it is, and y’all can hold me accountable. Earlier this month, The Gospel Coalition published a Bible reading plan for 2020, complete with a daily newsletter, podcast, and TGC articles to accompany the text. I have really been looking for something that will help me to dive deep into God’s Word, taking the surface-level reading I’ve done over the past three years and really challenging me to go even deeper into the text. My hope and prayer is that through immersing myself in the content that TGC is graciously putting forth this year, I’ll be renewed and refreshed by God’s Word. Even if this plan feels a little overwhelming to you, I would recommend reading the article as it does a great job of explaining why we should read our Bible!

Happy new year, dear readers! As always, thank you for reading!