Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
One of the most important spiritual disciplines in which Christians ought to engage is the faithful reading of the Bible. For many of us, January is the time when that annual read-through the Bible plan begins. I would encourage you to find a Bible reading plan that brings you through the Bible in one year, or two years if you desire to read and ponder more slowly, and then make the daily reading a part of your life. For Christians this is not optional but essential for the well-being of one’s spiritual life.
A great guide that has been used profitably by many is Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible Reading Calendar. This guide has you read four different texts each day, and allows you to read through the Old Testament once, and the Psalms and the New Testament twice. A great help in this regard are the two volumes written by D. A. Carson, For the Love of God (Crossway), now available online. One of the daily Bible readings from M’Cheyne’s guide is explained, and the reading is also placed in the context of the whole Bible. This is an excellent devotional commentary; I know of none any better. (Carson is also writing volumes 3 and 4 in this series, so that each of the four daily readings will be commented upon, thus making a daily devotional/commentary on the whole Bible.)
Over the years, I have used M’Cheyne’s plan numerous times, along with Carson’s devotional commentary and profited greatly. The last two years, I used a combination of M’Cheyne’s Bible reading guide along with The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan. The Discipleship Journal Plan has you read four different texts of Scripture each day for 25 days each month, thus allowing for further study on some days or catch up on the reading, if necessary, and allows you to read through the whole Bible. I followed M’Cheyne for the Old Testament reading, which I completed in two years. I followed the Discipleship Journal plan for the New Testament, the Psalms and Proverbs.
This year I am using The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan once again. What is your plan to read the Bible in 2013? (If you need help to figure out which plan might be the best for you, Justin Taylor includes an annual post addressing this question.)