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.
With the beginning of each new year, I begin a Bible reading plan that guides my reading through the complete Bible in the course of the coming year. It has been an excellent discipline for me for many reasons, not least of which that this is one of the foundational spiritual disciplines of the Christian life.
Over the years, I have used Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible reading plan numerous times, along with D. A. Carson’s devotional commentary to accompany this reading plan, For the Love of God. This plan along with the devotional commentary has been extremely fruitful in my life. It has you read in four different places in the Bible, a couple of passages from the Old Testament and a couple of passages from the New Testament. It is a rigorous plan in that you read through the Old Testament one time, and the Psalms and the New Testament two times.
For those who are pursuing credentialing in the EFCA and needing to study and prepare for the writing and defense of the EFCA Statement of Faith, I have compiled a bibliography to aid in the process of discerning the best of books to read under each of the articles of the Statement of Faith. In this bibliography I begin with the important exhortation to read the Bible, and not just or only other works. There is one Book we ought to master, or more accurately, to be mastered by, so though we certainly read other good books, we give special attention to God’s Word, the Scriptures.
The most important discipline in which to engage is the faithful reading of the Bible. I would encourage you to find a Bible reading plan that brings you through the Bible in one year, and then make the daily reading a part of your life. A great guide that has been used profitably by many is Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible reading guide, which brings you 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). 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. (Carson is working on volumes 3 and 4, which will complete this excellent series. When this is finished, every chapter of the whole Bible will be commented upon canonically, theologically [both biblical and systematic] and devotionally.)
This past year I used and completed The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan, which I am using again this year. 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.
Remember, as those created in the image of God, we are verbivores, i.e. we live or die based on the Word of God (Matt. 4:4).
Here are some sites to consider as you ponder the Bible reading plan you will use this year.
Bible Reading Plans (Ligonier)
How to Read the Whole Bible in 2014 (Justin Taylor)
Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan (Navigators)