Friday, December 28, 2007

Eat more (spiritual) food

We're pretty good at feeding our bodies, but are we equally faithful to feed our souls? Perhaps you are making a resolution to “eat less” food in the new year. Why not also resolve to “eat more” spiritual food? Job had a constant craving for the Word of God. He said, “I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12).

Here are several Bible reading plans to help improve your spiritual intake in 2008:

  • The Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan. Designed by Discipleship Journal, this plan is my personal favorite. I’ve used it for several years. There are two readings each day. I read the first in the morning in private devotions, and then Natalie and I read the latter (one chapter) at bedtime. I must confess I didn’t make it all the way through the Bible this year (I will probably only make it into November). Nevertheless, this reading chart has given me the guidance and accountability I need to read my Bible regularly.
  • The Robert Murray M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan. M’Cheyne was a Scottish pastor in the nineteenth century who died at age 29. He was a devout man of God – truly a man of whom the world was not worthy (Heb. 11:38). His reading plan goes through the Old Testament once a year, and the New Testament twice a year. A little more rigorous, but very rewarding.
  • A One Year Bible like the MacArthur Daily Bible. These Bibles have gained popularity in the last decade, and are formatted specifically for daily Bible reading. They are broken into 365 daily readings, so you can read from front to back without all the flipping. In the MacArthur version, each day has an Old Testament passage, New Testament passage, a Psalm, and portion of a Proverb.

One common element of these plans is that you do not attempt to read the Bible sequentially, from Genesis to Revelation. If you tried reading straight through the Bible in a year, it would be September 30th before you even got to the New Testament. Not a good idea! It’s much better to alternate between the Old and New Testament, as each of these plans do.

In 2008, may all of us treasure God's word more than our necessary food!


David said...

I agree with the need to read the Scriptures more. I am typically resistant to the idea that I should read through every year. If only I read so fast! How many times have I read "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth -- and failed to read: "Amos, a Shepherd from Tekoah..."

I am thinking about changing translations and reading through the ESV. And thoughts on that translation?

Stephen Jones said...

I agree that not everyone will be able to read the whole Bible in a year. I would rather a person read the Bible regularly and succeed, than try to read too much every day, only to grow discouraged and eventually give up. On the other hand, sometimes we content ourselves with tiny snacks of Bible intake when we should be seeking full meals.

ESV is a good translation. I'm curious which one you're currently using. The ESV is a bit more readable than the NASB, but a bit more textually accurate than the KJV or NIV. I personally use the NASB, but as Marty Leach once said, "Choose the translation that you're going to apply in your life."

David said...

For the pulpit I use NIV beause I think it's the most readable translation that is trusted.

When preaching I try not to "switch" translations mid sermon, or use several translations with every point. Ever seen someone do that? I get the feeling they are looking for a translation to say what they want, not drawing their points from the text.

Anyway, I use NIV because it's readable. But I like NASB a lot! My hope was that ESV would be a balance of NIV/NASB/KJV.