I confess that I've started many and finished none. Does that make me a Bible-reading failure? I don't think so. I'm of the quality over quantity sort. While I enjoy reading certain books together to see how God's narrative of redemption fits together, I learn more when I read slowly and deliberately. When I don't feel the condemnation of the unchecked boxes. It's taken me a while - up until right now - to realize that it's okay if I don't subject myself to this pressure. While it's true there are verses - in fact, entire books - in the Bible I've never read, God won't bar me from Heaven. My salvation rests on the shed blood of Christ, not checks on a bookmark.
I admit I've been frustrated in years past because I can't keep up, but the impetus for my change in attitude has been my pastor. He started preaching on Exodus last January. As of this writing, we are little more than halfway through. Some people may cringe at the thought of going through a book - particularly an Old Testament book - at this snail's pace, but I have learned more than I ever thought I would. Holding a magnifying glass to Israel's exodus to the wilderness has helped me discover Jesus and the glory of the Gospel over and over again.
In 2015 I'll be spending three months with each of the Gospels, focusing on the life and ministry of Jesus. I want to think deeply on these things, and ponder them in my heart as Mary did (Luke 2:19). Of course I'll be reading along in Exodus until we finish, then I'll start whatever book my pastor preaches through next. And I'll also be reading the Scripture recommendations in my devotional resource, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional.
At the beginning of this year Lisa wrote a post about the rewards of reading through the Bible in a year. I encourage you to read it and give it much thought. Focusing on the Gospels is what I need in the coming year, but others will have different needs. If you've found a particular reading plan that works well for you, please share it in the comments as an exhortation to others.
Happy New Year and may you be blessed by whichever plan you choose for 2015. As Lisa wrote, "The goal is not the plan; the goal is reading the Word."
For as the rain and snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
*Please note I'm not suggesting that reading the entire Bible in a year isn't a worthwhile pursuit, or that we should ignore portions of the Bible. My 2015 approach is what I feel I need to do at this particular point in my life. The bottom line is to Read.The.Word.