Don't look now, but January is almost here. And with it—for many of us—comes our yearly opportunity to read those monumental opening words of Genesis as we begin our annual Bible read-through.
I've been doing this for more than a dozen years, so allow me to pass along a few tips:
● Establish a routine. Over the years I've done my daily Bible reading on a Chicago Transit Authority El train, during lunch, at my desk during break times … the key is finding a time and place that usually fits your schedule.
● Be flexible. Sometimes life happens. If you miss a few days, keep going. Catch up if you can, but don't get discouraged and quit. This year after finishing John's gospel, I decided not to move on to Acts. Instead, I went back to the beginning of Matthew for another run through the gospels.
● Follow a memorable plan. After a few years trying to follow plans that specified various daily readings from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, I found one that made more sense for me. Starting in Genesis, I read straight through. Reading just three chapters daily and five on Sunday gets you there. You don't need a complicated schedule, just a bookmark.
● Listen as you read. A few years ago at a convention I received a “GoBible.” This dedicated MP3 player, which contains an audio version of the entire Bible, has revolutionized my daily reading. Even when the narrator gets to the “boring parts”—you know what those are—he never misses a beat. Same with those hard-to-pronounce names. As I listen, I also follow along in a text version—sometimes the same translation, sometimes not.
● Listen online. This feature may have been available for years, but I noticed it only recently. Besides the texts of various versions of Scripture, the website BibleGateway.com also offers audio of six of those English translations. Whether you listen online or with a gadget, the audio doubles the input you receive and helps keep you on task.
● Tell a friend. Especially if you're new to this, find a friend who will read through the Scriptures with you. If you don't need the accountability, perhaps your friend will.