We are a week into 2019. I hope you have joined me on the 2019 New Testament Bible Reading Plan (or a Bible reading plan of your choosing). If not, there is still time to join. There are no readings on the weekends, so you can use those days to catch up.
A few readers emailed me to ask about how the New Testament Reading plan was developed. So I wrote this post to share my thinking behind this plan.
I know many people struggle with the discipline of daily Bible reading. After discussing the challenges with some of our church members, there was a consistent theme that I recognized. In the past, I had encouraged full Bible Reading plans that included both the Old and New Testaments. Many who tried to follow these plans had a difficult time keeping up with this plan because of the amount of reading required each day. They wanted something more manageable.
This was why I worked on a New Testament Reading Plan. It would still offer a sense of accomplishment at the end of the year but was less of a commitment. As I shared previously, the goal is not reading the Bible for the sake of reading the Bible. The goal is connecting with God on a daily basis. We are reading for depth, not breath. Reading just the New Testament makes the daily Bible reading easier to accomplish.
Another thing about his plan is that it is a 5 day/week plan. That leaves two days where there is no assigned reading. We all have things happen in life where our routines are interrupted. There will come a day when you miss a reading. With a 7 day/week plan, you would need to double up your reading to catch up. But with this plan, there are two days built in that add a buffer. Hopefully, you will not need to use these days very often. If you don’t need the days to catch up, you can use the extra days to go back and reflect upon the readings of the previous week. Or you can read ahead!
When you look at the plan, the first thing you might notice is that it does not go straight through the New Testament. It does not start at the beginning and go to the end. Rather, it jumps around from book to book. Keep in mind that the Bible is more than a book. It is a library that contains 66 books. The ancient Greek word for Bible means library. When you understand the Bible is a library it gives you the freedom to look at the Bible in a different way than you look at other books. The biggest thing it frees you from is the obligation to start reading on page 1.
With the freedom of not starting at the beginning, I tried to space the reading of the gospels throughout the year. I did not want to bunch the readings of all the gospels up front. We started with the Gospel of Mark on January 1 which is the shortest gospel. Then we come back to the other gospels during different seasons in the year. This allows us to keep coming back to the story of Jesus.
I also looked at the dates for Good Friday and Easter. I wanted the readings to be aligned with the observances and celebrations at that time of the year. You might also notice that there is special reading inserted on December 25.
My prayer is that this reading plan would be a blessing for many people and help them consistently read the Bible. I would love to hear your feedback. How has this reading plan helped you? Where do you struggle with daily Bible reading?