Want to start the New Year off right? Join me in reading the Bible in one year! I want to challenge you this year to read God’s Word and be prepared to discover His purpose for your life! “What will happen if I read the Bible?” you may ask. Well, here are a few things that will happen if you take this challenge.
• Grow spiritually.
• Learn how to recognize God’s voice.
• Be able to make wiser decisions in life.
• Be prepared for life’s ups and downs.
• Experience a successful and fruitful life.
These are only a few of the many benefits of reading God’s Word! I encourage you to join me in 2011 in reading the Bible in one year. We can do it together! We can encourage each other to read God’s word in 2011!
So, how do I begin? There are a few options. The following are only suggestions. You may use any method or Bible reading plan that you choose. The idea for this challenge is to develop a daily habit of reading God’s Word.
OPTION 1: READ ONLINE THROUGH YOUVERSION
What you will need:
1. An Internet connection.
2. Desktop computer, laptop, or mobile phone
3. An email address.
4. A YouVersion account.
5. A small spiral notebook to write notes. (Optional)
YOUVERSION is a free online Bible that allows users to associate video, audio, images, text, tags, and links to other websites with any verse or series of verses in the Bible. Each piece of contributed content can be labeled as public or private, so the application can be used both as a personal study tool and a public expression of user-generated commentary. In addition to contributing content, Scripture can be organized by assigning user-defined “tags” to any verse of the Bible. It is an amazing tool that will help you in your walk with God!
Step 1: If you have Internet access on your computer or mobile phone, go to http://www.youversion.com.
Step 2: Sign up for a FREE account at www.youversion.com (It should take about 5mins or less). Go to the upper right hand corner and click on the “Sign Up” link and fill in the boxes.
Step 3: Once you have created your new account, sign into YouVersion.
Step 4: At the homepage, go to your upper left hand corner to the Bible tab and you will see a drop down menu. Click on Reading Plans and it will take you to the Bible reading plans page.
Step 5: On this page, you will find many different Bible reading plans. Seeing that we are taking up the challenge to read the Bible in one year, choose the One Year Bible by Tyndale House Publishers. MAKE SURE TO Click on “Start This Plan” ON JANUARY 1st if you want to start from the beginning. If you don’t, that’s still ok. You will be able to finish the last scheduled reading for this year then the plan begins again on January 1st.
Step 6: Take notes. As you read through the One Year Bible reading plan, follow these simple guidelines adapted from pastor Wayne Cordeiro:
Pray: Ask the Lord to speak to you through His Word.
Scripture: As you go through the days reading schedule, ask the Lord to speak to your heart and highlight “ONE” text in particular. This will be the “ONE” verse God has for you that day. Reflect on it, memorize it, repeat it, say it, write it, apply it, live it, hide it in your heart. Allow God to speak his word to you by focusing on “ONE” main thought from your daily reading for that day.
Observation: To best hear what God has to say to you, you must still your heart and listen. As the Holy Spirit highlights that one single thought, observe what the verse says. Think about to whom the passage was originally addressed and why it was written. Ponder its meaning, its tone, its purpose. Take several moments to meditate on it. Let it’s message penetrate your heart. Next, write down what you have observed. It may be a short paragraph or a few sentences. Take into context the setting and situation. Make an observation of what’s happening, who’s affected, what’s taking place. This will increase your comprehension and develop your observation skills.
Application: After carefully observing what the text says, take some time to write out how you plan to put into practice what God has just brought to your attention. How will you be different today as a result of what you’ve just read? Application answers the question, “How does this verse or thought apply to me?”
Prayer: Finish your time in the Word with a thoughtful prayer to God. Ask Him to help you apply what you’ve just learned. Don’t forget to tell Him how thankful you are for the power of His Word. Write out your prayer.
Once you’ve completed these simple guidelines for reading God’s Word, create a date and a descriptive title for your entry. Write it at the top for that day.
If you are using a notebook for your notes, leave the first couple of pages blank. You will be creating a table of contents that will contain the entries you have made.
If you are using the “Notes” section in YouVersion, create “Tags” so you can find your entries on a particular subject you have written about. Also remember that you have an option to set your entry for that day to either “Private” status or “Public” status. If you want to share what God is saying to you that day with everyone, choose your status to “Public”. If you do not want to share, choose the “Private” status option.
YouVersion is an amazing tool that can help you grow spiritually. Take some time to explore its many features.
OPTION 2: RECEIVE DAILY AND WEEKLY READINGS BY EMAIL
What you will need:
1. An Internet connection.
2. Desktop computer, laptop, or mobile phone.
3. An email address.
4. A small spiral notebook to write notes. (Optional)
Step 1: Go to www.oneyearbibleonline.com and search for the Free Newsletter Signup located on the right hand column.
Step 2: After entering your name and email, check the following: Daily One Year Readings and Weekly One Year Readings. Each week beginning on Sunday, you will receive the scheduled readings for the week and a daily reading schedule as well.
Step 3: Check your email, you may have to confirm that your email is working properly in order to receive the One Year Bible reading plan by email.
Step 4: Check your email each day for the One Year Bible Online reading plan and click on the link that will direct you to Biblegateway for the day’s scheduled reading.
Step 5: Choose a Bible translation that is easy to read. (I use the New Living Translation for devotional reading). Then select the layout into rows.
Step 6: Begin from the bottom up. You will start with Proverbs, then Psalms, the New Testament, and finally the Old Testament.
Step 7: Use the same reading guidelines as in Step 6 of Option 1.
Step 8: Write your notes either in a spiral notebook, or in the Notes section in YouVersion. You will need to create an account if you do not already have one in order to use the Notes feature. It’s free!
OPTION 3: THE ONE YEAR BIBLE HARD COPY READING PLAN
What you will need:
1. A Bible
2. A hard copy of the One Year Bible reading plan.
3. A small spiral notebook.
4. A pen or pencil.
Step 1: Go to www.oneyearbibleonline.com.
Step 2: On the left hand column, scroll down and click on the “Printable 12 Month Reading Plans.”
Step 3: Download the One Year Bible Reading Plan. There is an option if you wish to download the Bible reading plan in Spanish.
Step 4: Print your Bible reading plan.
Step 5: When you read, begin from the bottom up. You will start with Proverbs, then Psalms, the New Testament, and finally the Old Testament.
Step 6: Use the same reading guidelines as in Step 6 of Option 1.
Step 7: Store your Bible reading plan in your Bible or in your spiral notebook.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Which Bible translation should I choose for devotional reading?
Pick a translation that is easy to understand, such as the New Living Translation or the New International Version. What’s important is that you establish a love for reading God’s Word, which will lead you to study God’s Word.
Where do I start reading?
In the One Year Bible reading plan, whether you are reading online or from the hard copy, begin reading from the book of Proverbs 1st, the Psalms 2nd, the NT 3rd, and the OT last.
Here’s why, as you start your day, a little wisdom goes a long way and that’s what you’ll find in the book of Proverbs. In the Psalms, among many things, you will find encouragement, strength, and the reason why we worship an all-powerful God. In the NT, you will read about Jesus, his mission on earth, the history and acts of the early church, and the things to come. In the OT, you will read about the creation of man, the fall of man, the history of Israel and the prophecy’s concerning the coming Messiah, Jesus.
I have found that reading in this order increases my desire for reading and spending time in God’s Word. I hope it creates the same desire in you. The following are brief introductions from the NLT Study Bible to the book of Proverbs, the Psalms, the NT, and the OT.
PROVERBS: Each day, life confronts us with many decisions. The book of Proverbs is a compass that helps us navigate the murky waters of life. It provides wisdom, instructions for living, and guidance for achieving strong character. Proverbs tells us how to succeed in any situation by remaining calm-headed in a crisis, patient when pressed, gentle when challenged, and firm when confronted with temptation. Above all, Proverbs shows us that the source of all wisdom is a right relationship with God.
PSALMS: The Lord Jesus and the apostles loved the book of Psalms and quoted from it; beyond that, they lived out of it. These ancient prayers and praises of Israel are also God’s inspired word. The psalms provide a bridge to cross between the Old and New Testaments, and the themes addressed in the psalms find further development in the NT. As you read the Psalms, you will receive encouragement, strength, and discover God’s character.
THE NEW TESTAMENT: The New Testament both fulfills (Matt 5:17-20) and completes (Rom 10:4) the Old Testament. What the prophets looked forward to and longed to see (1 Pet 1:10-12a), and what the angels intensely watched (1 Pet 1:12b), came in the person of Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, God’s Son, the God-man. The coming of the “unique one, who is himself God” (John 1:18) is the central point not only of human history but of eternity itself. The NT tells the story of his coming and its effects in the inaugural group of believers, the early church.
THE OLD TESTAMENT: The Old Testament is God’s word to his people through the ages. It describes the creation of the world and humanity, the origin of sin, and the beginning of God’s plan of redemption. Through it we gain a much clearer understanding of who God is, what he is doing, and how we should live.
The Old Testament stimulates our imaginations and arouses our emotions. It is made up of gripping stories of real events, stirring poems, and bracing exhortations. It teaches us God’s plan, reveals God’s will, and helps us make decisions. Reading the Old Testament is like looking into a mirror, for it reveals our soul. It plants a seed that grows, ultimately transforming our character.
When should I read God’s Word?
Read it when you feel like it and when you don’t. This will help you discipline yourself to read. When you least expect it, you will read something the Spirit has for you that day! If you’re a morning person, read in the morning. If not, read throughout the day or before you go to bed.
Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed or interrupted. God wants your total attention! He wants you to be still and listen. He wants to speak to your heart and spirit. Be prepared to hear what He wants to tell you.
What if I fall behind on my reading?
There will be times when you miss a day or two, and you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of catching up you have to do! Don’t worry, just pick up on the day’s reading and continue on. Don’t let the idea of catching up prevent you from continuing to read God’s Word. You may have missed something good from the Lord for the days you didn’t read, but let it motivate you not to miss anymore days!
How can I get others to read?
If you want to grow spiritually, I challenge you to bring others along side you in reading God’s Word. Meet in groups and read together. When you meet, read for 20mins, write what God is telling you for 20mins, and share for 20mins. Share a thought, or a verse God has put on your heart. You never know if that verse or thought will speak to someone else! Besides sharing in a group, share through your Facebook or Twitter profile, or even through a text and see how many people God will speak to!
I hope these suggestions will encourage and challenge you to read God’s Word in 2011! I look forward to seeing you grow in the Word!
Pastor Abel Gurrola