A couple of the blogs I visit have been posting about bible reading plans. It’s a common New Years Resolution to read through the bible in one year, accompanied by a Bible Reading Plan. I have unsuccessfully attempted these bible reading plans for two consecutive years. My first year I don’t think I made it through the first month before I got so far behind I couldn’t reasonably catch up. Last year I think I made it all the way into March or maybe April before I began to fall behind. Implication: I don’t read my bible everyday, therefore: New Years Resolution=Fail.
Both years I found myself reverting back to a simple formula, a little OT, a little NT, then a little Psalms and/or Proverbs. I did the math and if you read 4-5 chapters a day, you will read the whole bible in a year. As far as reading goes, its not that much – most chapters take 5-10 minutes to read, so I figured on 30-45 minutes of reading.
But the problem is you don’t just “read” the Bible, you meditate on it. So you can easily double or triple that number for reading – now you’re close to two hours a day for reading your bible. There are some people out there who can sit down every single day and devote 1/5 of their day to studying the bible, unfortunately I found that I had a hard enough time doing this for 30 minutes.
What would happen is that I felt compelled that I had to finish my New Years Resolution to read the whole bible in a year. In retrospect, this was an unrealistic expectation, at least given my ability to digest such large amounts of scripture at a time. Don’t get me wrong, but 4 chapters of the bible is dense reading material – it’s not like sitting down and reading the news or sports for an hour. So, I would naturally feel guilty or sometimes frustrated because I didn’t keep my resolution. And then, discouraged, I couldn’t sit down and read my bible because I kept thinking, “Well, look how far behind I am… How am I going to catch up to that?”
Reading then quickly became about the mere amount of information covered. Realizing this, that I was just reading to “get through it” (not much unlike school work), I would quit reading my bible altogether because of the discouragement, guilt and daunting task that lay ahead.
So, this year, looking at all the websites and blogs promoting Bible Reading Plans, I am passing them aside. There are certain personalities and types that can do such things and maintain such strict regimens, but the truth is, 90% of people are not those personality types or haven’t achieved that level of discipline yet (or that structured of a life).
So what do I do and what do I advocate?
Come back tomorrow and see.