I want to encourage you to begin thinking now through your personal bible “intake” plan for 2016 because January 1 is only a couple of weeks away.
You may think you don’t need a plan or that a plan sounds too formal, but you very likely do need a plan. For example, if you don’t have a bible intake plan, how consistent was your personal time in the Word during 2015? I’ve been a pastor for fourteen years and almost all the disciples I’ve met who consistently spend personal time in the bible, have a plan they are following. Thanks to the curse of sin, relationships grow distant by default and more intimate through intentionality. Development of your relationship with the Lord requires intentionality, and intentionality looks like a bible reading plan. So, I really encourage you to starting deciding now what your personal bible intake plan is for 2016.
Here are some ideas:
1. Read through the NT or the OT. If you google bible reading plans, you will find daily reading schedules to accomplish this goal.
2. Read through the entire bible. It sounds formidable, but is actually very doable. I read through the bible each year. Again, google “bible reading plans” and you’ll find some good options.
3. Read through the bible using a different translation. This is what I’ve been doing to mix things up the last two to three years. In 2015, I read through the New Living. It is actually more of a paraphrase/dynamic equivalent and not a translation, so I would not recommend it for serious bible study or memorization, but for daily reading purposes it was a great experience.
4. Hand-copy books of the bible. You’ll be surprised how rich an experience you’ll have with the Lord just hand-copying a chapter section or entire chapter each day. Choose a book of the bible to hand-copy and when you finish it, pick another book of the bible to hand-copy and so on until you run out of 2016. If you pick this plan now and you are a creative type, you can spend the next two weeks having fun preparing the journal you’ll write in.
5. Memorize a book of the bible with a fellow believer. It will take you 8-10 months to memorize it and really set it in stone in your mind. It may sound daunting, but this is very doable. I’ve memorized the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Ephesians, and Philippians over the last few years and I assure you it is a rewarding experience. Here’s the method I use: http://biblicalblueprints.org/dd-product/an-approach-to-extended-memorization-of-scripture/
6. In-depth study of a book of the bible. Pick a book of the bible and ask one of our pastors for “best resources” on that particular book. Then purchase some of those resources and study your way through a book of the bible.
7. Join a weekly group bible study that requires you to spend personal time in the Word on a regular basis. NEHBC has some men’s groups and women’s groups that meet during the week. You could join or start a Grow Group through your LifeGroup. You can email Pastor Greg for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or there are some great options in our city such as BSF or Precept.