Letters to My Sheep: Early thoughts on reading the Bible in 90 Days

I told you on Sunday, well some of you, that I started a new Bible reading plan – reading the Bible in 90 Days.  I’m only 6 days in, but I am finding this both challenging and a blessing.  I had to read the Bible in that amount of time for a class while in Seminary and it was one of the best things I did in Seminary.  I have long desired to do it again.  I wanted to share with you some of the things that are helping me in this venture, with the desire to encourage you in your own Bible reading.  Here is what is helping me currently:

  • First, I was encouraged to see a friend from high school post about his own use of this Bible Reading Plan.  Too often we approach spiritual disciplines as solitary activities.  And while we are not reading together (he’s a day or so ahead of me), knowing that he is doing this plan is a tremendous encouragement.  That’s really what got me started again.  And another friend saw a post from me yesterday and is thinking about doing this plan, as well.   I plan on asking him if he has gotten started.  Who encourages you?  Who can you encourage?
  • Another big help to me is leveraging the use of technology.  I have been reading using the YouVersion Bible App on my iPad (a Christmas gift).  Using this app, I can choose between multiple translations, set reminders, and easily keep track of where I am and what I have read.  Through this service or others you can have daily readings emailed to you.  And on and on.  We have the unprecedented access to God’s Word and yet we may be the most undernourished generation of Christians.    How are you using technology to help you?  
  •  Speaking of translations, because I am reading large chunks of Scripture each day, I have decided to read The Message.  The Message is Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase and after I switched over from the ESV (an essentially literal translation), I am finding this helps the flow of reading greatly.  Part of that has to do with the occupational hazard of trying to parse every verse.  I don’t recommend paraphrases for close study, but for big picture reading, I think it fits the bill.   The point being, find what works for you and be willing to try new translations depending on your purpose for reading.
  • I am reading for the “big picture”.  I am trying to get a feel for themes, rather than trying to remember every detail.  For example, after reading Genesis over the course of five days, I was struck by the magnitude of God’s electing grace – his choice of Abraham & the patriarchs.  Genesis is full of sordid tales and lots of foolishness, and yet this is how God choose to start the nation of Israel and bless the world.  It certainly wasn’t because they were good or deserved anything.  And the same is true of me.  
  • I am not trying to read all at once (each day is the range of 10-15 chapters), but I am trying to read in several big chunks. 
  • Plans really help.  Without a plan, I am prone to entropy.  
  • Finally, I am not beating myself up if I don’t get everything done in one day.  The first several days I was actually behind, but then caught back up over the weekend.  I expect that will happen many more times.  

That leads me to some reminders for you, whatever your Bible reading plan or lack thereof:

  • My doing this doesn’t make God love me more.  I might love him more, but He won’t love me more – how could He when He has already given us His Son?
  • My doing this doesn’t make me more spiritual or a better Christian than you.  It might make me a better pastor, but it won’t advance me to a higher rank of saint. 
  • My doing this shouldn’t become a task for merely checking off boxes (something I get to on the app and that appeals to the “doer” in me) or slavishly holding myself to this schedule.  I hope I will complete it, but even if I were to stop tomorrow, I have already benefitted from getting into God’s Word. 

What are you doing to get into God’s Word?  Did you start a new reading plan?  Are you continuing one you started sometime in the past?   How can I help encourage you?

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