December 28, 2018

Read the Bible - Bible Study Plan

Get Your Bible Reading Plan Below

Another year, another opportunity to pursue God in an authentic and meaningful way.  If you’re ready to dig deeper in the Word of God, click the links below to download the infographic that includes a day-by-day timeline to read your Bible in one year in 2019!

Download the 365-day Bible reading plan here:

365 Day Bible Reading Plan

Download the 2019 Bible reading plan here:

365-day 2019 Bible Reading Plan (791 downloads)

Want some Bible study tips to help you along the way? Keep reading.

Bible Study & Reading Tips

Did you know that only a small number of people who attend church read their Bible, despite that 90% of Christians say that they want to become a more mature follower of Jesus Christ? Or that many people respect and rely on the Bible, but do not actually read it (other studies here and here

Well – if we want to grow in our walk with God, one of the best ways to start is by digging into His Word. And what better time to start than now?

I urge you to commit to reading and studying your Bible and set a consistent pace for yourself. Here are some tips to help you along the way!

Things to remember when reading and studying the Bible

Quality is better than quantity

Maybe you’re you’re following the 2019 Bible Plan that I showed you earlier, or maybe you’ve set a different pace for yourself. Whichever path you choose to take, be sure to focus on the quality of your time spent with God in His Word, not the quantity.

Reading the Bible is about quality, not quantity. Click To Tweet

Don’t put yourself (or God) in a box

I know this post is about “reading” and “studying” the Bible, but in actuality, I just want you to get the Word of God in your heart, mind, and conscience. It doesn’t matter what that looks like or how you do it.

What I am slowly learning is that various seasons of my walk with God look different, and the way in which I best hear and receive the Word changes. Some seasons, I am big on opening my Bible and studying the word — learning about its history, it’s interpretation, the authors of each book, etc.  Other seasons, I find it more enriching to listen to the Word on my Bible app to and from work.  While in other seasons, I find that there are only a few chapters or scriptures that I continually re-read, study, or listen to throughout the entire year.

I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and what seems “normal” and do what works best for you! Listen to His word through song, sing His word, read His word.  Do whatever you have to do to get the word of God inside of you! But certainly don’t put God in a box!

It’s okay to not understand and ask questions

The Bible is filled with rich history, stories, wisdom and truth to help us understand God, His plan, His character, His will, and our identity and purpose on the earth. It spans thousands and thousands of years and has multiple different authors. With that being said, you will not understand everything the first time around. Or even the hundredth time around.

You will have questions. There will be things that won’t fully make sense. And that’s completely okay.

You can read the Bible 1,000 times and still have unanswered questions because God is simply that big and unbelievable. He always has something new to reveal about Himself and the more we seek and discover Him, the more we realize that we’ve barely tapped into the fullness of who He is. That’s the beauty and wonder of pursuing Him.

Allow your questions and lack of understanding to fuel a deeper journey of seeking Him more. If you don’t understand something, it’s time to dig deeper into God and search for answers.

Reading your Bible is not a duty and it can be fun

Why don’t most Christians read their Bibles? Because most people view it as an obligation and not an opportunity.

We are not obligated to read God’s Word. We have been given the amazing opportunity to get to know God in an intimate and personal way through his word. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to pursue God – creator of the universe! So why not take it?

Most Christians don’t read their Bibles because they see it as an obligation and not an opportunity… God has given us the amazing opportunity to get to know Him in a personal and intimate way! Click To Tweet

Remember: Don’t be too rigid with yourself. Make it fun. Ask questions. Tell jokes to God. Puh-leez, enjoy your intimate time with Him and take up the opportunity – with joy and humility – to learn more about your Father and your unique role in His kingdom.

There is something you can get from the Word wherever you’re at spiritually

You don’t have to be a seasoned Bible scholar or Ph.D. seminary student to get something from the Bible. You simply have to be hungry, teachable, trusting, and open to the Holy Spirit.

You don’t have to be a seasoned Bible scholar to get something from the Bible. Click To Tweet

I went through a phase awhile ago where I simply could not get anything out of the Word. It wasn’t that I wasn’t hungry for wisdom or revelation from God, it’s that I was unknowingly putting my trust in my own knowledge. I was so concerned with understanding Biblical history and interpretation that I forgot to trust the Holy Spirit to feed me and lead me. I thought that because I didn’t know every little thing about interpreting the Bible that I couldn’t possibly be reading it or receiving it correctly.

But boy was I wrong.

That’s what the Holy Spirit is for. He fills the gap. Where we lack knowledge and understanding, he fills the gap to make sure we are fed spiritually. Put NO confidence in the flesh. Trust God to fill the gap as you learn and grow in the Word.

What the Holy Spirit reveals is for you to obey first

Dr. Cornelius Sanders II, a preacher I love and admire, says that everything God reveals to him about his congregation is always first to be applied to his own life. Before he preaches a word, he makes sure that he is living it.
I love this principle because it keeps you in a place of humility and ensures that you are living what you are preaching or teaching.

When the Holy Spirit reveals something to you, it is first your job to put it into practice in your own life – be a doer, and not just a hearer (or reader) of the Word (James 1:22). Then, IF (with a huge IF) the Holy Spirit leads you to share it with someone else, whether for correction, reproof or encouragement, then share it as you are led (2 Timothy 3:16).

One of the biggest mistakes that is easy to make is thinking that what God speaks to you personally (whether through the written word of God, spoken word of God, or through revelation) is for your neighbor or your friend, and not for you.

Ways to get the most out of your 2019 Bible reading

So, you’re pumped about reading the Bible. You feel a little less intimidated, and you’re excited about your journey with God. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your Bible reading plan and ensure it is enriching.

Invite the Holy Spirit and be led by Him

You can read the Bible a million times, but if you don’t allow the Holy Spirit to lead you, the Book will have no power to you. The power, revelation, and grace to not just read, but do, the Word comes from the Holy Spirit. As you read and study God’s word, this is the most important thing to keep in mind.

When you go to study the word of God, make sure you invite the Author.

When you go to study the word of God, make sure you invite the author. And when you do, be sure to listen to what He has to say. If you’re compelled to read more chapters than you intended, do it. If you’re compelled to re-read or study deeper into one chapter, do it. Be led by the Spirit. The 2019 Bible Study timeline is simply a guide.

Journal while reading

Journaling is not just for people who are “good” at crafting sentences. Journaling is a form of expression. It’s simply putting what you’ve already written in your mind on to paper, rather than letting it fall subject to your memory bank that forgets things so quickly.

As it pertains to the Bible, journaling is a good way to structure your thoughts and record what God has revealed to you about His word. When you journal, write as if no one but God will ever read it. Don’t try to be grammatically or politically correct. Just write what the Holy Spirit gives.

Write your questions. Your thoughts. Your concerns. Your doubts. Your prayers. Revelation that God has given you.

Here are questions to get you going as you begin to journal.
• How does this chapter make me feel?
• What happened in this chapter? And how does what happened connect to God’s overall plan for mankind and my life?
• What things about this chapter excite (or perplex) me?
• How can apply this to my life today?

Seek to apply the Word in your life

Here’s the thing: You can read the Bible a million times, but if you don’t apply it’s power to your life, it serves no benefit for you outside of head knowledge. When you read the word, do so with an expectation to apply the Word. Allow it to teach you, heal you, and make you whole from the inside out!

Make your Bible reading a prayerful, intimate experience

Prayer helps ignite God’s word in your heart by acknowledging that He is the one who gives revelation, wisdom, and understanding. Prayer puts you in a place of humility to hear the Word and receive correction from it. Prayer helps you get the most out of God’s word and puts you in the perfect place to hear from the Author.

Prayer & Bible study are (or should be) intertwined. You should not have one without the other. Our prayers should always be rooted and grounded in the word of God, and when we study the word of God, we should always do so prayerfully.

What should you pray when you start reading the Bible? Here are a few starter points:
• To be filled with and led by the Holy Spirit, that you can appropriately interpret and apply His word
• A soft heart to receive what God wants to share with you
• Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of His word
• A distraction-free mind that doesn’t place your own thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and situations above the Word
• A bare slate – that you don’t bring unbiblical ideas into your Bible study; that you don’t try to shape, change or mold the word of God, but that it shapes, changes and molds you
• A hunger to learn more
• A shield against the enemy’s plan to steal the word from your heart and bring doubt and confusion

Allow the Word to be fuel for prayer

Let’s go a bit deeper on the previous topic.

What we read in the Bible should serve as fuel for prayer. I always try to take what I am reading and apply it to my life through prayer, even if it does not directly apply to my current situation. For example, if I am reading about Israel’s disobedience in the Old Testament, I may begin to pray and ask God to uncover any disobedience and rebellion in my own heart.

Or maybe I am reading about Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego in Daniel 3:13-28 and how they were willing to literally go through fire rather than bowing down to ungodly kings. In reading that, I may begin to pray and ask God for a boldness to stand for Him…that I not fall into the trap of fear or manipulation when faced with situations that desire for me to turn from His will and give in to the ways of the world.

These are two examples of very practical ways to apply the Word to your life through prayer.

Study the history and background of each book

The topic of Biblical Interpretation is a big one that I’m still learning about. I am most certainly not an expert in this subject – just making this clear – but there are a few things that are important when studying the Word.

When we understand the background behind why a text was written and who it was written to, we can better understand it’s intended purpose. With the Bible being such an ancient (yet still very applicable) text, it’s best to do a little research before digging into the Word, to better understand it in context. Before reading each book of the Bible, it helps to look at the following:

• The time frame: When was it written?
• The author: Who wrote it? And what do we know about this person?
• History: What was going on historically during this time? How does this change the significance and purpose of the writing?
• Location: Where it was written?
• Audience: Who was it written to? What do we know about them and how does it impact what is said?
• Purpose: Why was this being said?

When reading the Bible, it’s important to evaluate:

• The time frame: When was it written?
• The author: Who wrote it?
• History: What was going on historically during this time?
• Location: Where it was written?
• Audience: Who was it written to?
• Purpose: Why was this being said?

So where can you find this information? Many Bibles have a brief section at the beginning of each book that discusses the author, the timeframe, and the purpose of the writing. If yours doesn’t, don’t fret. Many online Bible websites and apps have sections that review important historical parts of the Bible.

Although this piece is important, the most important part is to be led by the Holy Spirit.  Don’t make the mistake I made and get so wrapped up in history and interpretation that you neglect the ability for the Holy Spirit to bring you revelation. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is who uncovers what’s in this Book to you.

Avoiding Spiritual Pride

Our walk with God is about seeking and discovering who He is and who we are in Him. None of us have arrived. And if we allow ourselves to believe that reading the Bible one (or 100) time tells us everything about God – creator of the universe, alpha and omega – then we are fooled. And if we believe that the number of times that we read the Bible, or the number of scriptures that we have memorized, makes us closer to the Father than someone else, then we are really fooled.

Why? Because an atheist who doesn’t know God can read the Bible a million times and still not know Him at all. It’s about having a personal encounter with God through His Word.

“An atheist who doesn’t know God can read the Bible a million times and still not know Him at all. It’s about having a personal encounter with God through His Word.”

Our “progress” in God is not measured by how much we know or how many scriptures we can quote, but in how closely our hearts and wills and lives and minds align with His.

When I feel spiritual pride or haughtiness kicking in, I always think about this scripture:

13 The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. (Isaiah 29:13 – Read the whole chapter here)

When you continue reading the chapter, the Lord questions the motives of people. They were doing and saying the right things, but many of them were doing it with the wrong motive and intent.

I think this can be applied to studying the Word. We should not be reading the Word to compete with others, boast about our “deep revelation,” or to get “revelation” about others’ sins and flaws. Studying the word is a part of our intimate way of communing with our Father and we can’t lose sight of that.

Let NOW be the time that you go deeper in God

Alrighty. You have a plan. Now it’s time to put it into action. Let’s make this year a great one by seeking God whole-heartedly…with everything in us! Let’s not neglect or depreciate the value of His word by ignoring it and not reading it. Let’s wipe the dust from our Bibles, our prayer lives, and our fire and truly begin to burn for God. This is a year of discovering and re-discovering who God is and who we are in Him!!!!

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