Bible Reading Plan
Reading the Bible
It can be tempting to start on Page 1 when you begin to read the Bible. However, it can be challenging to keep reading after the story of Noah and the flood near the beginning. Instead, try following a plan that tells the story behind Jesus.
The goal for this plan is to help you better understand the birth of Jesus Christ. Each day will include about five minutes worth of reading. The plan begins with Creation and follows the story of God’s promise to bless Abraham and Sarah with children. We will cover the overarching story of Abraham’s family, which ultimately leads to the child born in the little town of Bethlehem who will bless all the families of the world.
Every day, we will read portions of the Old Testament as we also reflect on the stories about Jesus’ birth during the week. This helps add clarity to the story. The stories about Jesus in the New Testament include many important references to numerous events that occur before Jesus’ birth that are recorded in the Old Testament. It is amazing to see how beautifully Jesus’ life fulfills promises that God made to people like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Hannah, and David.
Before you start the plan, it is critically important that we review a few things. First, it is good to develop ways to read the Bible that help us understand what it says and actually listen to what God is still saying today. Next, we will take a look at how the Bible is organized.
How do we read the Bible?
It is always good to begin and end with prayer. It can be as simple as asking, “God, help me hear what you want to say today,” or, “God, help me love like you today.” You can also add music if that helps you focus on God. The point is to separate the time you are reading and studying from the rest of your day. That is what it means to make something holy. It means that the object, space, or time is set apart for something special. Make this time holy! Give your mind, body, and soul a chance to breath. The time you spend reading will be much more enjoyable!
How is the Bible organized?
The Bible is not laid out like many of the books we usually read. The Christian Bible is actually a collection of 66 smaller books that were written at different times by various writers. God inspired these diverse authors to record the history, instructions, poetry, and visions over hundreds of years. The 66 books are divided into the Old and New Testament. Both the Old and New Testament are further divided into different types of books. In the Old Testament, the books are divided into the Law, Writings, and Prophets. The New Testament includes the Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Revelation.
What Christians call the Old Testament includes 39 books from the Hebrew or Jewish Bible. In other words, the first sixty percent of the Bible relates to everything that happened from the beginning when God first made the heavens and earth, the blessing of Abraham and Sarah’s family, and how their children experienced God in the land of Israel long before the birth of Jesus.
The 27 books in the New Testament refer to the events that begin with Jesus Christ and the first generations of his followers, who are referred to as his disciples. The New Testament records the life and ministry of Jesus and how he organized his followers into a spiritual family that we call “The Church” today. The people who follow Jesus as disciples in the New Testament make up the earliest expression of the Christian Church.
The Bible is truly one of a kind. It includes family drama, hard-to-follow instructions, beautiful poetry, and visions of hope and healing for a hurting world. However, the Bible is more than simply words on a page. It is the living Word of God for people who want to experience God’s presence in our everyday lives. If we simply pick it up, learn the words, and put it down, then our experience of God will be limited. On the other hand, when we approach the Bible as more than ink and paper with the longing to encounter God’s presence, we will discover far more than we could ask or imagine.
So, next time you dare to open God’s Word, slow down and really listen, because God has something very important to tell you. Happy reading!