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In my last post, I explained why it is essential that we are reading the Bible daily. However, I didn’t discuss “what” we should be reading. There are so many choices out there — devotionals, fill-in-the-blank studies, and short or long reading plans — to name a few. Before I started reading “whole Bible” plans I would do Bible studies and read a chapter here and there — wherever I felt like reading. While I learned concepts from those Bible studies, this way of reading meant that I never read certain parts of the Bible. As a matter of fact, until my early 30’s I had never read the minor prophets. I knew they existed but I had no idea what they contained – they were a mystery to me. I hadn’t ever read through Jeremiah or Isaiah, rather I had simply read the popular, often quoted, portions of those books.
Why is this a problem? The whole council of God is revealed throughout scripture. We get a fuller understanding of who God is and who we are in relation to Him through the entirety of His word. When we don’t know what a large portion of the Bible says, because we haven’t read it for ourselves, then we don’t really know who God really is. Reading the whole Bible is imperative for Christian growth.
We read to understand
Well-known scriptures tell us that God is patient and that God is love. They teach that He forgives us our sins and will take us back when we come to Him in true repentance and humility. My understanding of those verses was shallow, at best. Reading the Old Testament, however, gave me a fuller understanding of these important doctrines. The patience, longsuffering, and deep love of God comes out in the prophetic books as He sends prophet after prophet to show Israel their sins and call them to repentance. In His compassion and mercy, He gives them warning after warning to turn from their wicked ways before it is too late.
Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,Isaiah 30:18
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.
When I read the whole of scripture, especially as I read the Old and New Testaments at the same time, I can see principles of the NT being played out in the OT. Truly the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. The parable of the prodigal son exemplifies not only God’s love for us as Christians but also His love for His People, Israel, and the message of repentance the prophets proclaimed. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Jeremiah 31:3.Truly the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament. When we read the whole of scripture, we can see principles of the NT being played out in the OT. Click To Tweet
What should I read?
Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.1 Peter 2:2
Long for the pure milk of the word. There are a multitude of Bible reading plans out there, you just have to choose one. But I would exhort you NOT to choose one where you just read a couple verses and then a page of some man or woman’s thoughts. Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, anyone else’s words are not. Devotionals have their place and they can be an encouragement to us, but they should not replace a diligent reading of the entire Bible on its own. We cannot truly know what scripture says unless we are reading all of it for ourselves. Here are a couple of plans I recommend:
- My favorite plan is the M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan. You read four chapters a day all from different parts of the Bible, providing a full and rich immersion. You will read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice in the year.
- If you want to read the above plan, but 4 chapters is too much for you, then I recommend the Two-Year Bible Reading Plan. It takes the M’Cheyne plan and divides it into two years so that you read the Old Testament in 2 years and the New Testament and Psalms each year of the plan. This is the plan I recommend to my younger teenage children and also to my youth group.
- Another way I enjoy reading the Bible is chronologically. It gives a new dimension to how everything fits together. But I also want to be in both the OT and the NT at the same time because I need the gospel. The Solid Life “Whole Bible” Reading Plan is a chronological reading of the OT; meaning that you will read the prophets alongside the kings they prophesied to, the psalms that David wrote along with 1&2 Samuel, and the wisdom books during the reign of Solomon. You will also read the NT twice.
But I don’t understand it
Proverbs 2:1-6 tell us that as we diligently search the scriptures and pray for understanding, God will teach us. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding,” Proverbs 2:6. The first 9 chapters of Proverbs also tell us that the simple gain wisdom through the Word of God. Our brain is a like a muscle, the more we work it, the stronger it will be. In the same way, the more we exercise our brain by reading the Word of God, the more we will come to understand. As we continue to read the whole Bible we will begin to see connections we never saw before. Passages will bring to light concepts that we may have read before but didn’t quite grasp. God is faithful. As you determine to faithfully dig into the precepts in His Word, He will teach you.
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