172: An Organized Way for Reading Your Bible in 2023
Is reading the Bible one of your goals this year? If so, do you have a plan for how you will read the Bible?
In episode 172 of Live It Out With The Planning Woman, I share a simple method that can help you get into God’s Word daily and to study it more in-depth.
What I have to share with you in this episode will work whether you are just starting the read the Bible more consistently or have been reading a long time but are looking for a different method this year.
A few months ago, on the podcast, I shared that I’m taking seminary classes and working towards a master’s degree in theological studies. I am finishing up a class in hermeneutics where I’ve learned the basics of reading the Bible and methods for interpreting it.
One of the biggest takeaways from this class for me is that my professor would say in almost every lecture that the only way to interpret the Bible is to know the Bible. And to know the Bible, we have to read the Bible.
And that is so true. I’ve read through the Bible three or four times in my life. Every time I read it, I see something new to me. Or I begin putting together the big picture of the Bible. It doesn’t hurt either that I’ve taken a class on the first half of the Old Testament, where I learned a lot more about the main themes of the Bible and how they flow to the New Testament.
The more I read the Bible and learn how it all works together, the more I want to read the Bible. I hope this is true for you, too.
If it’s not, though, don’t worry. I promise that you can learn to love the Bible and understand it even if you don’t feel like you can right now. Even if reading the Bible seems to be a daunting prospect for you.
Remember what I said earlier? We have to read the Bible a lot before things start falling into place.
With that in mind, let’s take the pressure off ourselves to read it all in a year. Maybe reading it in a year is doable for you. But, if it is not, know that it is ok. You can take your time working your way through the Bible.
An Organized Method for Reading Your Bible
First, I believe that reading the Bible chronologically is one of the best ways to grasp the big picture of the Bible. You may not have realized this, but the way our modern-day English Bible is organized is not the way people in Bible times would have had it. The Hebrew organization of the Old Testament is based on three categories: the law, the prophets, and the writings. I won’t go into detail about how they are arranged. But I just want you to realize that what we read today is organized differently than how it was originally.
When you read the Bible chronologically, you can see how the story of the Bible fits together. There are a couple of ways you can read it chronologically. You can get a Bible that is put together this way, or you can find a free chronological reading plan online and just use your regular Bible for reading.
So the first step is to figure out how you will read the Bible. Either chronologically, or you may want to pick one book to start with. Again, remember, we’re not talking about reading it all the way through this year. But I highly suggest at least reading through one book before you move on to another. It’s important to gain an understanding of each book rather than little snippets here and there that you get from things like devotional readings. So pick a plan that works for you and meets your needs right now.
Second, to help me stay focused on what I’m reading, I like to pick some themes to look for each year. One year I chose Christian living, marriage, and parenting. I picked a different colored highlighter for each theme, and when I came across a verse or passage that spoke to one of those themes, I highlighted it in the appropriate color. To help me remember my color-coding system, I wrote it inside the front cover of my Bible along with the year so I could remember what themes I picked each year. So even if you take a couple of years to get through the Bible, you can still pick different themes to focus on each year. Or you may want to just focus on the same ones until you make it through the whole Bible.
The third step in this method is to pick a time when you can consistently show up to read the Bible. You do not have to spend a lot of time each day for this to be beneficial. If you literally only have 5 minutes a day, you can at least read a chapter or two. As you find more time in your schedule, you can always increase your time.
I would suggest adding reading your Bible to a routine you already have. Where do you already have established routines? Maybe it’s in the morning when you first get up. Or perhaps Bible reading can be a part of your evening routine when you are winding down for the day. Look at your schedule and current routines to see where adding reading the Bible makes the most sense.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
Ep. 124: Using a Color-Coding System to Enhance Bible Study