This page provides a suggested plan for groups interested in reading the books of the New Testament and discussing their practical implications.
(Image adapted from: Aaron Burden via Unsplash.)
The reading goal is fairly simple. Each person in the group should read five chapters of the New Testament per week. It is interesting to note that under this reading plan, the New Testament can be completed in exactly 52 weeks. This Bible reading plan is effective because it offers a structured yet flexible approach to help participants stay on track.
Click the link below to access a Google Spreadsheet that provides a suggested reading schedule. (The spreadsheet can be printed out and placed in your Bible for easy reference, or you can bookmark the URL on your smartphone or tablet.)
To regularly engage in scripture requires discipline. The participant must be committed to reading on a regular basis. The best approach is to read one chapter per day for five days. It is not as beneficial to read several chapters in a single day. Since missing a daily reading may happen, there are two extra days available in the week to make up a skipped reading assignment. For example, a participant may decide to read one chapter each day, Monday through Friday, and then take Saturday and Sunday off. This is a fine approach, but if, for example, the reading on Thursday is missed, Friday should be the fourth reading and Saturday should be used to catch up on the fifth reading. While it is possible, it is not as beneficial to read two chapters on Friday. To help you stay on track, consider the following suggestions and determine which ones work best for you:
Pick the specific days of the week you will read and stick to that schedule.
Read your Bible at the same time each day.
Try to keep your time commitment reasonable. (It only takes about 7 minutes to read a New Testament chapter.)
Make the reading process easy to do. When you first get started you don't need to add in prayers or research the passage. Once you establish a regular reading habit you will probably want to incorporate such extras, but don't worry about these at the beginning.
Read in the same physical location (e.g., at the breakfast table, in your recliner, at your desk, etc.)
Use a consistent mode of consumption (e.g., an electronic tablet, a printed, paper Bible, an app on your phone).
As you finish your daily reading, check off the day on your paper calendar, phone app, or digital task list as a means to record your accomplishment and establish some momentum.
Your goal for reading the Bible should not be to speed your eyes across the page so that you can say you completed your devotion. Instead, consider using the following approaches to get the most from this activity:
Use an easy to comprehend translation. I recommend the New Living Translation or the New International Version, but there are several excellent translations available today. (I don't recommend using a study bible as the notes and comments by the authors may create a distraction. For this activity, I am suggesting you engage in a devotion that helps you examine your attitudes and actions. This is not designed to be a bible study that increases your academic knowledge.)
Look for practical advice. As you read the daily chapter, consider how you can apply some part of the passage to your life. Try not to be distracted by heady, theological curiosities. (See my blog post on this topic for a more detailed discussion on how to approach the reading.)
Underline or highlight one or two key verses. Denote the passage that the Holy Spirit is speaking to you through. One way to discover the key passage is to ask yourself, "if I had to memorize one verse from this chapter in order to recite it later as an encouragement or reminder, which one would it be?"
Identify the Main Message. When you finish reading the chapter, ask yourself, "How does this chapter change my current perspectives or inform how I should relate to God or others?"
Summarize it. If you are a journaler, write a quick takeaway from the chapter reading. If you are more of a verbalizer, talk out the big takeaway from the passage. If you are an artist, sketch out the big idea you gained. Whichever technique you choose, don't make this summary exercise too daunting. Give yourself three minutes and then feel free to move on with your day.
We mature when we interact with one another and spur each other on in growth. While reading the Bible by yourself is beneficial, it is even more helpful to talk about what you are learning with others on the same reading plan. Find a friend or family member who will join you in a reading schedule and then connect with them at least every other week. (Connecting with them at a regularly determined time once a week is best.) If you like, you are welcome to join me in my reading plan through the New Testament. I would be encouraged to hear what you are learning and thinking about as you contemplate scripture. Click the link below to visit MyBibleDevotions.com's Forum where you can discover the chapters I and other participants are talking about this week. I will try to post a regular comment on the readings, and you can add your own thoughts if you would like. (Here's a video tutorial on how to become a registered member of the site.)
A Few Tips on How to Participate
To join the group currently in progress, simply watch this tutorial video or follow these quick steps.
Access the Spreadsheet of Readings. The first sheet provides the chapter readings the group is currently covering.
Commit to reading one chapter per day, Monday through Friday. This is a total of five chapters. It's really easy. If you miss a day of reading, use Saturday and Sunday to catch up.
Become a member of this website by visiting the members Sign Up page. Once there, click the log in button and sign up using Google, Facebook, or an email. Again, this video tutorial provides more information on how to become a site member.
Visit the Forum where you can view comments posted by other members or offer your own thoughts. (Please be mindful of our Code of Conduct.)
Our group is currently meeting. Email me at email@example.com to learn more and to receive our Zoom video conferencing link so you can participate.