writes in Knowable Word
We’re already a week into 2019, so you’ve probably had your fill of blog posts and articles about New Year’s resolutions. Even if you’ve been able to focus on habits instead of resolutions, one can only take so much.
For a Christian who likes a fresh start with their fresh calendar, most advice focuses on reading through the Bible in 12 months. Here at Knowable Word we love the Bible and we love to read the whole thing (even quickly!), but in this post we’ll move beyond reading plans, apps, and translations.
For me, forming resolutions brings up feelings of duty and drudgery. So I prefer to think of the opportunities that the new year brings, especially when it comes to spiritual practices.
3 Bible Opportunities for the New Year
If you’d like to engage more with the Bible in 2019, here are three ideas.
Study a Book of the Bible
The beginning of the year is a great time to join a small group Bible study or a new Sunday school class. But it’s also an opportunity to study the Bible on your own.
Reading the whole Bible in a year will change you in ways you might not be able to discern. But studying the Bible carefully might just rock your world. There’s nothing quite like learning the meaning of a portion of Scripture and taking the time to apply it to your life.
If you’ve never studied the Bible before, don’t worry. You can do this! You don’t need to be an expert to study the Bible. In fact, we’ve created this website just for you! Poke around and make yourself at home; we are here to help.
Read a Book of the Bible Intensely
Instead of aiming to read the whole Bible this year, why not focus on just one book each season? Choose one book of the Bible and read it as many times as you can in three months. You’ll be blown away by all that you discover.
While understanding the large story of the Bible is crucial for Christians, so is internalizing all of its teaching. Aside from studying the Bible, one way to get the Bible’s message into your heart and bones is to read and reread and reread it.
Of course, the length of the book will affect how many times you can read it in three months. But no matter the length, keep reading. Repeated readings of the Bible follow a predictable pattern, a pattern it’s good to know before you begin.
You probably won’t have any problems up front. For your first three or four readings of the book you’ll be engaged and interested. Then somewhere around reading number five you might start to feel bored. You’ll want to skim, to skimp, to assume you’ve gained all there is to gain. Press on, because the gold lies ahead! With readings number nine, ten, and beyond, you’ll see the text with new eyes. You will notice nuances and depth and tone that one or two readings could never reveal. Read with a pen and paper nearby, and prepare to learn from God himself.
Memorize a Book of the Bible
While reading and studying the Bible are important, there’s no way to get yourself closer to the Bible than to memorize it. Memorized Scripture can become the mental soundtrack of your life in 2019.
If you’ve never taken up this practice, here are a few things I’ve learned. Over a period of weeks and months, I can memorize an average of one verse every two days. If your pace is similar to mine, this means that memorizing entire books of the Bible is within your grasp this year! The book of Titus has 46 verses, meaning you could memorize it in 92 days (just three months!). Similarly, Philippians (104 verses), Colossians (95 verses), 2 Timothy (83 verses), and Philemon (25 verses) are all possibilities. You could even tackle the first eight (82 verses) or the first ten (120 verses) Psalms. Think of the opportunity!
Remember Jesus in Your Resolutions
As we think and plan about making more of the Bible in 2019, we must remember the gospel. We must remember Jesus.
Jesus loves, knows, and has obeyed the words of the Bible perfectly. And because he obeyed for us, we can offer our efforts to read, study, and memorize the Bible to God as acts of worship. We’re not resolving to change our behavior in order to grab God’s attention and make him love us. Rather, because he loves us we can look to the Bible and learn what it means to live as a child of God.