It is a New Year! And you know what that means… New Year’s Resolutions!
Maybe your New Year’s resolution is a common one, such as:
• lose weight
• exercise more
• drink more water
• drink less of something else
• de-clutter your home
• live simply
• get that tattoo you always wanted
• get rid of that tattoo you had always wanted
Another common resolution people often make is to actually read the Bible. This seems like a natural impulse for those who follow Jesus. However, this is very easy to start but difficult to finish. How many of us have already tried only to see our ambition fizzle out by Numbers?
Here is a tool that might help: subscribe to the For the Love of God blog feed. For the Love of God is a devotional that will help to walk you through the Bible in a year “while assisting the reader in discovering the riches of God’s Word.” These two volumes were written by D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. I used these books when they were first published about 10 years ago and I have benefited greatly from them. Now you can have a free digital version of these books sent directly to your email each day.
Here is how I use it:
- First, I highlight the four scripture readings (e.g. for December 31 the readings are “2 Chronicles 36; Revelation 22; Malachi 4; John 21”), and I paste them into an online Bible search field. I often use the Bible at www.esvonline.org, but there are many fine sites available. (Or you can go “old-school” like I do and use your real Bible…the one with actual paper pages!)
- Next, I read the passages which takes about 5-10 minutes.
- Finally, I return to the email or website to read Carson’s reflections which are based on one of the four passages.
This Bible reading plan was developed by Robert Murray M’Cheyne, a Scottish pastor in the first half of the 19th century. The following is from a letter he wrote to his congregation in 1842:
“MY DEAR FLOCK, — The approach of another year stirs up within me new desires for your salvation, and for the growth of those of you who are saved. ‘God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.’ What the coming year is to bring forth, who can tell? . . . Those believers will stand firmest who have no dependence upon self or upon creatures, but upon Jehovah our Righteousness. We must be driven more to our Bibles, and to the mercy-seat, if we are to stand in the evil day.”
It is my prayer and desire this and every year that all of us would be “driven more to our Bibles” and discover the Jesus to whom all the scriptures testify (John 5:39–40 and context). May we have God’s word – and his love – abiding in us this year.