If you’re anything like me, last year around this time you searched the internet for a Bible reading plan because you wanted to read more of the Bible in 2018. Then, come January 1st, you set your alarm an hour earlier, made a cup of coffee, read day 1 of the plan, and promptly checked off the little box with a smile of satisfaction.
This probably continued for a few weeks, maybe even a few months, but the inevitable finally happened sometime around May or June – things came up, life got busy, and you sat down at the end of July to a Bible reading plan that you were hopelessly behind on.
Now, at this point, maybe you scrapped the thing entirely and decided to try again in 2019, surrendering yourself to haphazard reading that was almost exclusively in the New Testament and Psalms (and maybe Proverbs, if you really wanted to mix it up). Or maybe you did some math and determined that if you doubled up until October you’d be caught up. Thus, your daily Bible reading became a race to get through as much reading as you could so come December 31st you could have the satisfaction of all those little checked boxes.
I chose the second route, but by October it was clear I was done for. There was no catching up.
So I gave up.
But then, encouragement came from a professor at seminary who said it didn’t matter if you were behind on your plan. What mattered was reading your Bible.
So I’m here to offer you the same encouragement. Don’t give up on your 2018 reading plan just yet. Dig through your junk mail pile or search through the pages of your Bible for that old plan, dust it off, and jump back in there! I’m going to give you three reasons why you should and two small tips for making the most out of it!
Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Give Up on Your 2018 Bible-Reading Plan:
1. You Need the Bible Just as Much Now as You Did on January 1st
You know this, I know this, we all know this. But we still don’t read the Bible as urgently as we should. Don’t let the guilt of not finishing the plan stop you from picking up the Word that you so desperately need.
2. Whether or Not You Actually Complete the Plan is Almost Irrelevant
Sure, it would be nice to actually complete the plan, but if you don’t, it isn’t the end of the world. More than likely, you started the plan to help you read more of the Bible than you did in 2017. If the plan helped you do that, then it accomplished its purpose!! Rejoice in that fact and don’t get hung up on a few unchecked boxes.
3. If You Give Up Now, You Will Make Excuses
If you quit your plan once and for all now, it will be far too easy to tell yourself, “I’ll just start a new plan come January 1st” and before you know it, two weeks will have passed without you touching your Bible, save for Sunday morning church. Instead of surrendering 2018 to failure, commit to devoting it to reading Scripture.
Hopefully, these three reasons convinced you of your need to jump back into your plan. So what’s next? Here are two tips for jumping back into your neglected Bible-reading plan:
1. Don’t Try to Catch Up
The chance to catch up and complete the plan probably passed you by in mid-July, so instead of getting bogged down in the 20 chapters of Numbers you skipped over back in April, find the selected reading for whatever today’s date is and read that. This will help you think less about completing the plan and more about what really matters: reading the Bible.
2. Don’t Get Up from Your Chair Until You’ve Done One More Thing
Meditate. Don’t just read the selected text, but read it and then pick out one verse to think over. Write it out, develop a principle or application from it, pray it, just do something that will help you remember it later in the day. This will help you get more out of your plan than if you just read it, closed your Bible, and walked away.
If you remind yourself of these three truths: (1) that you need the Bible just as much now as you did on January 1, (2) that whether or not you complete the plan is almost irrelevant, and (3) that if you give up now, you will make excuses, you will be well on your way to jumping back into your plan. At that point, pick up where you’re supposed to be in the plan and meditate on what you read and you can still salvage the rest of 2018 for God’s glory!
I hope this was encouraging and helpful! As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below or hit me up on Twitter! And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button below. Sometimes you’ll get emails with posts like this one! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful start to your 2019 (that includes picking a new Bible-reading plan!)