There are many ways to approach reading and studying the Bible. A Bible reading plan will help us stay on track and keep us from random wandering. That is not to say there won't be times the Holy Spirit will lead us to "timely" readings that aren't planned or structured though.
Many people like to use a "Through the Bible in a Year" Bible reading plan. Discipleship Journal offers a new "5x5x5" reading plan that will take you through the New Testament in three months by reading the Bible for 5 minutes 5 days a week. They include 5 ways to dig deeper as you read also.
A very simple plan to get you started is a Bible study method called the S.O.A.P. plan. If you're not picking up God's Word everyday and experiencing the freshness of it, now is a great time to begin!
Or does your Bible study time need a little “cleaning up”? Has your time with God become a clutter and mess - totally unfocused? Maybe it’s time for a little S.O.A.P.!
You may have already heard of this method, but if you’re needing a refocus in your quiet time with the Lord, this may be the time to use it.
It’s a very simple acronym to give a little structure to your Bible study time so that it’s quality time no matter of the quantity. So get your Bible, journal and pen, and spend some time listening to our Father!
S - Scripture...write down one verse that “jumps out” and speaks to you. You may want to begin by choosing a particular book in the Bible to read through or maybe a certain topic. Structure helps keep us on track, but a little randomness now and then doesn’t hurt either. :)
O - Observations...jot down some notes on what God shows you through the Scripture. God’s Word is living and active...it’s never stagnant. Listen and pay attention to what the LORD wants to show you.
A - Application...make note of some ways you can apply what the Holy Spirit is showing you. Remember...we’re to be doers of the Word not just hearers. What are some practical ways you can incorporate the truth of Scripture into your life.
P - Prayer...take time to pray, asking God to help you carry out His will. Pray for others and how God wants to use you in so many ways! Thank God for speaking to you, for giving you His Word, for teaching you by His Spirit, etc.! Praise Him for being real and active in your life!
”Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:12-13
Take 61 days and read through the key Bible stories in the chronological order in which they occurred. Bible Gateway provides this Chronological Bible Reading Plan.
Talk about variety! Gospel.com has put together five different Bible reading plans in over 50 translations/languages! Choose to read straight through, chronologically, Old Testament/New Testament readings each day, etc. You can even choose to start on the 1st or 15th of any month! Don't wait for a new year...start now with these versatile plans to read through the Bible in a year.
Most Bibles contain an introduction to each book of the Bible giving information about the author, when it was written, etc. Use this background information to "set the stage" for your study. This will give you insight into understanding the setting in which the writings take place.
The Gospel of John is a wonderful place to begin this Bible reading plan. It gives such a personal account of the life and teachings of Jesus. As you read, stop after each chapter and pray. Record what God reveals to you. Note any common teachings; highlight repeated words & phrases.
Discipleship Journal offers a reading plan that will help you stay on course as you read one book of the Bible at a time. It's available both in
English and Spanish.
Inductive Bible study gives a great Bible reading plan and instruction for this type of study.
Crosswalk.com offers many tools such as concordances, commentaries, Bible dictionaries and more which can be used to search any topic throughout the Bible. Tools such as Strong's Concordance are also available for purchase in book form to use for this type of Bible reading plan. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and leadership as to what topic to choose. It could be anything from marriage to angels!
Recently, a close friend of mine was searching where to begin studying the Bible and asked for my suggestion. She had just purchased Kay Arthur's book on how to pray. I suggested she do this type of study and find all the Scritpures that teach on prayer as well as actual prayers recorded in the Bible such as Daniel's, Jesus', Peter's, etc.
God wants to speak to us right where we are.
Remember the movie, "A Night with the King"? It is based on the life of Esther. You can now rent the movie on DVD. Study what the Bible says about Esther and her character.
It was revealed to her that she was positioned as queen "for such a time as this." Study how she discovered God's purpose and plan for her life and how she relied on God for the strength and wisdom to follow it. It's all found in the Old Testament book of Esther!
Study history also though and other Old Testament books will reveal what a crucial pivotal point this was for God's chosen people of Israel. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you relate this to your own life and what God desire to do through and in you; it's exciting!
The lives of Bible characters are recorded for a reason - to teach us about our Heavenly Father and His wonderful plan. Bible characters such as Daniel, David, Ruth, Peter, Lydia, Mary and so many others followed God.
They weren't always perfect either; think about what we can learn from Jonah's mistake of running away from God! Don't be fooled that just because you learned about these when you were little, that you know all there is to know about them. God's promises are new every morning!
Sharing in the learning of God's Word with other believers can be an exciting time. It's always so amazing to hear what the Holy Spirit has revealed to others through Scripture. There are many times that this will spark an idea or interest of study for ourselves.
God created us to be His body and work together. Time studying the Bible together is important; let this be a vital part of your Bible reading plan!
Of course there are many wonderful Bible studies written to guide you in your Bible reading plan. We have found several free Bible study lessons here online.
There are also wonderful studies that you may purchase by inspired authors such as Beth Moore, Max Lucado, Charles Stanley, Joyce Meyer, and so many others.
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