Read the Bible in 2018

Download the 2018 ESBC Bible Reading Plan HERE:

It’s like this every December isn’t it? Right after this blessed season of Christmas, the birth of a new year is upon us, Lord willing. We’ll say things like, “Can you believe the new year is upon us?”, and “What happened to last year?”

As the years click by on me, I have an increasing desire to see the redeemed of God grow in grace. It is my hope that the many children God has blessed your homes with these past years would all taste this great salvation of Christ. Like the apostle Paul, “With God as my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.” This increases on me every year.

I don’t know what the year 2018 holds for us. It is likely, as we do every year, we will experience many things of this temporal world: birth, death, sorrow, joy, sickness, health, pain, and comfort. We will be allowed many times to display who our Lord is in how we respond to good and difficult times. We will likely fail because of lack of discipline; and we will yet again bless the Lord for His mercy and grace as we grow and overcome the simple sins that once owned us as a slave master.

May we learn sooner that we stand strongest in Christ when we depend upon Him and not upon ourselves or others. To do so, we must be driven more to our Bibles. If we are to stand at all in the many things that are before us, if the Lord delays His coming, we will best face those things with a path illuminated by the lamp of Scripture.

There are many Bible reading plans to help us persist in this beneficial task. It is my desire that you receive my invitation to read the Bible with me in 2018 with an understanding of the benefit it will be to our souls together. It will bless the aged and it will help our children.

I have selected the reading plan originally developed by Robert Murray M’Cheyne in 1842 for his congregation in Scotland. As you consider this, know that this must not be viewed as a work of Salvation. You are not selected for God’s grace of salvation to rest upon you because of your keeping this reading schedule. You do not lose favor of His mercy throughout the year if you fail and stumble your way through the reading plan.

I have been working on making a few adjustments to Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s original Bible reading plan. His longer explanations for why he wanted his church to read the bible contain the best reasons I’ve ever read. Not that his explanations are better than what others could say, it’s that he articulated them with reason for serious consideration. I’ve adapted and reworded M’Cheyne’s cautions and advantages on the following page.

First: Here are some cautions and pitfalls that may accompany anyone attempting to read the Bible with such a strategic plan.

  • Stagnation – Because we are typically weak, we will quickly turn rich benefit to stagnant duty that becomes lifeless and meaningless within a short amount of time. This is likely similar to what the apostle Paul meant when he told Timothy to caution the church of those who have a “form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” Set a guard up against this. If you notice the reading schedule is nothing more than checking off a list – then set the reading schedule down and read with joy.
  • Self-righteousness – You will notice the reading schedule has become a means of self-righteousness if you are tempted to justify your ignoring of spiritual things while performing mechanical tasks. As M’Cheyne put it, “Many are living without any Divine work on their soul – unpardoned and unsanctified, and ready to perish – who spend their appointed times in secret and family devotion. This is going to hell with a lie in their right hand.”
  • Mindless Reading – Few in our day tremble at the Word of God. When the reader reads mindlessly he is at risk of not hearing the voice of Jehovah. Push yourself to read, while refusing to read to check off a list.
  • Bearing False Witness – Notice this quickly about yourself. If you find you are tempted to lie about reading, when you have not; the completion of reading the Bible is a means to brag of your piety. (see warning of Self-righteousness.)
  • Becoming too Busy – Life is busy. Know that up front. Plan for it before it overtakes you. Guard against letting the reading of the Bible to become a burden. Parents, use caution in how you talk about reading the day’s assignment.

Next: With so many warnings, why would anyone attempt to take on such a daunting task as reading the entire Bible with a systematic schedule? We know this is true about things that are of great value. All things of value have potential thieves and imitations. When we better understand the advantages of reading the Bible we will be better prepared to stay the course. Here are some of the many advantages…

  • The Word of God – The apostle Paul informed Timothy that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect.” It is likely many never read the entire Bible and miss this truth all together. In the reading plan I’m suggesting we will read the Old Testament once, and the New Testament and Psalms twice.
  • Value – When we understand the value of the Bible we will be better able to not see the reading as a waste of time.
  • Common Conversation – Parents, with a reading schedule you will now have a common ground and communicated place in which to instruct and examine your children. You will discover soon that even the smallest section of Scripture will generate a life of conversation. You will find quickly, if you treat the reading of Scripture as a sacred family event that it will be like opening a package with styrofoam peanuts. You’ll soon discover it’s difficult to contain where the conversation goes next or how long it stays on a subject.
  • Feeding Together – The entire church will be reading from the same pasture and will be able to encourage each other in the light of Scripture and give comfort and counsel from the same nourishment. We will soon be praying over the same promises in our homes. We will mourn over the same confessions. We will praise God as if in the same location as we are on the Lord’s Day.

Download the 2018 ESBC Bible Reading Plan HERE:
Directions for using the ESBC Bible Reading Plan for 2018:

  • The dark center column is the day of the month. Put this reading schedule in a common place in the home so all can refer to it as needed.
  • The left and right columns are the books and chapters that correspond with the day of the month.
    • With this plan, you will read through the Old Testament once and the book of Psalms and the New Testament twice.
      The head of the family should consider reading all assigned chapters before gathering the family to read the chapters together; to be prepared to focus on prominent verses and to ask a few simple questions for reflection.
  • Of all the habits in this temporal world, let’s be careful to discipline ourselves and create an appetite for righteousness.
  • Speak of Scripture favorably, especially to your children. Let them both hear and see that you treasure the Bible as a gift from God.
  • This plan is set up to read in the morning and evening.
    • The head of family may instruct the family to read together or individually.
    • If individually, plan to discuss what was read in private as a family.
    • If suitable, plan for both family reading and individual reading (according to a child’s reading skill.)
  • Take advantage of family meals and intend to direct conversations around the recent chapter(s). Let every meal time be a sacred event where physical and spiritual nourishment are both consumed.
  • Let the word of God be like bookends on your day. Let those within our homes be more influenced by the word of God than the philosophy of the day.
  • When we greet one another between Lord’s Day gatherings, speak of your reading with affection and as a benefit. This is a better discussion than the normal idle words that run fast to sin and grieve the Holy Spirit.
  • May the lamp of Scripture illuminate our path and may we more readily hear the voice of God.
  • Expect for your busy schedule to compete with your desire to do this. Work in this discipline with flexibility, without making excuses.
  • Remember our cravings for this temporal world are strong. We are not able to do this discipline in our strength. Do this duty with the work of grace and mercy upon us. If a day or series of days are missed, make plans quickly to catch up or agree to pick up on the current calendar day and simply press on.
  • A final word: there are many reading plans. Spend some time considering if this is the best plan for you and your family. If you find there is a better plan, adopt it as yours and devote yourself to reading the word of God.

If you have an email address, consider registering at this website with me. 

Download .pdf file for the entire 2018 ESBC Bible Reading Plan HERE:

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