A pastor (Chris Conlee) wrote a devotional on Ephesians a few years ago in which he said, “The goal isn’t to read your Bible in a year; the goal is to read your Bible every day of every year.” I found this to be quite striking. There are so many Bible reading plans out there it also makes choosing the “right plan” impossible. Do I want to spend six months in the Gospels, or a six months in the Torah? Should I read the Bible canonically, chronologically, thematically, or piece-meal? These options only are the tip of the iceberg. If you are a special-ops level Christian, you might try the reading plan where you read through the OT once, the Psalms and NT twice in a year. The point of these plans are to get people reading their Bibles and to keep them accountable. That’s a good thing. Yes! for personal Bible reading. Yet, I have a confession to make. I don’t do so well on these plans. I find myself checking chapters off a chart. What about you?
Then, I read Conlee’s statement. It is so simple, yet personally so profound. Stop following the plan. Stop having the eyes gloss over the letters on the page so as to feel spiritually “fed” and superior for reading X amount of chapters. Because, I do. I’ll go about my day after reading the Bible feeling good about my “spiritual condition.” Then on those other days when the Bible reading was less than stellar, I may even feel less loved. This is a dangerous place to be. See, the resurrection of Christ guarantees God’s infinite, eternal, boundless, never-ending love for his people. Feeling like you need five chapters a day, twice a day to make God happy will leave you feeling flat awful. It does me. Remembering God’s love is based not upon our works but upon Jesus’ should provide infinite comfort because his works are infinitely effective. This is good news. So, what again does it have to do with Bible reading?
Sometimes I have struggled with using my own study and reading of Scripture as a means to feeling better about myself, or as a means to having God love me more. Maybe I’d stress over finding the “right” plan, the plan God would have me follow. Yet, when my rational mind steps back the following question looms, “Why would God care which Bible plan you follow?” I don’t have an answer for that. Why would it matter? Why couldn’t someone spend a lifetime in the gospels meeting Christ? Why couldn’t someone spend the next year in Romans, or a year praying the Psalms? All of Scripture is God-breathed, right? Right. If you read Scripture to meet with Christ, you’ll find him from cover to cover, page upon page. Rather than checking an item off your list, sit at his feet and listen to him speak.
I say this now to myself: stop your Bible reading plan and read your Bible.