January 06, 2009

As morning breaks I look to you, O God

I have much trouble maintaining a regular Bible reading time. Without a structured system, I tend to lose my way and give up for weeks (sometimes months) at a time. But I have found a couple of tools that have helped me to stick with a daily bible reading plan for about three years now, and I'd like to share those tools with you.

I try to read all the way through the bible each year. However, this does not leave a whole lot of time for careful study, so if you choose to follow this same plan, you'll probably need to set aside other bible study time to really get deeply into the Word.

Pastor John Piper
We have embraced the ESV as the preaching, teaching, reading, and memorizing Bible at our church because... it embodies the best balance of literal accuracy and contemporary English readability.

The first tool that has been a tremendous help to me is the somewhat new English Standard Version translation of the bible. This translation does not go as far down the path of dynamic equivalence as the New International Version, nor does the translation's adherence to word-for-word translation result in stilted and hard to understand language as is found in the New American Standard Bible. And it is translated into 21st Century English, so I don't have to have a degree in ancient languages to understand the text, as is the case with the King James Version.

The Standard Bible Society
The mission of the Standard Bible Society is to reach the world with the Gospel and God’s Word through the distribution and promotion of the English Standard Version Bible throughout the English-speaking world.

The second tool I have found useful is the ESV Daily Devotions site. This site, run by The Standard Bible Society (the publishers of the ESV Bible), has a variety of different bible reading plans. This year I am following the M'Cheyne reading system, which features four different readings each day: two passages from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and another from the Psalms or the Gospels. This plans takes you through the Old Testament and twice through the New Testament and the Psalms in a year. [Today's reading from the M'Cheyne reading system.]

Each of the ESV bible reading plans is available as an RSS feed, in daily emails, via iPhone or other PDA or cell phone, Google Calendar, Twitter, and you can even add an ESV search engine as a Firefox plugin if you use the Firefox browser. So you can choose the system that will motivate you the most. I began to use the RSS feeds in 2008 and found it to be a tremendously motivating tool. I followed the Chronological reading plan last year.

Join me this year. A love for God's Word is an indication that you are on the right path, and the benefits of abiding in the Word are beyond counting.

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