A Unique Bible Reading Plan

There is nothing that will stoke, shape, and transform your relationship with Jesus than consistent, focused, and intentional time in the Scriptures, the Bible. Though many of us know this theoretically, we struggle to implement it in the every day. Often, at least in my life, this is due to the fact that we don’t have a plan. I need some structure to my reading, otherwise it can devolve into a mere emotional exercise of “What do I feel like reading today?” So, if we’re discouraged, we go to Ecclesiastes. If we’re angry we go to Judges. If we’re happy we go to Philippians. If all else fails, we go to the Psalms. Having some sort of Bible reading plan can help keep our reading fresh, structured and moving forward. It’s helpful to sit down, open your Bible and know where you’re going. Over the years, I’ve used a number of plans but inevitably there were aspects to each I found cumbersome or less than ideal. So, two years ago I combined my two favorite readings plans to leverage the benefits of each – M’Cheyne Bible Reading plan and the Navigator Bible Reading plan. [From the Downtown Cornerstone Church blog.]

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How to read the Bible without reading the Bible

Have you ever picked up your Bible, read it, put it down, and walked away feeling like you didn't read it? I have. What happened there? The Bible is just like any other book and, at the same time, unlike any other book. Like other books, there are printed words, sentences, and paragraphs that are intentionally arranged to communicate specific ideas. You should read the Bible literally, in that it is a piece of literature. Yet, at the same time, it is utterly unlike any other book. The Bible claims to be the divinely inspired revelation of God to fallen humanity (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Therefore, when we approach the Bible we are not merely approaching a piece of literature (though it is that); we are approaching a piece of literature that is God's direct revelation to us. Given this dual nature of the Bible it is possible, if not all-too-common, to read the Bible without really reading the Bible. In so doing we harm ourselves by cutting off God's primary means of grace in our lives. How do we read the Bible without reading the Bible? 

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David Wells on how we put ourselves in place of the Bible (or, evangelical paganism)

The Bible is not a remarkable illustration of what we have already heard within ourselves; it is a remarkable discovery of what we have not and cannot hear within ourselves. Thus, our inward sense of God and our intuitions about meaning are irrelevant in any effort to differentiate biblical truth from pagan belief. It is how we apply ourselves to learn what God has disclosed of himself in a realm outside ourselves that is important. And unless we steadfastly maintain this distinction in the face of the modern pressures to destroy it, we will soon find that we are using the Bible merely to corroborate the validity of what we have already found within our own religious consciousness - which is another way of saying that we are putting ourselves in place of the Bible. It is another way of reasserting the old paganism. When that happens, theology is irredeemably reduced to autobiograpy, and preaching degenerates into mere storytelling.
— David Well, No Place for Truth, 279

William Still on pastors as men of the Word

It is to feed sheep on…truth that men are called to churches and congregations, whatever they may think they are called to do. If you think that you are called to keep a largely worldly organization, miscalled a church, going, with infinitesimal doses of innocuous sub-Christian drugs or stimulants, then the only help I can give you is to advise you to give up the hope of ministry and go and be a street scavenger; a far healthier and more godly job, keeping the streets tidy, than cluttering the church with a lot of worldly claptrap in the delusion that you are doing a job for God. The pastor is called to feed the sheep, even if the sheep do not want to be fed. He is certainly not to become an entertainer of goats. Let goats entertain goats, and let them do it out in goatland. You will certainly not turn goats into sheep by pandering to their goatishness. Do we really believe that the Word of God, by his Spirit, changes, as well as maddens men? If we do, to be evangelists and pastors, feeders of sheep, we must be men of the Word of God.
— William Still, Work of the Pastor
God first humbled Himself for our salvation in the Incarnation and on the cross and now he humbles Himself for our knowledge of salvation by addressing us in and through the often humanly unimpressive words of the Bible…The condescension of God in becoming a baby Jew, in being executed on a Roman gibbet, and in proclaiming His goodness and His gospel to us via the down-to-earth, unliterary, often rustic words of the sixty-six canonical books, is one and the same and spells the same reality throughout - love to the uttermost.
— JI Packer, The Adequacy of Human Language (Inerrancy, ed. Geisler), 216,217
The fact that God’s self-disclosure is couched linguistically in the same personal terms in which we talk about ourselves and is therefore intelligible to us does not mean that God must have misrepresented Himself in what He has said. What it means, rather, is that in our personhood and in our capacity to give and receive verbal communication, we are less unlike God than perhaps we thought.
The Adequacy of Human Language, JI Packer, 214 (Inerrancy, ed. Norman Geisler)
Last Minute Gift Idea for Bible Lovers  
 If you’re still on the hunt for a gift for yourself or another Bible lover this Christmas, consider the  Cambridge ESV Wide-Margin Reference edition . It’s an investment, but well worth the cost. Excellent cross-references (better than the ESV Study Bible IMO), wide-margin for notes, adequate font size, and the overall quality that you’d expect from Cambridge Bibles. I’ve been using mine for over a year and love it.

Last Minute Gift Idea for Bible Lovers

If you’re still on the hunt for a gift for yourself or another Bible lover this Christmas, consider the Cambridge ESV Wide-Margin Reference edition. It’s an investment, but well worth the cost. Excellent cross-references (better than the ESV Study Bible IMO), wide-margin for notes, adequate font size, and the overall quality that you’d expect from Cambridge Bibles. I’ve been using mine for over a year and love it.

Combined Bible Reading Plan.   Over the years, I’ve found two Bible reading plans to be particularly helpful. The   Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan   (which plans for 25 days of reading each month, leaving five days for catch-up or further study) and the   M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan   (through which you read the New Testament twice and Old Testament once per year).  I like elements of both, so I combined them.  You can find it here.

Combined Bible Reading Plan.
Over the years, I’ve found two Bible reading plans to be particularly helpful. The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan (which plans for 25 days of reading each month, leaving five days for catch-up or further study) and the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan (through which you read the New Testament twice and Old Testament once per year). I like elements of both, so I combined them. You can find it here.