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As you go about your busy Sandwich Generation day of dealing with caring for the elderly parents in your family and helping with grandchildren, do you find yourself hit by tons of distractions? Me too! And that can be hard for many of us, can't it? If I can choose my favorite place to sit at church or in school, it is the front. There are fewer distractions. I suspect that if I were a child today, I might be called hyperactive or ADHD. My attention can easily be pulled away to a variety of more interesting things if I let it (and I frequently do). Consequently, daily Bible studies were always a bit of a battle for me.
Reading my way through the whole Bible was something I had never accomplished even though I was a Christian for over 20 years and had spent time in the Word of God daily for several years. I would start out gung ho, then hit Numbers, or Deuteronomy and start fading. Same thing with the books by the prophets.
Finally I devised a study plan that sounds a bit “scatty” but has worked wonderfully for me for several years. I now alternate it through the year with the verse by verse Bible studies I take through my church. I divided the Bible into seven sections –
- Old Testament easy parts
- Old Testament harder parts
- New Testament Gospels and Acts
- New Testament easy parts
- New Testament harder parts
- Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
- Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
- Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, John (notice I changed the order so that I read both of Luke’s books together)
- 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude
- Romans, Hebrews, Revelation
- The Psalms
- The Proverbs
Each day, I grab my NIV large print (those aging eyes!) Life Application Study Bible and read a portion from each of these sections. How much depends on how much time I am spending on Bible reading that day, what the natural breaks are, and where I feel “led” to stop. Right now, I usually spend about 1/2 hour in Bible.
Today, for example, I read: 2 Sam. 7:18-29, Psalm 10, Proverbs 23:6-24:6, Jer. 6:1-15, Matt. 7:13-29, Gal. 4:21-5:25, Heb. 10:26-11:7. If I was only spending 10 minutes a day, I would have read much shorter passages. Some days I will read a lot. When I am reading in the books of Samuel or Kings they can be as exciting as any TV show and I can’t wait to see how a crisis ends. So I might read 2-3 chapters. Some days I read less as I stop to pray and meditate on one or more encouraging or challenging Bible verses. Or I might look up some passages in a commentary to understand it better.
I have no set rules. But if you spend 1/2 hour a day over the course of three years, you will most likely read every book of the Bible at least once and some you will read several times. You will have difficult passages combined with easier passages. And the part that really intrigues me as I do this is how I will find various passages in the Word of God that “match up” to others on the same day in ways that only God could do.
For example, I will be reading an Old Testament prophecy and then read a passage in the New Testament that it is referring to. With no planning on my part, God speaks volumes through His Word.
Give it a try if you are looking for a new way to study the Bible, then let me know how you liked it. Do you have an interesting way you study? We’d love to hear that as well.
P.S. You might look at this list and think, “Humph! What is she thinking? I love Romans and Hebrews and Zechariah but 1 and 2 Samuel are what I call tough." That’s OK. You might want to rearrange these a bit or a lot to make it work well for you. If you do, send us your variation to share with others.