Get a plan and dig in

Published 10:10 pm Friday, May 4, 2018

By Thurman Hayes

Last week, I wrote about the power of God’s Word to change lives. This week I want to talk about the importance of getting a plan for digging into it.

As I write this column, it is May 1, the first day of a new month. And one thing that means for me is that I am starting a new series of readings in my Bible reading plan.

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Through the years, I have used many different plans to help me get into God’s Word. The first one I ever used was the One Year Bible Reading Plan. In this plan, you walk through a bit of the Old Testament and New Testament each day, plus you get a brief bit of both Psalms and Proverbs every day.

I greatly enjoyed this plan. It helps you see the whole sweep of God’s Word, and having a small piece of Psalms and Proverbs each day is wonderful. Just think, in about 15-20 minutes a day you can read the Bible through in a year!

This year, I am using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan. In this plan, you are reading four books of the Bible simultaneously, and at the end of each month you have about five or six days where you aren’t assigned any reading.

You can see the two plans I just mentioned and many more on the Internet, and they are free. Regardless of which one you use, it is helpful to have a plan. A plan gives you “a track to run on.” Or, as someone once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

Personally, even as a pastor, I need something to keep me on track and moving toward the goal. What plan you use is not important. That you are reading your Bible regularly is vitally important.

Some people, like me, are “morning” people. It is best for them to do their Bible reading and prayer time early in the morning. For others, night is better. Find whatever works for you, but by all means block out some time and make it happen. This I can promise you: Your daily appointment with God, in which you spend uninterrupted time with Him, is the most important meeting on your schedule.

Here are two more things I would counsel about your Bible reading:

  • Take out your wide angle and your zoom lens. Look for the Big Picture and the Big Story of what is happening, but then come in for the close up and really meditate on certain passages.
  • Read in context. Early in my walk with Christ, I read a book called “How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth,” by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. It was one of the most important books I have ever read, because it gave me sound principles for reading The Book.

The Bible is 66 books with many different genres. Fee and Stuart gave me incredibly helpful principles for getting the most out of each one. This book is an inexpensive paperback, but it is worth its weight in gold.

Finally, find a church where the Bible is really preached and taught, with a pastor who is helping you to dig. If you need such a church, you are always welcome at mine!

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr. is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.