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The combination of New Year's resolutions and internet accessibility has driven millions of Christians to start one-year Bible reading plans through apps like YouVersion and Bible Gateway. But just as commitments to other resolutions drop, so ...

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Marian Van Til

February 21, 2014  11:55am

Reading the whole Bible in a year compels you to read large swaths, not "bite-sized pieces." It IS a good way to get contexts and therefore a far better understanding than reading the short "stories" or passages that I suspect most people do in their personal (or even family) devotions. My husband and I started on Jan. 1 and are doing this for the second time in our marriage. We read aloud: I read the OT and NT, he reads Psalms/Proverbs. We both feel the Spirit at work and are eager to get back to it every day(just after dinner and after breakfast on Saturdays). We also use two translations and compare them. Sometimes we get out a commentary, and I've even been compelled to buy new ones (which I now have on my Kindle so I can read them anywhere). I'm Reformed, so I grew up with extensive reading/knowledge of the Old Testament. I suspect many evangelicals haven't. But the Old Testament isn't optional; so a whole-Bible plan is crucial to comprehending ALL of the gospel.

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Rick Dalbey

February 18, 2014  12:15am

What are these one year systematic plans to read the Bible? Do people have a one year plan to read Gone With the Wind? Read one chapter from the end, one chapter from the beginning, one chapter from the middle and do that systematically for 12 months? You might wind up knowing a few quotes, you will have completed processing all the words, but I can't really say you've read Gone With the Wind. Do you have a systematic plan to reading Huck Finn? Is the Bible sooo distasteful, so confusing that we have to take small bites and swallow a bit of Jeremiah with a bit of Timothy? And that will help us understand the Bible? That is guaranteed to just confuse us further. No wonder Christians are so illiterate about the Bible. Are we so attention deficit that we just can't sustain reading a narrative? I just don't get it. Can anyone defend this bizarre practice?

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Irving Hexham

February 17, 2014  6:46pm

It seems to me that all Christians ought to read through the Bible in a systematic way. Perhaps a one year plan is too short, but something like the older three year IVP Search the Scriptures plan is very practical.

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Rick Dalbey

February 17, 2014  2:32pm

I love to read the Bible and I love to read each book in its entirety. I don't think you get the narrative power, structure or doctrine by hopping and skipping back and forth through the Old and New Testament in bite size pieces. This is the Scripture McNugget approach and breeds the attitude that the Bible is a grab bag of quotes and promises with no narrative structure. My way is not the only way, but I simply read the Bible as one would a novel, moving the book marker further each day. I don't have a goal for completing so many chapters. Some days I read a lot, some days a little. My goal is comprehension. The Bible is the equivalent of reading six 300 page books. Surely one can do that in a year? If it takes 2 or 3 years, fine. The goal is a deep appreciation of the narrative structure and God's dealings with man, not just finishing a book in 12 months. I also do briefer devotional readings and topical studies in various parts of the Bible later in the day. We need both approaches.

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Liz T

February 17, 2014  11:53am

Some people are slower readers and take a longer time to read and comprehend than others. It takes me longer to read a passage than it does my friends. So Bible plans really help me stay on track but I read them at my own pace so that can fully comprehend what I'm reading.

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Stefan Stackhouse

February 17, 2014  11:32am

I think it is far more important - and far more realistic and achievable - to read the entire NT in the course of a year. If one can work in some of the OT as well, so much the better.

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