A while back, Randy Brown, creator of BibleBuyingGuide.com, shared how he chooses a Bible for preaching. Randy reviews Bibles in all price ranges to help people make the best choice for their budget. His mission is to promote Bible reading and study, and to share quality publishing. Here, Randy shares how he and his family began reading the Bible together.
The New Year is the best time to start a new habit. Here’s one I recommend: reading through the Bible aloud with your family. We tried it, and it worked so well for us that we’re going to do it every year. Here’s an overview of what we did, the benefits we got from it, and how you can do it too.
Related post: Why You Should Read the Bible Every Day
Why I chose to do this was simple. My family would read individually. We would all start at the beginning and work our way through the Bible at our own pace. After a few weeks the pace would slow for one family member or another. Before long another would slow down, and then a few months into it they would be so far behind that the idea of catching up was overwhelming. They would get discouraged and quit. I wanted to solve this. I wanted to keep everyone interested and on track. To help guide us and stay on track with our yearly read-through I decided to try a reading plan.
Choosing a Bible reading plan
We wanted each member of the family to have a reading every day. There are four of us, so we chose the M’Cheyne plan because it gives four readings per day. It takes us through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice.
For our first year, we read from the King James Version. Reading aloud brought out a lot of questions about the context. We realized that many words changed meanings, and grammar and sentence structure has changed a lot. I’ve read the KJV for over 30 years but I didn’t notice some of this because reading aloud is different from reading silently. Saying it is much different than thinking it. We sometimes read what we think it says and skim over words and phrases that are hard to say.
Related post: How to Choose a Bible Translation
There were several times that we got behind. We just read extra over the next few days. The first day one or two of us would read two days’ worth. The next day someone else would read two days’ worth. If one person had a shorter reading that day we would let that person catch up. We didn’t worry about it and we never stayed behind for long.
Now that we’re nearing the completion of our first year of nightly reading aloud we plan to keep it going. My family loved it. It doesn’t take as long as we thought it would and it keeps us on track and in God’s Word. This plan works for us and we’re going to use it again with a different translation. After that we’re planning to try a chronological reading plan.
Benefits of using a Bible reading plan
There are lots of benefits to using a reading plan for family Bible study. Here are ten I’ve enjoyed:
1. It opens up new areas of discussion. After we’re done reading we often discuss applications, cultures, settings, and meanings.
2. It alerts us to questions. When we come across something that raises a question, we stop and discuss it.
3. You get to hear how others pronounce names. This has made me realize that I pronounced a name wrong.
4. It keeps everyone on track.
5. We become more familiar with Scripture.
6. We read books that are easy to skip or skim.
7. They take the guesswork out of what to read. It gives you a clear direction with a clear goal.
8. You can track your progress. You know how you’re doing and whether or not you’re on track.
9. It keeps your reading organized.
10. It gives us more family time together.
Family Bible study tips
If you’re using a plan that gives you portions from different locations in the Bible, like the M’Cheyne plan, jumping around can be a little disorienting for reading on your own. I think these plans are better for group reading because it helps to have a different person reading from each section. This way you are not jumping around in the part you read and they are not jumping around in the parts they read. Everyone gets to hear and read along with each portion.
We have a specific time every night that we read. This way there are no surprises and it becomes a scheduled habit. It’s not random. It’s expected. Use what time works best for you.
Don’t read just for the sake of marking off another day. Read to learn. It’s okay to stop and discuss the passage.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you start a plan and it’s too difficult to follow then consider using a different plan or even breaking into two years if you need to. Taking two years to read the Bible is better than not reading it. Just start and see what happens.
Choose a plan that works for you
There are many good reading plans to use. I recommend choosing a plan that gives each family member a portion to read every day.
For a good list of reading plans see these articles right here on the Faithlife blog:
Make family Bible study a habit today
Reading the Bible all the way through can sometimes be a daunting task. It only takes less than four chapters a day but with 1,189 chapters it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We have good intentions but without something to measure by it’s hard to know if you’re on track. Without a clear target it’s easy to get behind. Daily family Bible study is one of the most important habits we can develop. It’s a rewarding experience on your own, and it’s even more rewarding as a family. You don’t have to wait until next year. You can start today.
Does your family use a reading plan? Tell us about it in the comments.
* * *