Collaborating with Jesus so we develop an authentic godshaped life

Some people find it useful to have a plan to follow in reading the Bible daily.

I recently came across a useful template.

Although a plan is useful - especially for new Christians - it is not compulsory. In fact even daily Bible reading is not essential for a follower of Jesus but down the centuries it has been found to be a useful and life-giving spiritual practice that has been likened to reading the letters of a loved one. Some people use a booklet, like those available from Scripture Union, or a phone app like New Daylight, but many prefer to be more spontaneous. The point is that we learn about God and his character and purposes by reading the stories and explanations of those who went before us, and that the Spirit of the risen Christ  helps interpret the words to us as read. I recently came across a useful template in Dale Bruner's Commentary on John (p 917). He calls it 'The Gospel House', because it is a way of dwelling with Christ, of making a home with him, as we are invited to do in John 15. 

The plan is meant to be used as a lectio divina, a focussed reading based on repeated visits to the the text rather than reading someone else's ideas. This is explained elsewhere. The aspect of the model that intrigued me was the way it determines what your daily reading will be. Bruner has discovered that the books of the New Testament can be fitted into an annual plan, where the chapter number is aligned with the day of the month. No book goes over the 31 days, and in fact some months can include several books. There are some days left free and that allows for spontaneity. I have already found this model to be useful if I have had a break from Bible reading for some reason such as being unwell, hyperbusy or travelling. The pattern easily allows one to get back on track.

Start with Matthew in January, and read one gospel per month for the first four months. February with Mark will have lots of space and you could almost do a second time through. May will take you nicely through Acts (in most years coinciding with Pentecost!) and June to the 16 chapters of Romans which woud definitely benefit from being read twice over.  July will be  1 and 2 Corinthians then the smaller letters will be combined into groups over the ensuing months. October can take you out of Paul's writings  to Hebrews and James, and November can cope with Peter John and Jude. That leaves the whole of December for Revelation, perhaps apposite for Advent.  Quite a neat pattern and I can imagine that over time I will not have to refer back to the chart to know where I am.

Here it is in a list format:light from bible godshapedlife

January: Matthew  1 - 28

February: Mark 1 - 16

March: Luke 1 - 24

April: John: 1 - 21

May: Acts 1 - 28

June: Romans 1 - 16

July: 1 Corinthians 1 - 16, 2 Corinthians 1 - 13

August: Galatians 1 - 6, Ephesians 1 - 6, Philippians 1 - 4, Colossians 1 - 4 

September: 1 & 2 Thessalonians (8 ch) , 1 & 2 Timothy (10 ch) , Titus (3 ch) and Philemon

October: Hebrews 1 - 13, James 1 - 5

November: Peter 1 & 2 (8 ch), John 1, 2 & 3 (7 ch), Jude

December: Revelation 1 - 22

Bruner suggests we pray the Lord's Prayer at the end of each day's exercise, since that was how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. I'm grateful for this creative approach to an ancient habit.

I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. (Jn 15:9, The Message).