Annual Bible Reading Plan Download ::
Early in my ministry here at Providence, I communicated my prayer that we would be a church known for three key attributes – that we would be a people of prayer, that we would be a people in Christian community, and that we would be a people of the Word.
It was said of the Puritans of old, when their finger was pricked, they would bleed God’s Word. It is in the Word that we find confidence for prayer and an understanding of true community. A regular diet on the Word will keep us spiritually healthy.
To help you in your study of God’s Word, I am asking you to consider using the M’Cheyne Daily Bible Reading Plan. Developed by noted 19th century Presbyterian pastor and evangelist, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, this plan is a great method for Bible reading and study. It is my prayer that following this plan as a church will bring us to a closer relationship with our Savior, a deeper commitment to prayer, and a solid commitment to Christian community. I pray you will join me in putting aside any hindrances or obstacles and read through the Word as a church together.
- Together we will read through the whole Bible in the course of one year. By this time next year we will have read the entire Old Testament once and the New Testament and the Psalms twice. This is important as many people in churches across the land have never read the Bible from cover to cover, Genesis to Revelations. Yet, as we read in 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” As a Session, we believe if we are ignorant to large sections of Scripture, we will fall far short from being complete people of God and rather we will be weak and ineffective.
- A plan will help us focus on what we will read, rather than find us hunting and pecking through the Word of God. Our focus will not just be on familiar passages, we will read the Bible! This plan will save time and allow us to work through the whole counsel of God systematically.
- This plan will give parents a solid tool for family worship. As a family, you can systematically read the Word of God. Fathers can also prepare ahead and select text for applications. A husbands could also use this plan in the evening with his wife (Eph 5:25-27).
- Singles in the church can also get together with one another or with families to discuss the text of the day or week, building friendships that will last.
- The elders and deacons of Providence will also benefit from this program as it will help us better prepare to assist the congregation in counsel, application, encouragement and teaching as we together look at the same passages day by day.
- Lastly, our unity as a church will become stronger! As we see the promises and precepts of God’s Word daily, we will able to pray more effectively for one another. Our love for one another will grow as we both discuss the Word together, but also learn to apply the Word in situations in one another’s lives.
Believe it or not, there are not only rewards to daily Bible reading, there are also pitfalls along the way. Of course, the rewards far outweigh the pitfalls, but it is necessary that we understand what may be ahead.
- Empty Ritual: We need to come to the Word of God fresh each day, and beware of the tendency to allow regularity to become void formality. Reading God’s Word should be a powerful experience. We should be careful to not view it as routine, like brushing our teeth. Come each day expecting to receive things from God!
- Self-righteousness: We pray many of you commit to this plan and that we do it as a church. However, there may be those who become proud of their accomplishments, perhaps even looking down on those who struggle with consistency. Bible reading is not a competitive sport! If someone is struggling to keep up, find ways to encourage one another rather than being puffed up. God will not honor a self-righteous attitude.
- Disrespecting God’s Word: Very few take time to daily read God’s Word. For many, habits in Bible reading are very poor, and commitment to family worship is even worse. Other activities and commitments cram the day as we rush to accomplish things that “really matter.” But for the Christian, our schedule should be incomplete, we should see ourselves as failures in the race of life, if we have not taken time to read the Word of God. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” We should be coming to the Lord daily, actively seeking God and His righteousness. In this we will find true success.
- Feelings of Incompetence: It may be that you find yourself or your family falling behind in the reading. A day may pass, then a week, and suddenly you find yourself so far behind you cannot find a way to catch up. Guilt may come upon you, and you feel the urge to give up. Friend, at this time you must persevere! Do not worry about yesterday, consider today! Paul encouraged us to forget what lies behind and reach forward for what lies ahead. If you fall behind, pray for strength and forgiveness, and start where the church is in the schedule and go!
Getting Started ::
- We are including the M’Cheyne plan in our weekly worship guide. We will also provide a “year at a glance” version for you (attached). You can start whenever you like – but we encourage you to start right away! The goal is to read the same chapters together each day as a church family.
- The columns of the plan contains the days of the month. The first section contains the chapters to be read with the family. The next section contains the portions to be read in “private.” Private reading can be done alone or with a spouse. However, it is given to encourage you to have personal time with the Lord each day.
- In total we will read approximately four chapters each day-two with family and in private. If you are single, feel free to read the first two chapters with your friends or simply read all four chapters by yourself. For families, the father should strive to get ready for family worship time by reading over the chapters in the family column ahead of time, marking two or three of the most prominent sections upon which to focus, and preparing a few simple questions for discussion.
- You can use your reading to spur on conversation throughout the day, but don’t miss out on the dinner table! Every meal will be an opportunity to grow in our understanding of God’s Word.
- Make it a point to let God’s voice be the first we hear in the morning. Mark two or three of the richest verses and pray over every line and word of them. Mark up you Bible with notes or underlines to reflect upon later. Meditate on the Word of God!
- Above all, use the Word as a lamp to your feet and a light to your path, your guide in perplexity, your armor in temptation, and your food in times of faintness. Hear the constant cry of the great Intercessor, Jesus Christ: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
Praise the Lord for men like Robert Murray M‘Cheyne! His plan is just one component of a life devoted to the service of the King! His life is an inspiration to me. It is exciting that we can join in reading the Word using the same plan countless other Christians relied on! May we rejoice together as we read God’s Holy Word!
For the Kingdom,
Pastor James McDonald