Inward Look
Scott Kigar, associate and discipleship pastor of First Baptist Church, Rochester, Michigan, granted us permission to publish the following article from Direction, his church’s Christian education newsletter. You may want to use Scott’s article to prompt your people to read through the Bible in the upcoming year.

Start the New Year off with a commitment that will matter for eternity! Pledge to read through the Bible in a year. The purpose of reading through the Bible is twofold—to gain a steady intake of God’s Word and a big picture perspective of the Scriptures. Picture yourself completing this goal as you finish reading Revelation 22 on December 31, 2006. It’s possible by taking the following steps:

1. Investigate the different methods of reading through the Bible.
2. Choose a method that best meets your devotional needs.
3. Commit to reading through the Bible by signing and submitting the Through the Bible Challenge commitment form.
4. Grow through the Word in 2006!

Reading Plans
The following descriptions will help you in selecting a reading method that fits your interests and your devotional schedule:

Classical Approach—a straightforward method that runs from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 in a calendar year.

Morning and evening—similar to the classical approach, but with an Old Testament reading in the morning and New Testament reading in the evening.

Devotional Study—incorporates a daily classical mixture of Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs, which can be divided into morning and evening. A popular example is M’Cheyne’s Bible Reading Plan that can be used as a combination for family and private reading.

Chronological Approach—combines parts of the Scripture that deal with the same events and puts events and writings in sequential order; e.g., related events in historical and prophetic writings are joined together, and the life of Christ in the Gospels is combined and put into chronological order. This method requires a measure of interpretation, as Bibles following this method differ, depending on when the scholars believe certain events took place.

The Best Websites for Reading Plans
www.backtothebible.org—Select from five different reading methods, which are clear, easy to understand, and easily printable (see “Devotions” under “Get to Know God”). Also included is a feature that allows you to listen to the passage of the day. These plans are not perpetual; if you do not begin on January 1, you must keep track of your own dates.

www.rejoicing.com—Contains a perpetual Bible reading calendar, which combines historical, devotional, prophetic, and doctrinal elements of the Scriptures into a daily reading plan. The goal of this method is to give the reader a balanced look at Scripture, using four reading tracks at the same time. A printable monthly schedule is available. Some readers may find the multi-track approach distracting, while others will appreciate the daily variety of subjects.

www.teachinghome.com—Provides an excellent devotional-style schedule. Headings to fill in the month and week and checkboxes for each daily reading are provided, making the plan flexible.

One-Year Bibles
Bibles formatted to a one-year reading schedule include the following:

The One Year Chronological Bible, published by Tyndale, places the events and texts of Scripture in order as they happened. It provides headings of sections of Scripture, has dated pages, and is available in the New International Version or the New Living Translation.

The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order, published by Harvest House, provides a devotional commentary connecting the different sequential parts of Scripture; e.g., a brief explanation in the transition from the period of the Judges to the time of the Kings. A small symbol signals the beginning of each reading. This format allows a flexible start date and reading pace.

The Best of Bible Pathway, published by Bible Pathway Ministries International, uses the traditional cover-to-cover one-year Bible reading plan but provides a daily commentary.

Bible Versions
An explosion of translations, versions, and paraphrases has occurred over the last twenty years. It can be very confusing as well as intimidating. Unless we are phenomenal linguists and Bible scholars, we are relying on the words and works of others. What are we to do? Here are a few suggestions to consider:

* If in doubt, play it safe with a Bible version with which you are familiar.
* Use the version as a devotional Bible. Don’t base your theology on paraphrase-type Bibles.
* Read the preface of the version carefully to determine the purpose of the scholars.
* Check the web for evaluations and reviews.
* See your Christian bookstore for information.

Too busy? We must confess that if we are too busy to read God’s Word, we are too busy. Yet for those of us with long commutes, we can fill the time with the Bible on tape or CD. Several versions, including dramatized readings, are available. Go and read!