Walking in Newness of Life through Bible Reading Plans and Scripture Memorization

Happy New Year!


With this season of the year comes for many of us a renewed sense of purpose to set goals, make resolutions, and make 2018 “the best year ever”.  Many of these goals are well and good.  I want to exercise more, eat better, read more books, finish projects at home among other goals.  But, in light of Pastor Chase’s sermon Sunday and the fact that we have been freed from the law, freed from sin and death and that there is “therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), how do we tangibly in our everyday lives live by the Spirit in newness of life?  Two ways that I have challenged myself and our community group with is through a Bible reading plan and through scripture memory.


Bible reading and scripture memorization are spiritual disciplines.  It takes discipline to daily work at it.  Most of us need some kind of structure to help us with these disciplines.  Here are a few that I am using this year.


Bible Reading Plans


There are an almost limitless supply of reading plans available on the internet.  I am using the Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan (https://www.navigators.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Discipleship-Journal-Bible-Reading-Plan-9781617479083.pdf).  This plan takes you through two Old Testament passages and two New Testament passages a day.  The really nice thing about it is that there are only 25 readings a month so you get five or six days a month to catch up, take a day a week off, or go back and really study something that you found interesting or had questions about.  I combine this plan with praying through a Psalm a day and it helps both my bible intake and my prayer life.


You can find many other plans available online as well.  These can be monthly, yearly, or decade long plans.  Most Bible apps available on your phone also have plans built in.  If you use the ESV Bible app and like the way the Discipleship Journal plan is laid out, check out their Every Day in the Word plan or the M'Cheyne One-Year plan (http://bibleplan.org/plans/mcheyne/).


Let me also encourage you to tag your reading plan up with a good study Bible.  The ESV Study Bible has great information and also comes in a student edition which is perfect for your teenagers.  You can find a copy of it in the church library if you would like to check it out before you buy it.


Many of you have children and may be curious if there is a Bible reading plan for them.  I recently came across Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan For Kids.  This book has beautifully illustrated pages, a year’s worth of daily readings, questions and is meant for kids ages 6-12.  I have not gone through it myself but it looks like a great resource you and your kids.  




Scripture Memory


Pastor Chase mentioned a great tool for scripture memory Sunday called Fighter Verses.  This resource gives you weekly verses and different ways to memorize them including a song for every verse.  You can use this resource from your computer (www.fighterverses.com) and on your smart phone.  Look up Fighter Verses in your app store and it is well worth the $2.99.


Let me leave you with a few thoughts.  Remember, our goal her is to grow in Christlikeness and not to check a box every day.  Let me encourage you not to fret if you fall behind.  Also, don’t feel the need to catch up on all the days that you have missed all in one sitting.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16) so that God may transform you by renewing your mind (Romans 12:2) and sanctify into the image of Christ.  They say it takes 30 days to create a habit.  Imagine if we all spend the next 365 creating habits that would shape our lives and lives of everyone around us.  I’m praying that the Lord would bless our efforts this year as we seek to know Him better.


By His Grace

Jeremy Sumners