January 8

Now the New Year’s weekend is behind us, and for most of us reality is setting in. “The best laid plans of mice and men…” now applies to many of us and our good intentions as we began 2012. But it’s not too late! You can still have a good beginning to this year, and can still be faithful to those resolutions that are the most important. I hope that for you one of those is to read through the Bible this year. Or to read through the New Testament. Or to read the Bible every day. If you are late getting started and are already behind, don’t be discouraged! Discouragement is one of Satan’s most effective tools as he works to turn us away from our good intentions as we seek to serve our Lord and one another.

The key is to read today’s reading first. If you are on a calendar schedule or using F. LaGard Smith’s The Daily Bible or some other regimen be sure you read today’s reading first, no matter how far behind you are. If you have a chance to read a few extra chapters to catch up, great! But read the reading scheduled for today first, then try to catch up or read ahead.

Last year I had really good intentions of reading through the Bible again. I started out strong, and actually made it through pretty consistently until the summer. For some reason I bogged down around then and didn’t catch up. But I did restart around October, with the time of the return of the Jews from the exile at the hands of the Babylonians. And I added in an extra reading through each of the four gospels. No, not as punishment! Please don’t have you (or your child, spouse, friend, etc) read the Bible for punishment! Just as an added reading. And I did keep up, and finished the readings as well as an extra round of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

All this is to say that you can do this. You can read through the Bible this year. There are several great ways to do it—The Daily Bible edited by F. LaGard Smith is the Bible I mentioned in the sermon Sunday. You can probably find a copy in town at Barnes & Noble or any of the Christian bookstores (Lifeway, Family, etc.) or they can order it for you, or you can order it online. If you have trouble let us know and we’ll get it

If you want a Daily Bible Reading outline, you can Google search something like “Read through the Bible in one year” and it will give you some choices of web sites/plans to look at. There is likely a daily Bible reading schedule in your study Bible. Another option is getting an app on your smart phone for daily Bible reading. The one I use for the Bible on my phone is YouVersion but there are lots of options.
Some plans just go Genesis through Revelation, others go through the Bible in a more chronological order (which is what The Daily Bible does), and others combine Old and New Testament passages each day. I would go ahead and start reading in Genesis, about three chapters a day, and you should be fine until you get on the track you want to follow. If you start now, you won’t be that far behind—we haven’t made it out of Genesis yet!

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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