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Pastor Schult’s Bible Reading and Personal Devotion Plan
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Quite often people comment to me that they don’t know where to start when it comes to reading the Bible and having personal time in prayer and devotions (personal meditation on God’s Word).
There is certainly not one way to go about it – but here is my personal plan that I have found very helpful for over 20 years.
But first, what do I mean by “devotions”? It simply means spending some time, usually 10-30 minutes with God, listening to His Word from the Bible, meditating on it, applying it to your life, and then responding in prayer. It’s very similar to spending time with a person you love talking about the important things of life – you listen, you reflect, you ask questions, and you share.
Here are a few ideas….
Get a good devotion book that has daily Bible readings and devotional thoughts. , Generally, these are short meditations on God’s Word that take about 10-15 minutes. Some have one for every day of the year, others are published as monthly magazines.
In addition to reading any Bible verses suggested in your daily devotion, I recommend regularly reading the Bible.
Reading through the whole Bible from beginning to end is a great thing to do, but I would suggest using some resources to help you do that, either a good book, a Bible class, or a small group.
There are three books in the Bible that I believe should be read and studied regularly as a lifelong foundation of faith.
The book of Psalms has the prayers and songs that God’s people use for worship. They are expressions of faith that cover the full range of human emotions and experiences including fear, anger, joy, confusion, loneliness, love, compassion, repentance, sorrow, grace, forgiveness, mercy.
There are 150 Psalms. If you read 5 per day you can read through all of them in one month. The Psalms are organized topically, so instead of reading straight through the Psalms I use a method that gives you more variety of themes each day.
Method – I take today’s date and read that Psalm, and then add 30 to that number 4 times.
For example, if today is the January 5th I would read Psalm 5, 35, 65, 95, 125. On January 6th I would read Psalm 6, 36, 66, 96, 126.
Here’s the key to the book of Psalms – they help connect you more deeply to God. They are prayers and songs that you sing and speak to God. Jesus said the most important truth in life is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The Psalms will help you do that!
It can be a lot to read from Psalms and Proverbs every day. It may be a good idea to alternate from month to month – Psalms for a month, then Proverbs for a month.
Proverbs are short, wise sayings about how to get along better with other people. Jesus said that the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. The Proverbs will help you do that!
Long term – I have been reading these two books of the Bible as a regular part of my daily devotions for over 20 years. They are two books designed for daily, lifelong use.
There will be days that the Psalms and Proverbs express exactly what you are experiencing in your life. There will be days that they don’t express what you are experiencing – but one day you will, and you will be ready!
These two books are the foundation of the greatest commandments according to Jesus – love God, love your neighbor.
If you are growing in those two things, you will have a firm foundation for your life, heart, mind and soul.
In addition to daily readings in Psalms and/or Proverbs, I like to read one chapter a day in one of the gospels. Depending on how much time you have, you could do this in addition to Psalms/Proverbs – or you could rotate every three months – Psalms, Proverbs, Gospel.
The Gospels record the life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus. They are the heart and soul of the Bible, how God has rescued human beings from the bondage of sin and death and reconciled back into relationship with your heavenly Father.
Every book in the Bible is inspired by God and helps us know God better. Here are a few books worth prioritizing….
People often ask what kind of Bible they should buy. I would recommend getting a study Bible which contains helpful notes of explanation about each book of the Bible as well as notes about the text of the Bible.
Translations – There are many translations available, each one has a particular focus or strength.
Today there are many online options that can be very helpful in studying God’s Word more in depth.
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