It’s that time of year when resolutions are made, and often it is about 3-7 weeks from when they are broken! But reading through the Bible in a year is a very healthy idea for both the preacher and the congregation. Perhaps this Sunday would be the best time to mention it? Here are a handful of resources and ideas:
1. Once Through – Steve Mathewson has done the math and shares helpful ideas in his latest blog entry. Remember that many in your congregation will have tried, but failed to read through the whole Bible. Many more probably have never tried. Any help to make it acheivable can only be a good thing!
2. A Voluntary Once Through – It may be too short notice for tomorrow, but perhaps the idea could be mentioned tomorrow and presented the following Sunday. Since people often quit when trying on their own, add the support of others through a voluntary Bible Read Thru program. If people sign up to the program, they will get an encouragement partner with whom will check in once a week and mutually enourage each other to press on (they can bring their own or be assigned one, and incidentally, if they want to, they could get together and share highlights from their reading too). Perhaps the program leader could send an email or letter to participants once every six weeks to encourage them to press on. Perhaps the whole group could come together once a quarter to share both highlights and struggles of the read through. Then at the end of the year have a celebration meal together – for some it will be a massive achievement! All you need is a program coordinator . . . who knows what it might start in peoples’ lives?! (I’d love to hear of churches that try something like this!)
3. Which Order? – It is popular to mix up the Bible and read a couple of chapters from here and a couple from there. Matthewson helpfully suggests a couple of options. I would also strongly suggest simply going cover to cover (less complicated, more context). Some might like to try the Hebrew order for the Old Testament, an author ordering for the New, or a chronological ordering for the whole.
4. How About More Than Once? – I would be careful about this idea with the whole church since it may intimidate some, but there are some people who need the prod the read through several times in a year. Through in six months (7 chapters per day), every four months (10 chapters), every three months (13 chapters), in two months (20 chapters). Before dismissing these timescales, take a look at this article by Ron Frost.
5. A Bible Marathon Once in a While? – Perhap you could use the turning of the New Year to give a first mention to a Bible Marathon later in the year? A Bible Marathon is a great way to soak in the Bible for a few hours for dedicated volunteers. Perhaps going for Hebrews to Revelation (less than three hours) would be a good way to help people finish the read through next winter, or maybe Judges to 2Kings (roughly ten hours) would be a good push through the historical section in late spring? For guidelines from Garry Friesen, leader of dozens of successful Bible marathons, click here.
So how about it? Suggest reading through the Bible to the church . . . and go for it yourself?