When I was seventeen, I attended a summer camp that challenged each camper to spend twenty minutes each day reading the Bible. Despite growing up in a family that attended church every Sunday, I had never read my Bible, and this challenge proved to be life-changing.
The Word of God is living. I know this to be true because God spoke to my heart through the words on those thin pages. God called me to surrender my life to Him, and I have continued to pursue a deeper relationship with God ever since.
Now, more than twenty years later, I’m as passionate as ever about reading and studying God’s Word. At church, I enjoy participating in weekly Bible studies by Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer. I love them! And online, I’m currently leading a small group through a study on Ephesians by Katie Orr and Lara Williams. It’s awesome.
I love to study the Bible.
And I love Bible study resources.
But I’ll be honest. My quiet times have fluctuated over the years. (By “quiet time,” I mean a period of time I set aside each day to read the Bible and listen to God’s voice.)
Some seasons have been great. I couldn’t wait to dig into His Word each day. But there have been dry seasons too — times when I skipped a few too many days until I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I last opened my Bible. I don’t think I’m alone either. Most people experience ups and downs in their quiet times.
I’ve noticed, however, that all of my dry seasons have had one thing in common: I lacked a reading plan.
When I’m involved in a ten-week Bible study by Beth Moore or with my HelloMornings group, I get into a groove. I know I’m with women who are doing the same study, and we make a commitment to show up each week with our homework finished. It works for me.
But when the Bible study ends?
I’ll do okay for a while. I’ll pick a book in the Bible and start reading. But after a while? My fervor wanes. My commitment isn’t accompanied by accountability. And my daily quiet time turns into a weekly quiet time. Or worse.
To remedy this plight-of-the-quiet-time, I’ve tried every Bible reading plan known to man.
The first time I attempted to read the Bible in a year I bought a Bible that divided the pages into 365 readings. It had a little bit of Old Testament, a little bit of New Testament, and a few Psalms and Proverbs sprinkled in for good measure — like salt and pepper on your meat and potatoes.
It was a nice idea. But it didn’t work. At least not for me. The text didn’t flow because the stories were chopped in strange places. I’d start to get into a passage; then it would stop and redirect my reading elsewhere.
I found the reading experience frustrating, and I quit. Then I felt guilty for quitting.
Then a few years ago my husband bought me a Bible that has become the one Bible study that has impacted my quiet time the most. It has 365 daily readings as well, but they’re arranged in chronological order. So by the end of each year, I’ve read the entire Bible, but I’ve read it in the order of events as they occurred.
It’s been amazing to read the Story of God’s Redemption the way it actually unfolded in history. It’s also given me a more complete picture of God’s plan for His people. Now when I study an individual book of the Bible, I have a clearer framework — and timeline — within which to place that individual book.
I’ve been reading the Bible for over 23 years. Yet, the One Year Chronological Bible has revolutionized my daily devotional habits. So I want to share what I’m learning about the Bible and Bible study methods.
I also want to extend an invitation to you. In the One Year Chronological Bible, the Old Testament begins on January 1. But the New Testament begins on September 24. That’s next week!
The New Testament is arranged in chronological order and then divided into 99 readings. So if I read each daily reading from September 24 – December 31, then I’ll finish reading the New Testament by the end of this year!
If you’ve struggled to maintain a daily quiet time on a consistent basis, I invite you to consider reading the New Testament with me. I have so much more to share about this. So I’ll continue to write about it over the next few days. For now, pray about possibly reading the New Testament this fall.
Have you ever struggled
to maintain a daily quiet time?
Would you be interested
in reading the New Testament
from September 24 – December 31?
If you’ve struggled to maintain a daily quiet time, you’re invited to join @DeniseJHughes and #Team365 <Tweet that!>
“The Word of God is living and active . . .”