As we shared this morning in worship, there are many ways to get into God’s Word on a regular basis. The first and most obvious is to just pick it up and read. Find a time in your day to consistently read. It might be early in the morning when you first get up, it might be late at night before going to bed. Finding a time to consistently read is honestly one of the most important parts of getting into the Bible regularly. If that doesn’t get carved out, it gets squeezed by other things.
What Translation to Read?
There are seemingly countless translations out there with a wide variety of acronyms that represent each – KJV, NKJV, NRSV, RSV, ASV, NIV, TNIV, TLB, TM, and so forth. I personally use two translations on a regular basis – the NRSV and The Message. The NRSV is one that seeks to be very faithful to the original language (Hebrew and Greek) and is one of the more accurate translations available, in my opinion. The Message is also a translation from the Greek and Hebrew (that is, its not a paraphrase), but it tries to portray the words in very contemporary language. I find that reading multiple translations is very helpful in understanding Scripture as well. We use the NRSV in worship at PCW. I also happen to read The Message for my regular devotions.
Obviously, the simplest is to just open up the Bible at page 1 (Genesis) and continue until you hit the end of Revelation. However, some people benefit from a reading plan (I know I do).
There are many Bible-In-A-Year plans (including Bibles that you can purchase that lay it out for you). A great site, however, if you want to use your own Bible is called Bibleyear.com. From there you can select a whole variety of Bible-in-a-year plans – ranging from sequential through the Bible, chronological (that is, in the order that the books of the Bible were thought to be written in), Old Testament & New Testament together, and so forth. Just select a plan and then the starting date and it will give you a plan you can print out and put in the cover of your Bible to check off as you go.
A congregation in North Carolina has developed a program called New Thru 30 – a plan to read the New Testament in 30 days. As a matter of fact, this is going to be my plan for 2010. Starting in February, I am going to read through this each month. You can see the plan here and their full website of resources here.
Through all of this, find the plan that works for you, but make a commitment this year to get into God’s Word regularly.
A few more suggestions.
Bible Study Tools and Resources (electronic, mobile, etc)
I personally find it very helpful to have the Bible with me wherever I am. But there are times that I cannot carry a book with me. The beauty of the digital age is that we can have the Bible with us on virtually any device we might have.
- Logos Bible Software – There are a lot of Bible Study programs on the market, but I have found Logos to be one of the best. Its not the cheapest to purchase, but you get an incredible wealth of resources at your disposal. Varieties of translations, commentaries, and so forth. All in one program. Its also very expandable.
- Quickverse – I have not used Quickverse much, but I know others who have said it is an excellent program. (its also a good bit cheaper than Logos)
Online Sites – In addition to Bibleyear.com, there are some excellent websites that have varieties of translations. You can use these to search, study, daily read, and so forth
- Oremus – This is one of the few sites that I have found that has the NRSV online. Pretty limited site, but if you want to read the NRSV, this is the place to go.
- Bible Gateway – Huge number of translations available here. Great search tool as well.
- YouVersion – Great interface for this site that has many translations as well as daily reading plans to follow along. You can register for an account (free) and it will lead you through as you come back each day.
Mobile Devices – If you use an iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc – there are some great tools available. Youversion.com and Biblegateway.com each have mobile versions you can access, but there are also some dedicated Bible study applications.
- OliveTree – OliveTree software has Bible Study programs for iPhone (and iPod Touch), Blackberry, Android, Palm and several other mobile platforms. I use the iPod Touch software and it is excellent for reading, studying, etc. As a matter of fact, the Sundays you see me with my Touch in worship, I am reading from this program. I have the NRSV, The Message, and NIV translations.
- YouVersion – YouVersion also has mobile device applications that are free to download and use. They are not as full featured as OliveTree, but they do the job and do it fairly well. Click here for their mobile device pages.
There are many other options out there, but these are some that I hope help you take steps to get into God’s Word on a more regular basis if that is a direction you feel you need to have going forward.
Grace & Peace