Suggestions for What to Read in the Bible during Your Quiet Time

Barre EFC – November 2004

If you have NEVER read through the New Testament …

I would strongly suggest you start in the gospel of Luke (3rd book in the New Testament) and read to the end of the Bible. Simply take a book-mark and read as much or as little as you want each day. Before you read the book of Hebrews, go back and read the gospel of Mark (the shortest gospel) and then when you are all done with Revelation (last book of the Bible) read the gospel of Matthew. This way you read the whole New Testament, but you divide up the three gospels which are most similar so it doesn’t feel like you keep reading the same thing.

If you want the Christmas season to be more meaningful …

Simply choose one of the 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and read a chapter or less each day you have your devotions until Christmas. The wonder of Christmas is that the eternal Son of God took on human form in the person of Jesus (the fancy word is “incarnation”). What better way to focus on the wonder, majesty and truth of this than to study the actual actions and teachings of Jesus which are found in the gospels.

If you long for practical helps in everyday life …

Put a bookmark in the book of Proverbs and read a section (but never more than one chapter) each day. This should be combined with other Bible reading if you do this over a long period of time (more than 2 months) so you keep the “context” of the Proverbs

If you long for scripture that touches your heart and emotions …

Open your Bible to the very center and you will find 150 Psalms (lyrics to songs the ancient Hebrews sang) which touch all of our emotions. Simply read one or more psalms a day. A popular Bible reading project a couple decades ago was to read 5 psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs a day. Just remember when you get to Psalm 119, you probably won’t read 5 Psalms that day!

If you want to read through the history of the nation of Israel that underlies God’s revelation in the Old Testament …

Read the following books in the order listed: Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. Simply read as little or much as you would like each day, keeping track of where you left off with a bookmark or chapter checklist. You will be surprised at how much you don’t know or don’t remember from the Old Testament. You will also be amazed at some of the things God included by His inspiration – clearly there is no attempt to “white-wash” Israel’s history.

If a particular question seems to keep coming up in your life …  

Buy a simple spiral notebook and write the question as clearly as you can on the first page. Then simply read though sections of the Bible (Pastor can suggest some that fit your question) and write down any teaching, principle, or example that touches on even a part of the question. Just do a little each day and then every 2 weeks, read over your notes and make some observations.

If you want more help (or a change) as you read the Bible …

We want everyone to get to the point where they are richly spiritually fed through their direct, personal reading of the scriptures, but there are times it is very helpful and beneficial to use Bible “pre-digestion” in our devotions. There are many helps out there including Our Daily Bread (make sure to read the scripture passage FIRST) and books of daily devotions. Because of the popularity of “The Purpose Driven Life” a number of Christian books with 30 chapters are being released over the next year.