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Dec 19, 2016

Hi there! I want to take six minutes to give my five top pieces of advice on how to be successful in reading the Bible in a year.

  1. Choose a reading plan with daily variety. The Bible contains several different genres of writing, and some are much more difficult to digest than others. For me, I don’t like to read 4 chapters of poetry in one sitting. But reading a chapter per day works well. The variety built into the DDD reading plan will keep you from getting bogged down in certain historical sections, difficult chapters of prophecy, or poetry.
  2. I recommend that you avoid a plan that doesn’t include a daily portion from the New Testament. Some plans keep you in the Old Testament from January to August, and then you whiz through the NT from September to December. You won’t be able to savor any of the richness of a book like Ephesians if you whiz through it in one or two days. Like poetry, some New Testament passages are best handled in shorter segments.
  3. This is perhaps my most important suggestion: For devotional reading— recharging of your spiritual batteries daily, use a Bible translation that is easy to understand. This probably will be different than the Bible you use at church, since so many churches are using literal or semi-literal translations in their meetings. My own church uses the ESV— which is extremely literal. But when you are doing your private devotions, no one is around to tell you what difficult passages means. Using a literal Bible for devotional reading often contributes to people getting bogged down. Let me give a short example: In the ESV, Zechariah 10:12 says “I will make them strong in the Lord, and they shall walk in his name, declares the Lord.” However the ESV doesn’t help the reader to understand who ‘them/they’ are. Is the Lord going to make the Egyptians and Assyrians mentioned in the previous verse strong? Or is he going to strengthen the people of Israel? And whoever the verse is talking about are going to ‘walk in his name’. Let’s assume that the Lord’s name is meant. But how does one walk in the Lord’s name? English speakers never talk about walking in someone’s name.  The phrase could mean several things. NOW, if such puzzling phrases didn’t come up very often, it would be one thing. But some OT prophetic books can have many such verses all in the same chapter. Few people will have the time to do research on every puzzling verse. However Biblical scholars have solved these puzzles. If you read the GNT or the NLT, you will get the results of that research in the plain meaning expressed in clear and natural English. You won’t get bogged down, and you will have the pleasure of moving past basic understanding, to how to put God’s Word into practice.
    1. I remind you what you read in yesterday’s reading.
    2. I help you connect the dots to see the cohesion of God’s Word as a whole.
    3. I encourage you to dig deeper for hidden treasures in God’s Word.
  4. Many of the whole Bible reading plans within the Youversion/ app don’t have a Devotional Content page. I have designed the devotional content in the DDD reading plan to help in the following ways:
  5. If you use the DDD/DBRP reading plan, you have more ways to access God’s Word. You can just read the daily readings, listen to the daily readings, or do both. Some people read the plan in one translation, and listen to the podcast on their way to work. If you have time, reading along in the same translation while I am reading will encourage you to slow down. Simply scanning God’s Word like a news article will not help you. Slowing down increases retention of the content and also gives you time to think deeper about God’s Word.

The DBRP podcasts normally come in between 20-24 minutes. If you’re not sure if you want to join us in this next year’s readings, I encourage you to randomly pick one of the episodes from last year and listen to it. See for much more information, and especially about apps for your smart devices that will make it easier to listen to the podcasts.