Arise, shine, for your light has come.
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).
As we approach the beginning of a new year, perhaps you are making resolutions to better fill your mind with the things of God. An excellent way to keep yourself on track in such a resolution is to set concrete goals for reading Scripture and good books over the course of the year. To that end, I’d like to share two ideas, the first of which comes from Tim Challies, a blogger I follow daily.
Challies has put together a reading challenge with four different tiers. You can see all of these tiers on his website (challies.com), including a demanding 104 book plan! The plan I’m sharing is much more manageable: 13 books over the course of the year, for a pace of one book every four weeks. Choose books that fit these categories, and check them off over the course of the year as you finish them:
(1) a book about Christian living; (2) a biography; (3) a classic novel; (4) a book someone tells you “changed my life”; (5) a commentary on a book of the Bible; (6) a book about theology; (7) a book with the word “gospel” in the title; (8) a book your pastor recommends; (9) a book more than 100 years old; (10) a book for children; (11) a mystery or detective novel; (12) a book published in 2016; and (13) a book about a current issue.
I would also encourage you to make concrete plans for consistent scripture reading and meditation in 2016. A resource I find particularly useful in this is YouVersion (youversion.com), a Bible reading app that gives you scores of plans and tools to help you stay on track as you dive into God’s word. Choose from whole-Bible plans (historical chronological plans, the M’Cheyne one year reading plan, etc.), topical plans (finding purpose in your work, healing from trauma, prayer, etc.), family devotional plans, or any number of other ways to structure your Scripture reading goals.
May we all seek and find the Lord through ever-richer times before him in his word and his truth!