Words of Caution if Using a Bible Reading Schedule

In last week’s post I discussed the value of using a Bible reading schedule, and gave you several good options that you can use.  I am sure that there are others, but the point is, I hope you are reading your Bible through on a regular basis.

Now, I am not someone who thinks that reading the Bible completely through in a year is a Scriptural imperative.   This is of course an arbitrary timeframe developed by man to help people read their Bibles through.  Why a year? Why not two years?  Why not one month?  A year is a good time frame, and I hope that some time in your Christian life you will take the challenge of reading your Bible completely through.

I have not always used a Bible reading schedule, and I cannot say that I will continue to use one indefinitely.  I have used the M’Cheyne reading schedule for the last 11 months, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  Obviously you can tell that I did not start in January.  I started last August (2015) and I am nearly complete.  It has been refreshing, enjoyable, and instructive.  I don’t know if I will do it again next year.

There are some things to be cautious of when using a Bible reading schedule, and although I do not want to discourage their use, I do want to share these words of caution with you.  I hope you will understand them in the spirit in which I am writing them, and not view them as a criticism of Bible reading schedules in general.

1. The Danger of Putting the Schedule Ahead of Devotion.

Reading your Bible through in a year is a wonderful thing.  Having God speak to you through His Word is even better! Can have your cake and eat it too?  Yes!

I cannot count the number of times God has spoken to me through His Word in the last 11 months while using the reading schedule.  However, there have been days when I felt the need to stop and just meditate on a verse or passage in the first chapter of a given days reading.  Sometimes I finished the reading later in the day.  Sometimes I read two days worth the next day to catch up.

What I am saying, is that you should not allow the schedule to interfere with getting a truth from God’s Word.  If He speaks, stop and listen.  Meditate on the passage.  If you finish the schedule in 13 months instead of 12, that is no shame.  It is not a race, and there is no failing grade for not finishing on time.  The schedule is a guide, not a master.

2. The Danger of Getting Stressed Over the Schedule.

All of us read at different speeds, and some of us have a busier schedule than others.  You may get sick for several days, or for one reason or another be unable to follow the schedule for a week or more.  Then you look at it and see how far behind you are, and you begin to be stressed out, or discouraged.  Do not let this happen to you.

Remember, it is only a guide.  If you can stay on schedule than do it.  If you get off the schedule then don’t let it get you down.  Just pick up where you left of and read the next day’s chapters.

If you get stressed out because it is March 23rd and you have only read up to March 15th, so you sit down and read like a madman to catch up, what are you gaining?  You are back on schedule, but did you get anything out of the passages you read?

Slow down, enjoy the journey.  This is God’s Word.  It is profitable for many things in our lives.  It is not designed to stress us out!

3. The Danger of Becoming Mechanical.

This is similar to number one.  Sometimes, we can approach the really important things in our lives in a mechanical fashion.  The passion has gone out of the motion.  We are just “going through the motions.”  I do not think God wants us just “going through the motions” of reading our Bibles.  Sometimes we can use a schedule so much that our Bible reading becomes mechanical.  This is a danger.  To avoid such a thing happening, try one of these options.

  • Very your reading schedule from year to year.
  • Spend an entire month in just the books of Psalms and Proverbs.
  • Take a break from your schedule and just read till God speaks to you each day.

Dear ones, this is God’s Word we are reading.  It is alive!  Enjoy it.  Learn from it.  Meditate on it day and night.  Never let it become merely a mechanical duty.

 

Well, I hope you will understand that I am not in any way discounting Bible reading schedules.  I hope you will use one, and that it will be a great blessing in your life.  I simply want you to be aware of some of the possible pitfalls I have seen along the way.  Please let me know if there is any way I can help you, or if you have a need I can pray about with you.  Remember God loves you!

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