by Alan Walter
A Bible reading plan that covers the major portions of Scripture every disciple should know and advice for using it to help your church grow closer to God and each other.
“Let’s read the Bible together!” That is our challenge to the Lebanon church family for the year 2018. Reading the Bible together is fun! But much more than that, it broadens our opportunities to connect with each other as the daily readings are brought up in various conversations and contexts.
We also hope to encourage people who struggle to read God’s Word on a consistent basis. Although many of our people routinely read the Bible from cover to cover each year, the community plan takes a slower approach.
The plan that we chose is called the F260 Bible Reading Plan offered on YouVersion, a Bible app for smartphones and tablets. Those who use this app each day will complete the plan in 260 days. The plan does not cover the entire Bible, but highlights the foundational Scripture passages that every disciple should know. There are multiple versions to read from (including the KJV); the app also features audio Bibles for those who enjoy listening to the Scriptures.
In addition to using the app, printing a Bible plan that allows for a few missed days will help everyone in the church to stay on pace.
To keep the church on pace (reading the same Scriptures and memorizing the same verses each week), we have a printed F260 Bible Reading Plan available for every participant. It involves reading five days per week; if someone misses a day or two in their reading, he or she can still stay on track with the rest of the church family.
Life is better with friends. The Bible reminds us again and again that we need relationships with people we can trust — close friends who will encourage us, inspire us, challenge us, love us, and pray for us. And they need us to do the same for them (John 13:34-35).
Learning about the Bible is better with friends, too. Plans are great at helping to integrate God’s Word into your life every day. And talking about the Bible with trusted friends fuels your spiritual growth, even as it draws you closer to one another.
In the YouVersion app, “Plans with Friends” brings together the best of both. Complete each Plan on a shared schedule, then talk it over in a group-text-style discussion. Study the Bible together in a small group, or work through challenging issues with close friends, or simply invite friends to share meaningful conversation centered around Scripture. In whatever way you use it, “Plans with Friends” helps you discover things in God’s Word together that you might not notice on your own.
Talking about the Bible with trusted friends fuels your spiritual growth and helps you to discover things you might not notice on your own.
If you decide to try reading the Bible together at your church, consider including an incentive for those who complete the plan. We intend to go as a church family to the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.
When planned thoughtfully, collective reading can encourage a culture of Bible reading at a church. The pastors, including myself, enjoy referencing the plan from time to time as we are in the pulpit; several sermons have been utilized to connect with the daily reading from God’s Word. In addition, the Church Board approved for us to break into small groups on several Wednesday nights each month to discuss what we are reading and to pray together.
We are praying that by reading the Bible together and praying for each other regularly, we will grow closer to God, learn more about the Bible, and support each other more as a church family. All in all, our goal this year is to become a more Biblical, spiritual, and relational church!
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