Do you have a daily Bible reading plan for the start of the new year? I don't right now but I'm looking for one. I just completed my third read through of the Bible in one year. Can you believe it? (I hope I don't sound as though I'm boasting; however, I do feel like I have accomplished something good. I started out wanting to read the Bible through one time. I am an avid reader, and I decided that as much time as I devote to reading books, I would also devote to reading God's Word.) Next year I am taking a less agressive approach and am going to soak up His Word in smaller doses. I did the Bible in 90 Day plan three times - it took me a little longer than 90 days some times.
I discovered something new during this time- the importance of reading the Word of God daily. More than just reading His Word, we are to hide it in our hearts, just as the Psalmist did.
The Hebrew word for hide is tsaphan, which means:
1) to hide, treasure, treasure or store up
1) to hide, treasure, treasure up
2) to lie hidden, lurk
b) (Niphal) to be hidden, be stored up
c) (Hiphil) to hide, hide from discovery
I love the definition to treasure and store up. When we really consider what we have read, examining it and placing it deep within our hearts, we are guarding His Word as holy and true.
Placing the Word of God in our hearts is essential to giving us fuel for the day.
The Hebrew word for heart is leb, which means:
1) inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding
a) inner part, midst
1) midst (of things)
2) heart (of man)
3) soul, heart (of man)
4) mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
5) inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
7) heart (of moral character)
8) as seat of appetites
9) as seat of emotions and passions
10) as seat of courage
Understanding God's Word comes from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals to us not only the knowledge of the Scripture we've read, but also helps us to gain wisdom and understanding.
We develop strong courage, emotions and passion for the truths He imparts to us and treasure and store up the precious words we've read. We ponder them and think on them, carrying them close to us in our deepest conscience so that we might not sin against God.
God loves us so much and has laid out His laws and mercy and grace to us in the Bible. Through the men inspired by God, we have a firm foundation to keep us from sinning.
The Hebrew word for sin in the Scripture above is chata', which means:
1) to sin, miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness
1) to miss
2) to sin, miss the goal or path of right and duty
3) to incur guilt, incur penalty by sin, forfeit
1) to bear loss
2) to make a sin-offering
3) to purify from sin
4) to purify from uncleanness
1) to miss the mark
2) to induce to sin, cause to sin
3) to bring into guilt or condemnation or punishment
1) to miss oneself, lose oneself, wander from the way
2) to purify oneself from uncleanness
I want to live my life in a way that is holy and pleasing to God. I might stumble and fall occasionally, okay, more than occasionally, but if I stay in God's Word, the truths that are hidden in my heart will keep me from going wrong, missing opportunities to do good, losing out on less than God's best, and wandering off the path He has set before me.
"I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths." ~ Proverbs 4:11 (NIV)
Will you make a committment with me, if you aren't already doing it, to read some of God's Word each day?
As we read His Word, let's purpose to treasure it.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ~ Luke 12:34 (NIV)
We are sure to grow into more mature believers when we do, and as we hide His Word in our hearts, we will surely lead a life worthy of the calling He has for us. We will recognize sin more quickly and if we do happen to stray off the path, I believe that as we recall what we've read, we will return to the path He has set before us.
If we plan on reading God's Word, making time for Him and making it a priority for our days, we will honor Him and keep His Word hidden in our hearts.
Reading God's Word daily may seem like a daunting task, but by planning, we can make it less than impossible to do. Here are a few things to consider in making it easier on us.
* Find an easy to use translation such as the NIV, NLT or the Amplified Bible.
* Make notes as you read, or highlight/underline precious Scripture you want to easily find later.
* If you don't have time to sit and read, carry your Bible with you or find a podcast to download on your mp3 player.
* Buy an audio version of the Bible and listen to it on CD as you're running errands.
* Don't marathon-read if you're a first-timer at doing this. It's hard to read 15 chapters in one day.
* Find a quiet place to do your reading and occupy children or those you are responsible for when reading your Bible.
* Read the Bible online using a site like http://www.biblegateway.com/.
* If something grabs your attention and you want to know more, use a site like http://www.blueletterbible.org/ and use the concordance to find the meanings of words.
* Share what you've read on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc. Invite other people to join you where you are.
* If you're an organizer like me, having a plan helps tremendously. I plan on finding a daily plan to go by. Some days I may double up, some days I may read only portions if it's something I really want to ponder.
Let's have a plan!
P - Pray about what God lays on your heart in developing a plan for daily Scripture reading.
L - Listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting as you read the Bible each day.
A - Ask for help or accountability if you need it.
N - Never give up. Expect slip-ups or things to happen that may postpone your reading, but keep persevering!