Monday, December 31, 2007
A Word on Reading Goals
Last Year, 2006, I completed an exciting reading goal -- 100 new books. This year, I accomplished a different reading goal -- something I've never done before -- I read through the Bible in a year. I have read through the whole Bible before, but never consecutively, and all in one year's time. My fear was that I would read as quickly as I could so that I could just check it off my list, which of course, is a temptation. But I found my time sitting at Jesus' feet quite precious, and often I would slowly read the passages, and take time to meditate on them, and record my reflections in my journal.
For 2008, I am going to read through the Bible again, this time using the M'Cheyne Bible Reading Chart and use For the Love of God by D.A. Carson as a companion for the daily readings. Each calendar date is assigned 4 Old and New Testament passages to read, as well as a devotional that corresponds with one of the passages. I am excited about a new adventure in God's Word! Reading through the whole Bible has helped me to see the whole council of God, and to better understand the big picture.
May I encourage you to have a reading goal? I loathe to call it a "New Year's Resolution" -- aren't those made just to be broken? And even if they are kept, isn't it likely that we are the ones who get the credit ("I kept a resolution -- aren't I good at bettering myself!?)? But it is wise to take account of your days, to look down the year, and to make a plan. Here are some tips on making a reading goal -- a Bible reading goal or otherwise:
1. Don't aim low just so you know you can attain it. I just cringe when I see things like this, which just seems to communicate "I'm doing the absolute least I can". Why not aim high? Even if you fall a bit short, you will likely read quite a bit more than if you had not aimed at all.
2. Look through the books you know you want to read, and plot them out for the year. I make lists in a notebook. That way, if there is something I really want to read, but I know I won't have time quite yet, I plan to read it next month, or two months from now. I enjoy reading seasonally (for instance, about the Passover near Easter), so I plan to read that in March or April. I know I'd forget about many books if I did not keep my lists!
3. Do take recommendations. Sometimes I feel like "I can't take any more recommendations! I have too much to read already!" You can always add those recommendations to your list, and try them later.
4. Stay balanced with variety. Sometimes I get on kicks with certain authors or subjects, but I try to have a mix of fiction and non-fiction, books that will encourage my Christian growth, and books for fun, long books and shorter ones. It's good to plan this out, as well.