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.

Happy reading!


Morning Rose said...

Our Pastor preached on this same topic of Bible reading goals yesterday morning. I liked his ideas for making a 7-year plan with kids, starting with Psalms and Proverbs, adding NT and OT, adding notes on the NT and OT, and finally reading through the entire Bible in one year. I should set some reading goals for myself for the new year.

Grammy Reese said...


Emily said...

I had never read through the whole bible before in a year or otherwise, I started about two years ago, and it's been a long road, but today I started Acts, and I'm on my way....:)
Daniel's trying to too, and it's fun to encourage him through, say, Lamentations?...:)
I can't think of what kind of goals to set for this year...I juat hope to live through a semester of school.

Molly Carlisle said...

I have 4 books on my "to read list." That's a big list for me! :) haha. I thought you'd be so proud of me.

James and Christen said...

Loved the picture! I can just see you there, all wrapped up, sipping tea and reading through the Bible!

I also appreciated your challenge for everyone about Bible reading. This year I have mapped out a plan that alternates from Old to New and then within the different sections. Such as Poetry book, prophet, gospel, epistle. You get the idea. I am going slow and just soaking it in.
Your book you are using along with the reading sounds good!

Hope you had a great Christmas. I loved seeing all the pictures of your family. Looks like you had great fellowship.

James and Christen said...

One more thing, James and I have both made a reading list for the year. Our goals are one book a month and we each chose books from different genres. I am so excited! Laura and I are going to be reading "When Sinners Say I Do" together. It should be fun!

Gretchen Noelle said...

I like your blog, just wanted to tell you since I happened upon it. 100 books in a year...I am very impressed!

Anonymous said...

oh Emma, you so will baby....We love you!!! If you need anything let me know! I will come down there myself and help you. :)

Anonymous said...

ps. that was Anna

Smoothie King said...

Congrats Gret! To God be the glory! Hope you are well and to see you guys soon!

Sara Mincy said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Gret. I have decided to read the New Testament for sure all the way through and then see how much of the Old I can get through. I have enjoyed taking my time and savoring the verses instead of rushing through.

As always, I enjoy your insight.
Happy New Year!

Missy said...

Gretchen, I was googling Christmas Advent and found your blog. My husband graduated from SBTS in 06 and we live south of Lou. I was desiring to have the piper advent calendar but love your idea. could you email me and give me specifics on what you put on each of the letters and the story you use. I think this is a great idea and would love to see it in more detail. maybe you could blog about it. thanks,