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A Bible-Reading Plan for 2020
January 21, 2020

 Even though the countries in the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year, January 1 is accepted internationally as the start of the new year. Technically, 2020 is the last year of the decade, but it feels like the first of the new one. Can you remember what you were doing 20 years ago? Do you remember the fears about Y2K?

Starting a new decade is an excellent opportunity to plan on a serious Bible-reading program. Many years ago, I met H. M. S. Richards, Sr., the founder and speaker of The Voice of Prophecy radio program. He was a serious reader. He had a personal library of about 8,000 books and read while he traveled (he never drove), while he waited for people or meetings, and even while he walked! His vast knowledge of many things contributed to his very interesting sermons. He was known in North America as the Dean of Preachers. Pastor Richards read the Bible from cover to cover at least 180 times, since he stopped counting after that. Every January, Richards would set aside all other reading, all television viewing, to read the entire Bible in one month. He started the new year listening to God.

My personal habit is to read the Bible with a pen in hand. I usually take time reading because I study what I read, I compare it with other sections of Scripture, and I add notes to my Bible margins. But that takes time. There is a wonderful benefit in reading the Bible through, without slowing down, without pausing to ponder on the details. Years ago, I decided to listen to the Bible while I drove and while I ran for exercise. Listening to an average of 12 or 13 chapters a day, I was able to listen from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 in three months. And then, I started over again. So, in addition to my Bible reading and studying, I listened to the entire Bible four times a year. The impact was surprising and significant. It gave me more confidence in God, a conviction that God knew what He was doing in my life as well as in the world.

So why not plan to do a concentrated reading of the Bible this January? Let me provide a few facts. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, some long, some short. To read those chapters in 30 days would mean reading about 40 chapters a day. That may be an average reading of about six hours a day. Can you do that? Will you do that? Obviously, it will take planning. Make a reading table to chart your daily progress. You will also have to think about what you will need to let go in your day in order to add hours to your reading or listening. Turning off the TV or limiting social media to only 10 minutes a day may help you gain the time you need to dedicate to God’s Word. If you are less disciplined, it may be easier to listen to the Bible on your phone. The benefit is that you can do this just about anywhere.

Remember this wise counsel from God’s servant to pastors and church leaders: “There is nothing more calculated to energize the mind and strengthen the intellect than the study of the word of God. No other book is so potent to elevate the thoughts or give vigor to the faculties, as the broad, ennobling truths of the Bible. If God's word were studied as it should be, men would have a breadth of mind, a nobility of character, and a stability of purpose that are rarely seen in these times” (Gospel Workers, 249). 

Article by Ron Clouzet, NSD Ministerial Secretary