The Flatirons Bible Reading Plan is designed to help you establish the practice of nourishing your soul using God’s word. As pastors, we often hear of people’s struggles with the Bible. They don’t know where to start, don’t understand what it says, and soon get frustrated. Our philosophy, especially when first establishing this habit, is to stick to the New Testament. The place to start is Jesus. Get as much Jesus as you can. You can pick up the Old Testament later, after being well grounded in the teachings of Jesus.
It’s OK if you don’t understand everything. Be faithful and over time you will understand more and more. The ONLY way this habit doesn’t change your life is if you give up. Jesus uses the analogy of seed falling on four types of soil (Luke 8). In three of the four soils, God’s word is stolen, shriveled, and choked. It bears no fruit. But the fourth soil is the person whose life is changed by God’s word. It takes root and bears fruit. Jesus describes it this way, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:4-15). These are people who ”hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Luke 8:21). God’s word is fruitful in changing our lives when we hear God’s word, retain it, persevere in it, and put it into practice.
Another question people ask pastors is, “How do you get so much out of the Bible? How do you know it and understand it so well?” It’s important to realize that we have been studying God’s word as a daily habit, many of us for over 30 years. One essential element is that you need a plan. The Flatirons Bible Reading Plan helps you establish this life changing practice.
Bible Reading Plan
(Get your 2 Flatirons Bible Reading Plan bookmarks at the Info Desk)
- Plan: Read two chapters a day in the New Testament. Pick up your Flatirons Bible Reading Plan bookmarks at the Information Desk of any Flatirons campus.
- Put a bookmark in chapter 1 of Matthew and read a chapter a day until you finish Acts. Then go back to Matthew 1 and start again.
- Put a bookmark in chapter 1 of Romans. Read a chapter a day until you finish Revelation. Then go back to Romans 1 and start again.
- Time: 15-30 minutes a day
- Explanation: The New Testament is divided into two parts. The first five books, (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts) are stories of Jesus’ life and the spread of the church. The second part (Romans through Revelation) is teaching. They are letters to churches teaching people how to grow in their new life in Jesus. With this plan, you start reading 2 chapters a day, one chapter of “story” and one chapter of “teaching.”
Get your two Flatirons Bible Reading Plan bookmarks at the Information Desk the next time you come to Flatirons. Put one bookmark in Matthew chapter 1 and put the second bookmark in Romans chapter 1. As you read a chapter of each, use the bookmarks to keep track of where you are. You can cycle through this reading plan for many years. It will give you a good knowledge of Jesus and his teaching. This practice will help you align your life with him and develop your intimacy with God.
Consistency is important. You are establishing a lifelong habit. If you do the reading at least 5 days a week, you will complete the reading cycle twice a year.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
Use this plan to establish a daily rhythm of being in the presence of Jesus. Follow these four steps:
- Silence: Spend 30 seconds slowing down and experiencing Jesus’ presence and letting distractions fall away. Jesus is the vine. We are the branches. We get the privilege of resting and remaining in him.
- Commit: Commit this time to Jesus, acknowledging your dependence on him. Thank him for his love.
- Word: Open God’s word and read the scriptures in your plan. Be especially attentive to what you learn about God. Linger over scriptures when you sense God speaking to you.
- Pray: Spend some time in prayer, especially over what you just read. Prayer is simply living interactively with God.
This daily rhythm will serve you for the rest of your life. You are establishing your life in a loving union with God. This practice, when exercised over years, will change your life from the inside out.
NOTE: There are other spiritual practices that are essential for Christian growth. Reading and meditating on God’s word is not the only discipline we need to grow. Sign up for the next Intentional Apprenticeship Training to be trained in practices and habits that help you align your life with Jesus and his teaching. This training is offered twice a year. Go here to get more information on the next Intentional Apprenticeship Training and to sign up.