Pastors and theologians are weighing in about daily devotions as many consider reading through the entire Bible with the start of 2019.
In response to a question from a podcast listener who has never read the entire Bible before asking for recommendations about Bible-reading plans, theologian John Piper offered that it is important to consider the process and not lose the substance while striving toward a read-through goal.
"Reading through the Bible in a year involves about four or five chapters a day. If you think you have to remember all you read while you’re reading those four or five chapters, this will feel absolutely overwhelming and pointless," he said in a Monday post on Desiring God.
Even if readers forget most of what they just read, God’s Word lodges itself in the mind and heart in incomprehensible ways, he said.
The so-called forgotten language, the forgotten paragraphs, the forgotten words, the forgotten stories, the forgotten points are becoming a repository from which the Holy Spirit can draw out things you do not even know are there, " Piper explained.
"When you walk away from your Bible reading in the morning, don’t fret that you can’t recite an outline of every paragraph you read," he said, urging them to instead write down an encouraging sentence from Scripture and meditate on it throughout the day every day.
"Those sentences accumulated — 365 of them — is an amazing power and stockpile of truth over time."
Piper recommends the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan, because it has the reader engage the Bible in four different places, the plan allots reading portions of Scripture for 25 days of the month so readers have catch-up time at the end if needed.
Pastor Ronnie Floyd, who leads Cross Church in Arkansas encourages churches to do a 1-year Bible reading plan. As they have done for several years, he is leading his congregation through 21 days of focused prayer.
"Think about it this way: What could God do with your life if you focused on your spiritual life for 21 days in a row? What could God do with your church if your regular attenders pray specifically for your church for 21 days in a row? What could God do with our nation if we pray specifically along with thousands of other believers at other churches who are also praying?" he stressed.
While the church is providing a plan for his congregants, "the goal is to encourage your people to read the Word of God on a daily basis, even if they choose a different plan."
"The important thing is to encourage them from the pulpit, and even read the same plan so you can discuss where you are and what the Lord is saying through [it]."