I wanted to share with you my plan for engaging with the Bible this year. There are five important components: reading, memorizing, meditating discovering and sharing. Here’s how I do all five.
For reading, I’m using the Robert Murray M’Cheyne plan. This takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in a year. I don’t spend a lot of time checking cross references or chasing down a topic. This is breadth reading to keep the scope of the Bible in front of me. Don’t misunderstand. I fully expect to be edified and encouraged as the Holy Spirit highlights His Word as I read. I’ll make a note of something that stands out in order to pursue it later.
There are few things more valuable a believer can do than memorize scripture. I don’t mean just a quick review and quote it the same day thing. I mean living with a passage (1-3 verses) for a week and letting it wrestle with your heart. I use the Fighter Verses app from Desiring God ministries. (Android App, Hard Copy, Online) The app is a great resource, well laid out with links to different memory helps as well as connections to messages preached on the memory passage by John Piper. The selection is excellent and runs in 5 year cycles. I do my best to memorize each week’s passage.
Meditation follows on naturally after memorization. I usually have the passage memorized the first day of the week and the rest of the week is spent visiting that passage repeatedly to both seal it to my mind and interact with it in my heart and mind. As the week progresses I find that I see the facets of the passage more clearly and I am greatly convicted, convinced or comforted by what I mediate on. Donald S. Whitney provides some great tips for meditation here.
As a preaching and teaching pastor I need to be fed myself on on a consistent basis! I love to discover new nuggets of spiritual truth from others that nourish my own spirit. I read a lot but two tools I try to review each day are the Tabletalk Magazine from Ligonier Ministries and the Explore App from The Good Book Company. Tabletalk features a daily reading as well as excellent longer articles on a theme each month. You can get a subscription to the print edition (which is what I prefer) or the online digital edition. I love the Explore App. It’s a great addition to my daily routine. The app connects you to monthly readings that work through books of the Bible for 1.99 a month. These resources keep me discovering and rediscovering helpful insights from God’s Word.
This is one of the best things I do all week. The Bible tells us that we are to grow up, speaking truth to one another in love. This is one of my favorite passages:
“…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:14-16 ESV)
This kind of speaking is not primarily correction or rebuke (which many people tend to focus on!) but affirming sound doctrine to one another so that we are not “carried away” by “every wind of doctrine.”
Every Wednesday night, I gather with a few other men for something we call SHAPE. The acronym lays out what we do for 90 minutes. As we gather, usually in a public spot, we grab coffee, catch up a bit and then pray, asking the Lord’s assistance to highlight a particular passage of just a 1 to 3 verses for each of us as we read. For almost 45 minutes the table is quiet as each of goes through the SHAPE model. Here it is:
S) Scripture – Write the passage out in a SHAPE notebook.
H) Hermeneutics – Make note of the hermeneutic context – who, what, where, when and why?
A) Application – Make notes of how the passage is applying to you.
P) Prayer – Write out a prayer based on your application.
E) Exhort – Share an exhortation with your brothers based on your insights.
After 45 minutes or so, we work around the table with each person sharing their discovery, application and exhortation with the group. I always come away enriched from these evenings. That’s why they have been a regular part of my week for the last 8 years.
That’s my routine. I hope it provides some encouragement and ideas for your own. Let me know what you do! I’d love to hear how other folks are walking out this important aspect of our walk with Christ.