A major point of focus for me in the past few years has been working on the way that I approach studying the Bible. It occurred to me some time ago that I’m actually not very good at it. I’ve read the Bible, and historically have been in the habit of doing some Bible reading pretty much daily for the last 20 years….and yet I’d never developed a truly effective study plan. I realized that while there were times when I was good at reading from the Bible, I’ve never been patient about reading slowly, rereading, and taking time to really reflect. I would do topical studies from time to time and tried to read a chapter every day, but hadn’t spent much time studying through the Bible as a whole. I also realized a few years ago that reading had become a quick task to check off of my to-do list at the end of the day if I wasn’t too sleepy. Why was this? Why wasn’t I one of those people who woke up in the morning yearning for some Bible time or someone who meditated throughout the day, excited to have a break when I could crack open God’s Word? I wanted Psalm 119:97 to be true for me…but it wasn’t.

O how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day.

Psalm 119:97

Since that time, I’ve worked on cultivating more intentional habits around Bible reading and study, and it’s been such an enriching exercise. Last year I used the Torah Journey in the Bible Project app to read through the first 5 books of the Bible slowly and with a lot of reflection and meditation on each section before moving on in the narrative. I enjoyed this way of reading and reflecting so much that I’m planning to continue on with an adapted version for my reading next year. In case it’s helpful for anyone else, I’ll share my reading/listening/watching plan throughout the year as well.

After spending quite a bit of time in the Hebrew Bible, I am looking forward to taking a year to go through (most of) the New Testament in 2023. Before jumping into reading the gospels, I’ve been listening to some podcasts and watching videos to help me as I’m planning to be especially watching for references to the “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God,” which Jesus mentions so many times in his teachings. Here are my pre-reading resources:

  • Bible Project: Gospel of the Kingdom podcast series (3 episodes, approx. 95 minutes total)
  • Bible Project: Gospel of the Kingdom theme video (approx. 5 minutes)
  • Bible Project: Gospel word study video (approx. 5 minutes)
  • Bible Project: New Testament Overview video (approx. 8 minutes)
  • Journaling: Note what patterns or ideas about the gospel of the kingdom you expect to find as you begin reading through the Gospels. What other questions do you have going into this reading plan?

I’m really excited about digging into this in the coming months, and am hoping to learn a lot!