Archive for the ‘Spiritual Formation’ Category

Why I don’t Use Bible Reading Plans

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Last month there was a lot of talk about Bible reading plans.  I didn’t say anything at the time because I didn’t want to be perceived as attacking the people encouraging us to use them.  In fact, I appreciate what they were doing.  If you encouraged us in that way, thank you.Yet, I want to share why I don’t use one.  I have used them in the past.

Before I share why, I need to share something about myself.  I’m a rule follower.  It’s not my nature to challenge authority.  I don’t believe rules are made to be broken.  If a rule doesn’t make sense to me, I investigate the reason for the rule.  If the reasoning is faulty, I try to get the rule changed.  But, I don’t wantonly break rules.  Blame it on my military background if you like (I was raised by an Army officer and now serve in the Air National Guard), but I don’t break rules, I follow them.My rule following nature is the foundation my decision not to use Bible reading plans.

First, I don’t use them because I tend to feel like a failure when I try.  I have a hard time keeping up with the schedule.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the aggressive B90X or through the Bible in three years.  I have a hard time keeping up.  Because I’m a person that follows rules, I feel like a failure when I fall behind.

Second, I can be a little Pharisaical.  Usually people think that means hypocrite.  That was true of the Pharisees and can be true of me.  But, I don’t think that was the Pharisees greatest flaw, or mine.  The Pharisees greatest flaw, and one of my greatest weaknesses, was worshipping the Law instead of the Lawgiver.  Read the Gospel of Matthew again if you don’t believe me.  Anyway, the second reason I choose not to use a reading plan is that when I am faithful to the plan I find myself valuing my faithfulness to the plan more than my faithfulness to God.  I start to look at my time in the Bible as a task for which I earn favor with God rather than quality time with my Father in heaven.

So, I don’t use a Bible reading plan.  I schedule regular time with God in the morning.  I read the Bible in different ways.  I look to God to guide my reading.

This doesn’t make me any more spiritual or closer to God than those who choose to use Bible reading plans.  I choose not to out of weakness, not out of strength.  The use of a reading plan isn’t the issue.  The goal is time with God.

What do you think about Bible reading plans?