In 2011, the Christian should earnestly seek to return to Bible study. I simply mean that every Christian should read his or her Bible daily in order to gain a deeper understanding of the tenets of Christianity. Such an approach should allow the Christian to strengthen his or her beliefs as well as knowledge of what the Bible says. See the New Year as an open opportunity to draw nearer to God Himself through the diligent study of His Word, the Bible.
Understandably, Bible study can be a daunting and taxing task in itself. One must find the time to study the Bible amid crammed schedules and other obligations such as work, family and the like. Thus, I submit some simple strategies for working in a daily study of the Bible that can be done in bite-sized portions.
Read the Books of the Bible
The modern Bible is broken down into various sections such as the Gospels, the Prophets, the Epistles and so forth. I suggest taking on Proverbs or Psalms as an immediate entry into studying the Bible. One can read a chapter of Proverbs per day and record reflections upon it in a journal throughout the month. This strategy simply requires the Christian to read a chapter of Proverbs for the corresponding day of the month. For example, on the seventh of the month, one would read the seventh chapter of Proverbs. As suggested before, take notes or write reflections on the chapter in a daily journal or notebook.
For Psalms, it is a little more intense. Psalms has been considered the hymn book or prayer book of the Bible by many Bible scholars and theologians. Psalms are simply poems, in many cases set to music, which offer prayer and/ or praise to God. Many were written by King David and others. There are 150 Psalms. These may be broken up one of two ways. One may take the Psalms in sections, reading one chapter from Psalms 1-50 upon rising in the morning, reading from Psalms 51-100 on a lunch or break in the afternoon, and reading from Psalms 101-150 before going to bed for the night. Or, if the person would prefer, he or she could read the Psalms daily as they are broken into five books: Book I (Psalms 1-410, Book II (Psalms 42-72), Book III (Psalms 73-89), Book IV (Psalms 90-106) and Book V (Psalms 107-150). This also may be done by reading through a particular book of the Psalms in sequential order throughout the year.
Read the Entire Bible in a Year
It can be done and there are numerous reading plans that assist with doing so. I have discovered that the best plan that works for me is to read The One Year Bible. It provides an Old Testament and New Testament reading as well as a portion of Psalms and Proverbs each day of the year. This helps the Bible reader stay the course throughout the year. In addition, these are offered in various translations beyond the King James Version.
Read the Bible through an Online Study
Use the Internet to study the Bible. Sites like http://www.youversion.com/ offer Bible study plans galore. You can study the Bible in various formats and through a variety of methods. Look at http://www.biblemaster.com/ and http://www.crosswalk.com/ as well for Bible studies available online. YouVersion also offers online Bible study groups.
Listen to the Bible
I find that I can listen to the Bible and take it in as well. The Bible is available on CD and MP3 as well as podcast. Via http://www.youversion.com/, I have listened to the entire Gospels in a matter of a week while working at my desktop through its audio Bible application. The Bible speaks of faith coming by hearing the Word of God in Romans 10:17.
Join a Bible Study
If you are attending a local church, most offer small groups or traditional Sunday school. These keep you involved and accountable for studying your lessons prior to attending. Check your church or its website for when these are scheduled on site or off site. In addition, if one isn't attached to a local church or congregation, look into Bible study groups meeting in your area through http://www.meetup.com/, other church websites, or through your local newspaper or Christian press like The Shepherd's Guide if it is available in your area.
No matter which path you choose, Bible study is a discovery. You can learn more about the Lord, His Word and yourself through consistent Bible study throughout the year. Starting out may require some adjustments, but it will prove its own benefits. Make this year the year where you get back into some form of Bible study. Make it your resolution as a Christian today. Start the year fresh and new, seeking to learn more about the Bible and its author- the Lord Almighty Himself.