Galloway UMC’s Bible Reading Plan
We present this plan to provide a meaningful way to read through the entire Bible in three years. This is not a race to see how quickly you can move through the scriptures; it is an invitation to be reflective about what your read, allowing time to ponder its meaning and application for you.
We also think something is compelling in that others in our congregation also read the same passage on any given day. It becomes a communal act of reading the holy scriptures and creates conversation around what we are reading.
This plan to read the Bible in more manageable daily portions over three years is the work of a Lutheran minister, the Reverend Ernie Bernet. The plan represents some twenty years of work and preparation, which the Rev. Bernet has freely offered to all. Other elements used here are borrowed from several churches such as St Paul UMC, Lenexa, KS; The North Georgia Conference of the UMC; Asbury UMC, Columbus, IN.
Some suggestions as you begin
1) Start with a really good study Bible
Choose one that has footnotes and can explain some vocabulary and give background on what might be going on in a passage. Here are a few we would recommend:
• The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version available in hardcover, paperback, or Kindle
• The New Interpreter’s Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version available in hardcover or paperback
Both of these are in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) which we most often use in worship and small group study. This version is a translation from the original texts and aims to be both readable and understandable in today’s English. It is the version understood to be the standard translation for serious Bible study, especially in seminaries and colleges.
Purchase a study Bible prepared by several scholars across the spectrum of Christian tradition, and not one designed by a single teacher or evangelist. Avoid editions that follow a particular theological tradition…even our own Wesleyan tradition. You will benefit more from the broader range of faithful Christian thought.
Finally, you are encouraged to use a study Bible with notes that help you understand the text, and not make application to your life. That work is for you and the Holy Spirit.
2) Make a plan to read every day
If it works for you to set aside the same time of day every day, then do that! The most important thing is that each day you make room for reading the Bible sometimes. If you should miss a day (or a week, or a month), do not get stressed out about it. Start again with today’s
reading. Resist the temptation to feel guilty about what you may have missed. Sometimes people want to go back and read what they have missed. That is okay, but do not worry about it. Let go of yesterday and give thanks for what God has for you today.
3) Reflect on what you read
Be sure to allow time to digest and reflect on what you read. Here are some questions to get you started:
• What did I discover about God in this passage?
• What did I learn about people in this passage?
• What does God seem to be saying to my life, my community, and my world, through this passage?
• What changes should I consider making, as a result of my reading?
4) Remember, it’s OK to have questions and wonder about what you are reading
Having questions, and even some confusion, is a part of growth.
5) Invite others to use the daily readings with you
This shared support and encouragement can happen in different ways:
• Set up sometime each week for a brief check-up and discussion about the most interesting or most enlightening passage you read.
• Having partners to share this common effort will help motivate and sustain you throughout the year. Having friends share in the same reading will enrich your conversations and connect you spiritually in significant ways.