Yes, I know you are supposed to post your bible reading resolutions in late December or by the first week in January at the latest. I did make a plan, and I planned to post it. But I was busy reading a book, writing a book, and enjoying some much-needed down time with my family. Ah well. Now that I’ve had a week to work my plan, it’s better formed anyway. So I thought I’d share.
I actually finished a bible-in-a-year plan last year, made possible by the Reading Plan app. I would like to say that it was my joy in the process that made me finish, but the reality is that there were days when it was a “check off the list” thing, and those little notification badges were a good reminder/motivator. But, list item or not, the week by week immersion in the big story of the Bible was just what I needed in 2016, and I am grateful. My “reading” was a combination of print, audio (the Audible Listener’s Bible), and digital (ESV iphone app – which also has audio).
But this year, I want to slow down a bit. I had several things in mind for my bible/devotional reading. First, I wanted to linger and meditate on much shorter passages of Scripture. Second, I wanted to copy entire passages like the kings of old. Third, I wanted to make progress on the stack of devotional reading in my to-read pile. Finally, (not quite so spiritual), I wanted to work in some Latin translation so I don’t lose my hard-won almost-but-not-quite-fluency, and maybe move it into the straight up almost-fluency category this year, especially after reading this article from a Westminster Seminary prof. He’s talking about Greek, but it applies equally well to Latin.
All that to say, for my bible/devotional time, I am doing a variation of the plan outlined in this Gospel Coalition article. I am starting with Psalm 119 for the month of January, and using the idea of 10 readings for each section of the poem: Aleph, Beth, etc. (22 all told; one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet since it’s an acrostic poem). So far, this has been my daily practice for each passage:
- Read aloud 1-2 times in English Standard Version
- Read aloud or listen 2-3 times in King James Version (Tecarta Bible app works pretty well for this, as I don’t have a print copy of the KJV that is not falling apart, and have not been able to find a nice slimline leather one—any suggestions are welcome!)
- Read aloud twice from the Latin Vulgate
- Translate as I read once more, using Latin Dictionary and other resources as needed
- Copy the passage (or key verses) in Latin
- Read aloud once more in Latin, then in King James
I know it all sounds very academic, but it does yield some lovely insights. Yesterday, I circled all the Latin words for the Scriptures: verba tua, praecepta, mandata, testimoniorum, and this gem: eloquium. I also learned that the verb translatd sought in KJV and ESV is exquisivi in Latin. Much to meditate upon!
I finish my time by reading a chapter or a section from a devotional book, currently Words of Delight, A Literary Approach to the Bible, by Leland Ryken. Others in my stack: None Like Him, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and Desiring the Kingdom.
After January, I plan to choose another book and work through passages in this same way. I do like the idea of a full read-through or two of a given book before diving in, though, so I think I will try to incorporate that as well. If I find that I need more structure, the Epistles 10×4 plan looks promising.