A Few Reading Resolutions for the New Year

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:

  1. Read aloud 1-2 times in English Standard Version
  2. 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!)
  3. Read aloud twice from the Latin Vulgate
  4. Translate as I read once more, using Latin Dictionary and other resources as needed
  5. Copy the passage (or key verses) in Latin
  6. 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 RykenOthers 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.

Katharina, by Georg Buchner (from the Christian Herald, 1913)

 

 

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