Bible Reading: A New Year, A New Approach

The start of a new year is doesn't carry any mystical significance for me, and I don't view it as time of new beginnings - except in one very important area. For more than twenty years, I've read through the Bible during the calendar year, and one of the traditions I look forward to is reading the final chapters of Malachi and Revelation on December 31, followed by the first chapters of Genesis and Matthew on New Year's Day.

My reading plan during that period has been taken from the Open Windows magazine, a 75+ year old publication that is provided at no charge by our church. It provides daily readings from the Old and New Testaments along with a short devotional, and it has been an excellent tool to keep me organized and on track. Its only drawback is that it's treeware, meaning that I must have access to a physical copy of the current issue in order to follow the daily plan. This hasn't always been convenient.

Bible GatewaySo, in 2013 I'm going virtual, using Zondervan's excellent - and free - iPad/iPhone app, Bible Gateway (also available for Android devices and the Kindle Fire). I've been a big fan of the Bible Gateway website for years, and the transition to an app has only increased its usefulness.

Not only can you choose from a variety of reading plans (e.g. New Testament in a Year, Chronological, Historical, etc.) but you also have access to a wide variety of translations, commentaries, and dictionaries. There's an audio option for some of the more popular translations in case you prefer to listen rather than read (or follow along while someone else reads), and the ability to add notes to specific passages as well as marking passages as "favorites."

In the past, one of the significant downsides to the online resource was that you needed an internet connection to actually read the Bible. The latest iteration of the app allows you to download some (but not all) translations to your device so that you can read offline. My translation of choice (New American Standard) is not one of those licensed for download, but my second choice (New International Version) is, so I'll have that as a backup for those rare times when I have neither a wifi or cellular connection.

Of course, this is just a tool, and its usefulness depends on the commitment of the wielder. There are many tools to help accomplish this particular task; the cool thing is that God will bless the sincere application of any of them.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Eric published on December 31, 2012 8:58 AM.

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