Our attention spans continue to erode. Studies have demonstrated that the majority of people prefer receiving an electric shock to sitting alone with their thoughts for roughly 10 minutes. We’re so addicted to our electronic devices that we prefer painful electronic stimuli over none at all. That’s verging on insanity. And that was prior to 2020. In a post-covid world, it’s not any better.

As we enter the new year, I’m calling you to take deliberate action to dwell on God’s Word in a world of digital distraction. We have more access to God’s Word than any time in world history. Even so, it can be hard to focus on anything for 10 minutes amid the texts, Facebook notifications, Snapchats, and [insert latest social media]. I’m not calling for a crusade against social media. I’m simply calling King’s Cross to take simple, deliberate measures to know the Scriptures in the next year. Don’t let all the other words that flow through your head drown out the importance of God’s Word in your life.

Knowing Jesus means knowing his Word. There is no substitute for the deliberate, disciplined reading of Scripture. One way to do this is to follow a Scripture reading plan. In roughly 15-20 minutes a day you can read through the entire Bible in a year. Or by reading 5-6 chapters in the Bible per week, you can make it through the New Testament. The reading plans below range from reading a chapter a day for 5 days through the New Testament to reading 3 chapters everyday through the whole Bible. If you’re not really a reader, there are many reading plans that include audio Bibles. 

Here are some plans to get you started:

Read the entire Bible book by book — You can read through the entire Bible, book by book, in four different readings each day from different places. You can follow along on the YouVersion Bible app or modify this plan to read through the Bible in 2 years by reading 2 chapters each day instead of 4 chapters.

Read the entire Bible chronologically — You can read through the Bible in the events as they happened. You can follow along on the YouVersion Bible app. When reading through the Bible chronologically, I find it helpful to use a Bible Timeline to help keep the storyline in order.

Read the Major Storyline of the Bible — This plan takes you through select passages of the Bible to give you the overall story of the Bible. It does not cover the entire Bible but comes out to about 260 actual days of reading. You will read 1-2 chapters per day for 5 days with 2 days for rest or make up days. It is also on the YouVersion Bible app.

Read the New Testament in a Year — This takes you through the entire New Testament in 5 days a week for 5 minutes a day reading one chapter each day. Also on YouVersion Bible app.

These are just a few of many options. Another general resource comes from the BibleProject. They have great Book Overview videos that are tremendously helpful in making sense of individual books of the Bible. 

What if rather than checking your Facebook feed, you reflected on a verse you’re trying to memorize that week or spend a few minutes praying for someone?  Rather than being filled with Facebook envy, you could be filled with rich thoughts about God’s character and spiritual power to fight temptation. Make it a goal to spend 5 minutes in prayer each day. Don’t try to spend an hour in prayer right away. Prayer, like exercise, takes time to build up strength. Once you get some consistency in 5-10 minutes of prayer each day, then spend a bit more time. 

Next to prayer, build into your daily routine memorizing Scripture. The Psalm writer says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you…I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways…I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (119:12, 15-16). The Fighter Verses is one tool for curbing our electronic addictions to our advantage. You’ll be encouraged and challenged to memorize 1-2 verses per week that will help you fight the good fight of our faith. Fighter Verses also has an app as well as printable bookmarks that can be found on Fighter Verses website.

Whatever Bible reading, prayer, Scripture memory plan you use, having a plan is better than no plan. Even if you start for a while and get behind, just slow down a bit. The purpose of any of these plans is to be a guide or structure. The point is not to check boxes but to know God through His Word and prayer so that we can love and obey Him more. So, if you miss a day, just move on to the next day. Remember, as a Christian, you are justified by what God has done in Christ, not by how many consistent days you spend in the Word, or by how many days you miss. But don’t let that keep you from God’s Word. Think of these Word and prayer habits as a means to know God in a deeper, more substantial way.

Let’s join together and seek the Lord with deliberate action this coming year. These are some tools to stay on track, but we need one another, and we need the Spirit of God to make our efforts fruitful for God’s glory.