Enter: Reading God's Story: A Chronological Daily Bible
Honestly, this gem has been on our bookshelf since last year because my husband used it for his daily reading, so I feel like I'm late to the party. Again.
The bible is comprised of 66 individual books that fit together and tell one big long cohesive story. This is very cool. What's not very cool is that most days I can't even remember what I ate the day before, so when I am staggering to my couch at 5:00am trying to remember the name of my third born I need some help making sense of this epic story.
George H. Guthrie breaks up the bible reading into three "acts", and "scenes" within each act. (Thank you, Mr. Guthrie. You are a genius.) There are short notes at the beginning of new acts and scenes to help set the stage, if you will. This is immensely helpful, especially on those days my body can't absorb the caffeine fast enough and I need a big "YOU ARE HERE" arrow to help me figure out where I was and where I'm going in this huge story.
I also love that Guthrie has kept his words short and to the point, leaving most of the reading to just the bible, with a little help to keep me on track. Right now I prefer this approach over using a devotional that has a small amount of bible verse and a lot of extra commentary. Don't get me wrong, there's a place in my heart (and bookshelf) for good devotionals, but right now I want to read as much of the actual bible as possible so this is a good ratio for me right now.
In addition to the acts and scenes, this bible is also broken into 52 weeks of 6 bible readings (about 20 minutes each) and 1 weekly summary and prayer meditation for day 7 of each week. What does this mean? It means the actual reading plan is really for 6 days a week, which makes it easier to catch up if you should fall behind. Like I did this week (ahem). The weeks and days are numbered, but not dated, so if starting in January is just too prosaic for you, you can start Week 1 anytime of the year. Also, it's a small thing, but I like details so I think it's worth mentioning that at the end of each daily reading is a check-box to help keep track of your reading progress. Simple and helpful - two things I love.
How about you? Do you have a plan in place for bible engagement this year? I'd love to hear about it!