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Read the Bible in 2021 (or listen to it)!

I realise I may be a bit late with suggestions for New Year's resolutions, but here goes anyway...

There are different ways of reading the Bible. There is value in taking small section, even a single verse, and really chewing it over in your heart and mind, to get the most you can out of all the details. There is also value to reading long passages and even entire books of the Bible in one go, to grow in familiarity with the big themes and main story.

For example, it's been calculated that if you read for 12 minutes every day, you can read through the whole Bible in a year. Why not give it a go in 2021?

You can simply start in Genesis and read through to Revelation, or you can use something like the , giving you five readings a week, so you don't feel guilty and give up after missing a day!

Perhaps take a Bible into the toilet, rather than your smartphone?

But of course, you can read the Bible on your smartphone!

You can download the entire Bible in a particular translation, like the NIV.

Bible reading apps such as YouVersion give you a choice of translations and allow you to set your own Bible-reading programme for the year, and make bookmarks, highlights, notes.

Other apps are available for more in-depth and reflective study on smaller passages. I know several people in our churches use Our Daily Bread and UCB Word for the Day.

Don't like reading? Listen! The Bible wasn't originally designed to be read silently by individuals (though it's OK to do this!) The Bible was written to be read aloud and listened to. So everything I've said above about reading the Bible applies equally to listening to it. It's not cheating to listen to the Bible instead of reading it; it's no less "holy". Indeed, one advantage of listening to the Bible is that you can do it at times when reading might not be appropriate, or even safe! You can listen to the Bible whilst driving, or whilst cooking dinner.

There are many audio Bibles available for downloading or streaming via a computer or smartphone (or on CD for those of us more comfortable with 1990s technology.) You can listen to David Suchet (ITV's Poirot) read the NIV, or James Earl Jones read the King James Version (scary!)

Don't feel guilty!

Whatever you do, do something to feed on God's Word in 2021. Don't worry if you don't manage to stick with the plan, as long as you go back to God's Word. God's Word is spiritual food. If, for some reason, you miss a meal, what do you do? You try to eat as soon as you can, and you make sure you eat again. You don't feel so guilty about missing a meal that you decide to give up eating entirely.

Read (or listen to) a little bit of the Bible tomorrow. Then read (or listen to) another little bit the next time you can. You'll be amazed at what God can do!

Happy New Year!

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