By John Carroll, pastor of Calvary Apostolic Church in Salina, KS.
The following is a plan of Bible reading and study that I have developed for my own personal use.
I hope it is a blessing to you, should you choose to implement it in your own life.
I begin my study each day by reading a chapter of Proverbs. If you start at the beginning of the month and read a chapter each day, you will read through the book every month. On the few months that have 30 days, and in February, you will need to read a little extra to keep on track and read through it each month.
I always read the chapter of Proverbs first, because Proverbs contains the distilled spirit of wisdom, and is written and structured in a way that reflects the way God thinks—cause and effect, black and white.
Reading the book of Proverbs does for your mind what running a comb through tangled hair does; it gets the “rats” out and prepares you to receive illumination from the Word.
I found that the Scripture seemed to speak more clearly to me when I started beginning each day’s study with Proverbs. It seems to focus the mind to receive from the Word.
Next, I read at least one chapter from the Gospels. I am constantly reading through the Gospels. I believe I need to read about the words and deeds of Jesus every day to keep my mind and focus Christ-centered. It is difficult to preach too much from the Gospels, and there is inexhaustible preaching material there.
The third place I read from every day is the book of Acts. The book of Acts contains not only much doctrinal material but a tremendous amount of faith building Scripture. Signs and wonders and healings abound. Apostolic structure and Apostolic authority permeate the chapters of the book. It is critical to keep these things fresh in your mind and prominent in your thinking if you want to have a true Apostolic ministry. Read the book of Acts continually and it will pay dividends in your ministry. Reading the book of Acts lends itself to preaching the book of Acts; preaching the book of Acts lends itself to Apostolic results.
In addition to Proverbs, the Gospels, and Acts, I read from the epistles (I include Revelation in this segment) every day. The epistles contain solid instruction regarding church government, sanctification, doctrine, eschatology, and ministry. We need this.
The epistles also stretch you intellectually, especially the writings of Paul. John’s epistles are a personal favorite of mine because of his love for exalting the deity of Jesus Christ. You need a steady diet of the Epistles.
Thus far, most of the reading plan has consisted of the New Testament, but I don’t neglect the Old.
The Old Testament can be divided into History, Law, Prophecy, and Wisdom Literature.
I try to always be reading through several books in the Old Testament at any given time to encompass a wide scope of these categories.
For example, currently I am reading through Genesis, I Samuel, Isaiah, and the Psalms.
There are advantages and benefits to reading from a broad range of Scriptural settings at a given time. You tend to preach from what you read, and with this type of reading plan, there is a broad range of subject matter in the forefront of your thinking that God can speak through and that you can draw from. This keeps you from becoming stymied and repetitious in your preaching material.
If you don’t have some kind of structured plan for your reading and study, your tendency will be to read over and over again those books and passages that are your “favorites.” If you fall into this pattern, you will have a hard time generating fresh and versatile material for sermons and Bible Studies.
Finally, while I have written this with a view toward preaching material, it is important that Bible reading and study not become something you do just looking for “thoughts” and sermon material.
Always read and study the Bible with the motive of feeding your soul; and out of that will come substance that will feed and bless God’s people.
I certainly don’t believe this is the “only” way to study the Scriptures, or even the best way. It is just something that has been a blessing to me, and will hopefully provide some inspiration and guidance for others who want to profitably study the greatest Book ever written.
2 Tim 2:15
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.