Summertime is especially hard when it comes to consistency in Bible reading. Kids are out of school. Vacations are taken. Churches typically don’t have any “structured” Bible studies. Small groups frequently take a break. So…what options are there for a Bible study that fits into a summer schedule and can be completed in eight weeks?
Main Topic: 5 Simple Ideas for Summer Bible Reading
There are certainly lots and lots of options when it comes to summer Bible reading. Today’s episode takes a look at five ideas – at various levels of consistency and time commitments. All of these are designed for to be done over a period of eight weeks.
Idea #1: Hang Out with One Short Book
Since I wrote an entire book about this concept, you might guess I’m a huge fan of this idea. It is also a perfect plan for summertime. Most books of the Bible can be read – in their entirety – in less than 30 minutes. In case you don’t have a chance to listen to the episode, here’s the ulta-nutshell version:
- Choose a short book (some possibilities: Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, II Timothy, James, I Peter, or I John).
- Weeks 1-4 – Read the whole book every day. Same translation. Out loud. Once a week, read in a different translation. (Here are my 4 favorites.)
- After two weeks, write a one-paragraph summary. Review it at the end of weeks three and four.
- Week 5 – Write a 2-4 sentence summary of each chapter. One chapter every other day. Read the whole book on the days in between.
- Weeks 6-7 – Break the book into 10-14 “day-sized” chunks. Slowly read and pray through these, asking God for insight and application. Jot down what you see.
- Week 8 – Read the whole book every day.
Idea #2: Survey Several Short Books
This is somewhat similar to the first one, except you’re simply getting a high-level overview of several books. Basically, choose eight short books. Read one, every day for a week. Jot a one-paragraph summary. Do the second book during Week 2. Eight books…eight weeks.
By the way – This is a fantastic one to do with a few friends. Grab coffee or lunch once a week and discuss the big themes – and the details that stood out – as you’ve each read the same book each day for a week.
Idea #3: Survey the “Minor Prophets”
The last 12 books of the Old Testament are largely ignored. (Except Jonah. But most of us ignore the last 25% of his story.) These guys have a lot to say. And nine of the 12 are really short. Take eight of the nine (or lengthen this to nine weeks) and read one each week, just like in Idea #2.
NOTE: In the episode I mention how helpful it is to get a bit of context when reading the prophets. When was this written? What was going on the in the world? What was happening with Israel? If you have a study Bible, most likely you’ll find a summary at the beginning of the book. If you don’t, you can find a summary atBibleHub.com.
Where to find it on the site isn’t super-intuitive (ugh), so here’s the shortcut for you.
- Step 1: Copy/Paste this URL: http://biblehub.com/summary/hosea/1.htm
- Step 2: You can use the arrows on the page to scroll through each book (“1″ in the picture below), use the drop-down menu to select the book you want (“2″ in the picture below), or you can “double-click” the name of the book in the URL (“3″ in the picture below) and replace it with whatever book you want. Don’t change anything else.
Idea #4: Soaking in the Psalms
Eight weeks. 150 Psalms. Reading 3-4 each day will leave some “wiggle room” for the days when you come across a long one (Can you say “Psalm 119?”) or simply find one you want to hang out in for the day.
Remember that the Psalms are mostly poetry and song lyrics. I often say “The Psalms are meant to be experienced and prayed more than studied and analyzed.” (Feel free to tweet that.)
Idea #5: The “Modified” New Disciple Challenge
In the last tip from 10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believe It’s True Is Not Enough) I lay out a 4-Month New Disciple Challenge. Even cutting the timeframe in half is very enjoyable and super beneficial. Here are the nuts-n-bolts:
- Focus on Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts (first five books of the New Testament)
- Read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each for a week.
- In between each one, read Acts for a week.
In case you’re wondering, to read through each of these five books once in a week is about 15-20 minutes a day. Matthew and Acts might be five minutes more.
I encourage you to take one of these five ideas and run with it. And have a wonderful summer!
Question: What are YOU going to do this summer? One of these? Something else? I’d love it if you’d let me know in the comments below! (Hey…that rhymes. Nice.)
Resource of the Week
www.BibleHub.com – This site is incredibly robust. Almost too robust! It’s one of the sites that made the cut in my ebook My Top 10 Online Bible Study Tools (and they’re all FREE!). If you don’t have it already, you can get a copy for free. Other than the Bible Book Summaries I mentioned in Idea 3, here are the two features of BibleHub I like the most.
- Interlinear Bible – This is the world’s easiest word study tool. The Greek (or Hebrew) is right above the English. Look up the passage, click the word, and the Word Study window opens up with everything you’d like to know about that word or phrase. Lovely!
- Complete Bible Timeline – Every chapter in the Bible, placed in chronological order. All in a table with the date in the far-left column. Check it out. Very cool.
Can I answer your question on a future episode?
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- Call the dedicated Podcast Voicemail Line: (425) 522-3487
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Links (People, Info, and Resources) from Episode 25:
- Episode 009 – The One Trick that Will Increase Your Retention 650% (Without Taking More Time) – Podcast episode devoted to the practice and benefits of reading out loud.
- 10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believe It’s True Is Not Enough) – There’s a whole chapter in there about the practice and benefits of reading out loud.
- Falling in Love with God’s Word – This first book I wrote is a deep dive in how to study a whole book of the Bible. If you’re doing Idea #1 from this episode, this will walk you through a day-by-day plan. (The Appendix of this book applies the process to the book of Philippians, but it can easily be adapted to any Bible book you choose.)
- Bible Book Summaries on BibleHub.com
- Direct link to this podcast on iTunes.
- A Step-by-Step Guide to Subscribing to Any Podcast on Any Device (with screen shots)
- Podcast Art – Pipe & Tabor (Vancouver, WA)
- Intro/Outro Music – Dan Carollo of CeltoGrass Music
- If you enjoyed this episode, would you do me a favor and share the love? (pre-written tweets and Facebook posts)
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“Struggle with LIKING the Bible? Want to like it more? Check out @KeithFerrin’s podcast http://wp.me/P2rPgQ-FS #LikeTheBible”