New Spiritual Rhythms for the New Year


Here are a few thoughts and ideas for Bible reading, family devotions, memory verses for children, and recommended study Bibles. 

Can you recommend any Bible reading plans?

A few years ago, I created a five-day/week Bible reading plan that didn’t blitz through the OT at a breakneck pace and centered upon reading the gospels (Matthew-John) multiple times.  You can download here “The Gospel-Centered, Wisdom Inspired Bible Reading Plan”. 

Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition has seven different bible reading plans

Did you know that less than 10 minutes/day, gets you reading through the entire Bible in a year?

Can you recommend family devotions that are easy to organize and implement with my children?

I suspect many families are overwhelmed at beginning “family devotions” because of the difficulty of adding “one more thing” to an already chaotic schedule.  Rest assured, it doesn’t need to be difficult. 

Take these plans which are easy to follow.

Read one chapter per day, pray together, and send the kids off to bed.  You’ll be amazed at the spiritual conversations that begin to develop around this time. 

These two-week plans give you easy-to-follow readings (one chapter per day) through the Life of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Becoming a Christian, Great Prayers of the Bible, and the Life of Moses (just to name a few of the options).

What about bible verses to memorize with children?

Try these 10 verses.  Download, print, and off you go! 

Is there a study Bible you recommend?

The English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible is a great tool with study notes written by the leading evangelical scholars of our day (here or here).  The ESV is a great translation being adopted by an increasingly large number of evangelical churches.  (Warning: the ESV Study Bible is quite large in hardcover. This is a bible for your desk, not your purse or “man bag”.)

The beginning of the new year is an excellent time to start new spiritual rhythms which are life-giving to our busy lives and help us be intentional about establishing a growing, vibrant relationship with the Father.

As D.A. Carson writes:

People do not drift toward holiness.

Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. (For the Love of God)

Rhythms must be established.  We naturally drift towards complacency.  We naturally drift towards forgetfulness of God.  Spiritual growth is not something we stumble upon or slide easily into.  Spiritual growth requires “grace-driven effort”, recognizing that while our spiritual disciplines do not save us, they do help us grow in the faith

“Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.” (Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus' Essential Teachings on Discipleship)

Grace is absolutely opposed to earning our salvation.  Yet grace-fueled effort is absolutely necessary to grow up to the fullness in Christ (Col. 2:9-10).

Jason Carter