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Peter DeHaan News

Do You Plan to Read the Bible?

Follow a Strategy to Regularly Study Scripture

Most years I read the entire Bible in a year. It takes 12 to 15 minutes a day. If you’re up to the challenge, I encourage you to join me as I read the Bible next year. Here’s the Bible reading schedule that I like to follow.

Though a few minutes a day isn’t a huge time commitment, it is a habit that takes a while to develop. Though many people start strong with their desire to study Scripture every day, after a few weeks it looms as a huge commitment, which requires a lot of self-discipline. The temptation is to quit, just as most people do with their New Year’s resolutions.

Monthly Bible Reading Plans

For that reason, if you’re new to the idea of reading the Bible every day, I recommend taking smaller bites to begin with. Instead of committing to reading the entire Bible in one year—blocking out 12 to 15 minutes a day, every day—how about committing to reading one book of the Bible in a month, 3 to 4 minutes a day?

An ideal place to start is with Luke and then Acts. Read Luke one month and Acts, the next. It’s a great duo of books to get you started. Luke teaches us about Jesus, and his story continues in Acts, letting us know about the early church.

Another consideration is John. John is a book that many people adore. He writes with a poetic flare. So, reading John requires a slower, more thoughtful pace.

You can find other books to consider as you read the Bible each month. If you follow this list for twelve months, by the end of the year you will have read many of the Bible’s essential passages. From there you can move into one of the following more comprehensive plans for the following year.

New Testament Reading Schedule

Though all the Bible is useful for us and can help us on our faith journey, the New Testament contains more relevant, readily applicable passages. Reading the New Testament in one year is an ideal way to help you develop the habit of regular Bible reading. The commitment is 3 to 4 minutes a day, Monday through Friday. That’s right, you can take the weekend off when you focus on the New Testament as you read the Bible in one year.

Old Testament Reading Schedule

The following year, read the Old Testament in one year. This can build on the habit you formed by reading the New Testament in one year. This requires 10 to 12 minutes a day for an average reader. The Old Testament helps us better understand the New Testament, adding insights and clarity that we would have otherwise missed.

Read the Entire Bible in One Year

At this point, you will have developed a habit of regular Bible reading. Congratulations! You’ve read the New Testament and the Old Testament, covering the entire Bible, albeit in two years, not one. Now you can grow your habit of studying Scripture by reading the entire Bible in one year. As I mentioned, it only takes 12 to 15 minutes a day.

Develop a habit of regular Bible reading. Click To Tweet

Plan to Read the Bible

It doesn’t matter which of these Bible reading schedules you follow. Any plan is better than no plan. The point is to pick a plan to read the Bible and move forward.

You, too, can set a goal to read the Bible next year.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

Read the Bible in 2022

Daily Scripture Reading Guides Available Now from ABibleADay

Every year I intentionally explore the Bible, reading a few chapters each day. Some years I focus on the New Testament and other years, the Old Testament, but usually I read the entire Bible in a year.

Will you join me this year?

To guide us, the 2022 Bible reading guides are now available. Get your 2022 Bible reading plan today.

Chronological Bible Reading Guide

New last year was a chronological Bible reading plan. This year it’s tweaked and improved, based on feedback from the inaugural offering.

Though a comprehensive chronological reading of the Bible requires a lot of details that won’t fit on a concise handout, it is possible to make an approximate chronological reading guide by putting the books of the Bible in order.

Following this Bible reading plan only takes 12 to 15 minutes a day. And each Tuesday throughout 2022, I’ll blog about a passage from that day’s reading.

Download your own chronological 2021 Bible reading guide.

Other Reading Options

If reading the entire Bible in a year seems too big of a task, scale back to a more manageable goal. I have a series of other Bible reading plans to guide you. Pick the one that works for you:

Form a habit to read the Bible. Download your 2022 Bible reading plan today and be ready to start reading this January.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

Peter DeHaan Interviewed at Victorious Christian Conference

Emily Louis talks with author Peter DeHaan to discuss God, faith, and church

Check out this video of author Peter DeHaan being interviewed by Emily Louis at the Victorious Christian Conference . They discussed the themes of faith, God, and church.

The pair covered a wide array of topics. This included the importance of questioning status quo Christianity, the Holy Spirit, keeping our spiritual practices fresh, asking hard faith questions, what we do at church and why, spiritual formation, the importance of engaging in Christian community, gathering in Jesus’s name, studying and reading the Bible, and more.

This interview was broadcast live on Dec 13, 2020.

Here is the recording.

Also mentioned was Peter’s book Women of the Bible and his Bible reading tip sheet. See below for more info.

Get your copy of Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

We Need a Balanced Bible Perspective

How We Read Scripture Influences Our View of God and Our Relationship with Him

In a prior post I said that not all Scripture is the same. I placed the books of the Bible into eight groups. This formed a hierarchy of importance, starting with the Gospels. Though this is a most helpful guide in studying God’s Word, a more basic view is considering how to regard the Old and New Testaments. We do this to provide a balanced bible perspective of Scripture.

Focus on the New Testament

Some people place their sole attention on the New Testament of the Bible, while ignoring the Old. They correctly state that Jesus came to fulfill the laws and writings of the prophets (Matthew 5:17). They reason, therefore, that Jesus’s fulfillment renders Old Testament Scripture as irrelevant.

Because of this, they only read and study the 26 books of the New Testament, while snubbing their nose at the Old Testament’s 39. In doing so they miss out on so much that could deepen their understanding of God and their relationship to him.

It’s like watching a sequel to a movie, while ignoring the first one. Though the sequel might be good as a standalone production, we can appreciate it so much more if we watch the first movie.

Esteeming the Old Testament

The opposite view of dismissing Old Testament Scripture is to treat it as equal to the New Testament text, sometimes even errantly elevating the Old over the New. For their justification, these people cite Paul’s letter to Timothy that affirms the usefulness of all Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). This, of course, ignores the fact that the New Testament didn’t exist when Paul wrote to Timothy. This means that Paul’s use of all Scripture refers to the Old Testament.

The error of treating both sections of the Bible as equal results in people forming a theology that’s colored with an Old Testament perspective—approaching God from a legalistic, rule-following outlook. In doing so they diminish Jesus’s way of salvation by grace through faith.

Concentrate on the New Testament text and let the Old Testament inform and illuminate what we read. Click To Tweet

A Balanced Bible Perspective

These are both extreme viewpoints.

Just as we shouldn’t ignore the Old Testament and its rich, faith-forming writing, we also shouldn’t put it on an equal standing with the New Testament. The solution is to concentrate on the New Testament text and let the Old Testament inform and illuminate what we read.

The result is a balanced perspective of Scripture.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Celebrate the Gospel of John

Slow Down to Appreciate the Poetic Rhythm and Evocative Style of the Apostle John

I once quipped that the book of John was my fourth favorite biography of Jesus in the Bible. Another time I wrote about the Ten Most Difficult Books in the Bible. To the dismay of many, I included the Gospel of John in my list.

Given this, it may seem surprising that I’ve written a devotional Bible study about the book of John, called Living Water.

I embarked upon this effort because readers requested it, and the Holy Spirit confirmed that I was to do so. As I studied the Gospel of John more thoroughly so that I could write about it, God grew my appreciation for the apostle’s words.

I learned quite quickly that the key to embrace his evocative writing and poetic rhythm, was to slow down. Slowing down is sometimes hard for me.

Though I can read Matthew, Mark, and Luke at a normal pace and glean much from those words, that reading speed left me frustrated with John. What I needed to do to better appreciate his words was to read slower, to mull over one phrase before moving on to the next.

Though I always strive to meditate on Scripture as I study it, embracing John required that I be more intentional.

Once I slowed down, however, the profound beauty of John’s words became immediately apparent to me. Even though I’ve read John’s good news at least twenty times in my life, this last reading stands out as the best by far.

This is all because I took my time to really contemplate each word, each phrase, and each sentence to better comprehend its meaning.

When I did this, God’s Holy Spirit guided me in drafting my book, Living Water, about the Gospel of John. I’m most pleased with the results. It’s one of the most personally rewarding books I’ve written. I’m proud of those words, which I hope is a God-honoring pride.

Once I slowed down the profound beauty of John’s words became immediately apparent to me. Click To Tweet

Given what I’ve learned—that I needed to slow down to appreciate John’s writing style and profound content—it’s wise to go back and do the same thing with the other nine on my list of challenging books in the Bible. Indeed, I’ve already done this with Isaiah and am in the process of doing so with Revelation.

This is a good reminder of what Paul wrote to Timothy when he said that all Scripture comes from God and is useful to teach and train us (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Yes, every book of the Bible is beneficial, if we will but take the time to appreciate it.

Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Reviews of Books & Movies

Book Review: The Psalms in the Light of the Lord’s Prayer

By Patricia M Robertson, D.Min

Reviewed by Peter DeHaan

Take a fresh look at the Psalms.

Some people love the Psalms and other struggle through them. Regardless of which camp you’re in, this book will provide added clarity. In The Psalms in the Light of the Lord’s Prayer, Patricia M Robertson, D.Min, applies the suggestion of Father Thomas Murphy that each Psalm aligns with one of the seven phrases in the Lord’s Prayer.

This provides a pleasing structure and rhythm to the Psalms that isn’t available by reading them straight through from chapter 1 to 150.

Starting with the opening phrase, “Our Father in heaven,” Robertson teaches about this line and connects it to 12 specific Psalms that address the confidence and trust we have in God. She repeats this process for each of the remaining six phrases in the Lord’s Prayer to produce a delightful, instructive grouping of each Psalm into an organized structure that provides clarity.

These subsequent chapters are:

  • Hallowed be thy Name: Psalms of Praise (19 Psalms) and Thanksgiving (15 Psalms)
  • Thy Kingdom Come: Royal Psalms (23 Psalms)
  • Thy Will Be Done: Wisdom Psalms (22 Psalms)
  • Give Us this Day our Daily Bread: Psalms of Supplication (10 Psalms)
  • Forgive Us our Trespasses: Penitential Psalms (10 Psalms)
  • Lead Us not into Temptation and Deliver Us from Evil: Psalms of Deliverance (39 Psalms)

Robertson ends each grouping with some thought-provoking questions for further reflection.

She concludes with some additional thoughts on the doxology to the Lord’s Prayer: “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Though she doesn’t connect this phrase to any of the 150 Psalms, be sure not to skip this part of her teaching.

The overall result is an accessible Bible study that readers can use during the seven weeks of Lent, for seven days, or even for seven months to explore the Psalms in new ways and gain fresh insights through them.

[The Psalms in Light of the Lord’s Prayer: Bible Study, by Patricia M Robertson, D.Min. February 10, 2021, 63 pages; ISBN: 9781393252573]

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

A Lifetime of Reading the Bible

Plan to Read Scripture to Feed Your Soul and Inform Your Life

I’ve read the Bible most of my life. It’s been a huge part of my faith journey. To be clear, this started out with my parents reading to me: one Bible story each night before I went to bed. This helped me know God’s Word at an early age and prepared me to read it on my own.

To be sure, during my days in elementary school, I read Scripture infrequently. This was because my preteen mind found the language of the King James Bible largely inaccessible and mostly confusing. What little Bible reading I did in my preteen years was more drudgery than anything else. I learned little from it.

Read the New Testament

By the time I hit middle school, however, more accessible translations became available, at least for the New Testament. Mirroring my experience as a preschooler, I set a goal to read the Bible each night before I went to bed. Eventually I worked my way through the New Testament. It took me a couple years because some nights I was too tired to read and other nights I forgot. But eventually I finished.

In case you’re interested, reading a chapter each weekday will get you through the New Testament in a year. It only takes two or three minutes to read one chapter. Surely this is a doable task.

Read the Entire Bible

By the time I reached high school, the Old and New Testaments were available to me in more language-friendly versions. The summer of my fifteenth year, I set the goal to read the entire Bible before school resumed. This was before I got my driver’s license. I was stuck home all day, scrambling to find something worthwhile to consume my time.

Reading an hour most every day, I reached the end of Revelation in mid-August, a couple weeks before it was time to go back to school. Mission accomplished.

I later learned that the average adult reader can read the entire Bible in about 80 hours. I proved that claim to be correct.

Making Time to Read the Bible

If you think an hour a day is unreasonable for anyone except a bored teenager on a mission, let me ask three questions.

  1. How much time do you spend each day watching television?
  2. How much time do you spend each day gaming?
  3. How much time do you spend each day on social media? I suspect one or more of these areas consumes more than an hour of your time each day. Perhaps several.

The solution is simple. Cut back on entertainment and scale up to read the Bible. That doesn’t mean eliminate all television, gaming, and social media. It’s just a nudge to scale back and not let it consume so much time.

In my first reading of the whole Bible, I covered many familiar passages, albeit in more detail than my children’s Bible story book provided. I also discovered the less kid-appropriate passages too.

I assumed reading the entire Bible was a once-and-done effort. Even so, when I finished, I reverted to my nighttime Bible reading effort, albeit at a much slower pace: one chapter a day.

Though I met with better success then when I was in middle school, I still struggled. I found it hard to concentrate on the words in front of me as I fought off sleep. For some reason I could read fiction at bedtime but not the Bible.

Deciding When to Read the Bible

As an adult and a morning person, I switched my Bible reading to the start of each day. This fit me better—much better. I was more consistent in this practice and less fatigued by it. I learned more and better connected with God.

In my mid-twenties I felt the call from God to again read the entire Bible. This time my goal was to do it in a year. It took me twelve to fifteen minutes every day, but I did finish. Relieved to have met my goal, I was also delighted to no longer need to cover so much Scripture every day. I needed a break. Or so I thought.

It wasn’t long, however, before I felt God’s nudge to resume intentional Bible reading each day. That year I read through the New Testament. The following year I read through the Old Testament (ten to twelve minutes a day). The third year I again read the Old and New Testaments.

Pick a Version

Though I grew up hearing the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, I never used it when reading through Scripture. Today I mostly read from and study the New International Version (NIV).

Yet in my annual explorations of the Bible, I’ve used other versions or translations and benefited greatly. Each one gave me a fresh perspective on the text.

In addition to the NIV, I’ve also used the New Living Translation (NLV), The Message, Amplified Bible, and The Living Bible (which I wore out as a teenager). I think there have been a few others that I can’t recall.

The point is, don’t feel you must restrict yourself to one version. Mix it up. Variety is good.

Adjust as Needed

Since that time, I’ve had a Bible reading plan every year—except for a season when I didn’t. Here’s what happened: After a couple decades of regular, daily Bible reading, I became stuck. I would read the words but failed to comprehend them.

I persisted Bible reading as a discipline, assuming I would one day emerge from my rut of routine to reclaim the joy of reading the Bible each day. When it didn’t happen, I switched to reading other inspirational books for a time until I felt I could successfully resume my exploration of Scripture.

Rejuvenated, I jumped back in and persisted for a decade or so. But again, the day-to-day Bible-reading discipline eventually threatened to push me back into a rut. Refusing to allow that to happen, I decided to take one day off each week.

Instead of reading seven days a week, I now read six. In essence, I took a Sabbath rest from reading the Bible. Lest you think this day off happens on Sunday, Saturday works as a better day for me to pause my study of Scripture.

Taking a break one day each week prepares me to better embrace God’s word, study it, and learn from it on the other six.

I can hear someone complaining already: just as you feed your body each day, you must feed your soul each day too. Since you would never skip a meal, you can’t skip the Bible either. Hold on. On most weeks I do take a daily break from food. I do a 24-hour fast. (In case you’re interested, my fast currently falls on Fridays.)

Reading my Bible each day, Sunday through Friday provides a great rhythm for me. I take a break on Saturday, which prepares me to dive back in the next week. The timing is ideal for me. I’ve now done it for years.

What does vary from year to year, however, is how much I read each day. Though usually I’m on a plan to read the entire Bible in the year, other times I slow my pace to cover the New Testament or even to focus intently on just a few books of the Bible.

May God speak to you and bless you as you study Scripture. Click To Tweet

Form a Habit of Reading the Bible

Doing this, I’ve read the New Testament about thirty times, the Old Testament twice, and the entire Bible more than ten times. It’s taken me a lifetime to reach these numbers. I plan to continue this habit for the rest of my life.

But don’t look at my lifetime of Bible reading and let it overwhelm you. Instead start small.

Read the Bible one day. Then read it a second day. Aim for a third. Keep the streak going. Form a habit. Soon daily Bible reading will become a way of life that you can’t do without.

Read through the Bible with me this year. Download the chronological Bible reading plan I will follow. (In case you’re wondering, to make this work for my schedule, I need to do seven days of reading every six, so that I can take Saturday off.)

If reading the entire Bible looms as too big of a task, consider a New Testament plan, Old Testament plan, or monthly Bible reading plans.

Regardless of which option you choose, the goal is to have a plan to read the Bible this year. Then do it.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Reviews of Books & Movies

Book Review: Life Application Study Bible

The third edition of the Life Application Study Bible may just be the only Bible study tool you’ll ever need. With the popular NIV translation as its foundation, this Bible surrounds it with insightful charts, timelines, and sidebars.

It also includes a concise commentary, cross reference notes, and character profiles.

The Life Application Study Bible has a slew of other valuable resources too. The over two-hundred pages of backmatter content provides additional aids, such as a resource for Christian workers, a 365-day Bible reading plan, and several indexes for abbreviations, charts, maps, and personality profiles of biblical characters.

Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition

A most helpful resource in this Bible is the combined dictionary-concordance. From one place readers can find definitions of key biblical terms, along with a list of verses that contain those words. This is a most helpful way to dig deeper without consulting multiple, unwieldly references.

A compelling characteristic of the Bible reading plan is that it covers a “complete view of the Scripture . . . without being overwhelming.” It does this by skipping duplicate content. This streamlined approach provides an effective, manageable tour of the Bible in just one year.

Last, don’t overlook the fourteen full-color maps in the back. They go beyond the typical maps found in some other Bibles, providing additional details and fresh views that address various eras of the biblical narrative.

For example, you may have seen maps of Paul’s missionary journeys, but what about Philip’s, Mark and Barnabas’s, and Peter’s? Their travels are there too.

Whether you’re reading the Bible for the first time or want to see it with fresh eyes, Life Application Study Bible may just be the ideal resource for you.

[Legal stuff: I received this Bible for free as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, #BibleGatewayPartner.]

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Reviews of Books & Movies

Book Review: NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids

Good for Children of Ages

I’m quite familiar with the NIV (New International Version) Bible. The NIV is the version I use most for Bible reading, studying, and research. And it’s the version I usually quote in my books. But what about the NIrV?

Though I’ve heard about the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version), I knew very little about it and was excited to have the option to check it out.

Based on the NIV, the NIrV uses shorter sentences and replaces longer words with shorter words. It’s created for a third-grade reading level. This makes it even easier to read and understand then the popular NIV.

That makes the NIrV ideal for people new the Bible, people who struggle to understand the Bible, and people who use English as a second language. And it’s also ideal for younger readers.

To make the book kid friendly, NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids is packed with colored illustrations that aid in the learning experience. Tailored for “kids ages 4-8” it’s in a single column format, omits the distraction of chapter and verse notations as well as footnotes, and includes an informative double-sided poster.

Aside from the text, there is much to explore.

The NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids is a great resource for children of all ages. If you sometimes struggle to read the Bible, NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids might just be the right version for you—even if you’re not a kid.

The book’s small font may be uncomfortable for young readers. And it’s important to point out that this is a complete version of the Bible, which contains many passages not suitable for children. This is the only concern I have for an otherwise really great book.

If you know a kid or are a kid at heart, check out NIrV, The Illustrated Holy Bible for Kids

[Legal stuff: I received this Bible for free as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid, #BibleGatewayPartner.]

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

What’s the Focus of Your Bible Reading?

Study God’s Holy Scripture

I spent all of last year studying women in the Bible. As the year progressed, my initial list of thirty kept getting longer. By yearend, I had found over seventy-five, and I wrote blog posts for about half of them.

Although I don’t plan on blogging about the rest, I am working on a book on the subject, Women in the Bible. The first draft is almost done, and I’m about ready for some beta readers to review it. When the book is finished, I’ll post a notice here.

For this year, I’m reading the New Testament, starting with the writings of Dr. Luke.

Although we’re a week into the new year, it’s not too late to start a Bible Reading Plan, courtesy of ABibleADay.com:

As for me, I’m following the New Testament reading plan this year.

Get your copy of Women of the Bible, available in e-book, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.