The Most Important Habit for 2022
The most important habit we can cultivate in life is the habit of regularly reading God’s Word. In the Scriptures, we hear God’s voice, we come to know God’s heart, we learn God’s will, and by his Spirit we are shaped to be more like him. In all of this, God imparts life—his life—to us. That’s why the psalmist, in Psalm 119:25–32, leads us to ask God:
- to give us life according to his word,
- to teach us his statutes,
- to make us understand the way of his precepts,
- to strengthen us according to his word,
- and to graciously teach us his law.
Life and strength are found in God’s word. Learning God’s word is a gift from God, a gift of his grace. Understanding his word should be the desire of our hearts. Therefore, reading God’s word regularly is fundamental to the Christian life.
David Mathis, in his book Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines (that we’ll use in our upcoming Core Class), says it like this:
“At the end of the day, there is simply no replacement for finding a regular time and place, blocking out distractions, putting your nose in the text, and letting your mind and heart be led and captured and thrilled by God himself communicating to us in his objective written words.
If you feel uncomfortable in the Scriptures and inadequate in the art of Bible reading, the single most important thing you can do is make a regular habit of reading the Bible for yourself. There is no substitute for a few focused minutes each day in the text.”David Mathis, Habits of Grace, 45
In this season of New Year’s Resolutions, the most important one you can make is to read God’s word.
The best way that many of us have found to follow through on a resolution like that is to have a plan in place. For those who use digital devices for Bible reading, there are several plans on the popular Bible apps. For those, like me, who still prefer a hard copy of Scripture in your hand, below are several plans ready for you to print and place in your Bible, to help you be ready to regularly read God’s word in 2022.
- The Discipleship Journal Reading Plan – This is the plan that I used several years ago to read through the entirety of Scripture in one year for the first time, and I’m returning to this plan for 2022. It includes 25 readings per month, to give you five or six built-in off days each month to read something else or to stay caught up.
- 5 x 5 x 5 New Testament Reading Plan – Read through the New Testament in just 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week (and the plan includes “5 Ways to Dig Deeper.”) This one is a great starter plan for those who have never regularly read Scripture before, or for those who want smaller portions to give more time for prayer and journaling or other devotional reading.
- Robert Murray M’Cheyne Reading Plan – Go through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in either one year or two years with this plan. (I just finished the two year version of this plan and thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace!)
- The ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan – This list gives you four daily readings – Psalms and Wisdom literature, Pentateuch and History, Chronicles and Prophets, Gospels and Epistles.
Remember, the main thing is to read God’s word. If you get behind, there is no pressure to catch up (which is one benefit of the 5x5x5 plan above, which allows you to write in the dates!). Don’t focus as much on the check boxes on each plan, focus on hearing God’s voice through his word.
Make 2022 the year that you cultivate the habit of reading Scripture regularly.
Bert Watts has served since December 2016 as the Senior Pastor at Mountain Creek Baptist Church, where he has been on staff since 2012.