As January approaches each year, pastor Lawrence Phipps encourages his congregation at First Baptist Church Gulf Shores to engage daily in God’s word.
Reading through the Bible is a habit Phipps began more than 20 years ago.
“It changed my life. It changed my ministry. It changed my preaching,” Phipps said. “No matter how many times you’ve read the Bible through, the next time you start you’re going to be in a different place in your life, and God’s word is going to say something different to you.”
A few years ago, Phipps wrote a book, “More Abundant Life: 100 Days to Start or Restart Your Christian Walk,” distributed through It’s Life Ministry. Now in its 5th edition, the book aims to help believers grow as disciples with a focus on priority time with God.
Each day’s reading includes Scripture readings and a journaling prompt. There are also tear-out cards with verses to memorize and tips for learning to navigate the Bible.
Phipps said his personal goal is to be an “evergreen Christian,” one that is continually bearing fruit because he’s in the Word, and he hopes the book helps others do the same.
“More Abundant Life” has been translated into Spanish and is used by churches in several South American and Latin American countries. There is also a Russian translation, which is used by church planters in Ukraine.
Phipps said he looks forward to Jan. 1 each year because he knows it’s the start of one more trip through the Word.
“I know God’s going to show me things I’ve never seen before,” he said. “That’s how rich the Holy Spirit is when you’re willing to commit to time with Him.”
For those who want to begin a daily Bible reading habit or perhaps read the Bible through in 2023, many resources are available to help.
There are chronological reading plans that take readers through the story of the Bible in the historical order of events. For instance, using a chronological plan, you will read the psalms David wrote in context of what was happening in his life, and chapters from Chronicles and Kings are paired because each provides a different perspective on Israel’s history. (Click here to see several reading plans from Lifeway.)
A variety of other plans break Scripture into manageable chunks for daily reading. Plans for 5, 10 or 15 minutes each day are available, as are plans for daily readings or for reading just five days each week. Several New Testament-only plans are available too.
The Bible app is a good place to start if an app-based plan suits your schedule. Devotional-based Bibles from Lifeway include the CSB Every Day with Jesus Daily Bible, the NLT One Year Bible, the ESV Every Day Bible and the CSB Reading the Bible in 90 Days plan. (Click here to see options from Lifeway.)
There’s even a website, biblereadingplangenerator.com, that allows you to create a reading plan based on your personal preferences.
For more information about Phipps’ “More Abundant Life” book and itslifeministry.com, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.