Breaking into January it is customary to begin new adventures, attempting to transform into an improved and renewed self. Many look to gym memberships, clean eating, and exciting endeavors.
While all these goals are worthwhile, there is a better way to give the new year an overhaul.
Starting from the inside and then working out will give a more lasting sense of happiness and fulfillment.
There is no better way to make your new year come alive than to weave Scripture throughout it, making your relationship with Jesus Christ intimate and real.
Here are 7 ways to make the Bible part of your new year.
We are told in the Word of God that the Bible will direct our path (Psalm 119:105), and that through it we have hope (Romans 15:4).
Hebrews 4:12 reads:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Knowing this should give you the drive and dedication you need to begin incorporating the Bible into your daily life. Although, we know this is not always easy with a crammed routine, busy family life, and work. Below are some fun ways to be consistent in the New Year’s resolution to put God first.
1. Use a Bible Reading Plan
Bible reading plans allow you to read a portion of the Scriptures each day to get through the whole book or a portion of the Bible in a designated amount of time.
There are many different plans based on your preference.
Many people enjoy reading through the Scriptures from front to back in one year, getting a better understanding of the wider scope of things.
Other people do just the New Testament or just the Old Testament or some other portion divided out over the course of a year.
Some plans take a chronological approach which helps grasp time periods, characters and genealogies. All of these increase your overall knowledge and application of the Word.
There is a five-day “Stay-on-Track Plan” that gives room for missed days due to a sick baby, or work running late, allowing you to catch up on the weekends.
Have the children sit with you while you read as well, letting them soak in the Good News, over breakfast, or as you cuddle on the couch. Kids pick up things fast, so don’t be surprised if they start asking some interesting and tough Bible questions.
2. Study the Bible with Commentaries
Commentaries are in-depth discussions on Scripture passages, usually (and preferably) by an educated Bible scholar.
This is a great option for the individual looking to take their daily reading to the next level, giving you thought-provoking insights that you may have never considered.
There are a couple ways to do this. Getting a study Bible would have commentary written in the footnotes, or on separate pages periodically throughout the Word. This way allows you to get specialized commentary to the translation you prefer.
Another option is to read through detailed commentary that is available in volumes for each section of the Bible. A great one that is easy to follow and extremely well-written is N.T. Wright’s commentary, but there are many to choose from that will meet your individual needs.
You can make this a family activity as well, by having the older children read a chapter a day, and then you can discuss what was read at the dinner table or before evening television.
Children do well being challenged mentally and spiritually, sharpening that double-edged sword.
3. Journal Your Spiritual Journey
Journaling is a passionate way to apply your relationship with God into your daily thoughts.
Each morning when you get up, write your biblical goals for the day or your thoughts on a scriptural passage.
Examples would be to journal five ways you are going to show others the love of God that day, or picking a character trait you want to sharpen to better reflect Jesus’. Even just spilling the contents of your heart onto the page will give you insight into where you need to better focus your Bible reading for the week.
It’s easy to make this a family activity by having the older kids write down their favorite verse, or how they want to improve their relationship with Jesus.
For the younger children, ask them a simple Bible question like, “What was your favorite miracle Jesus did?”, and then write it for them. If they stumble on the question or need ideas, take the opportunity to teach them the Word of God.
4. Bible Verse-A-Day Calendar
Place on your desk or nightstand a calendar that features one Bible verse each day, starting your morning with not only a good sense of what day it is when time seems to fly by but a reminder of where your focus should be in all things.
These are fun tools for the whole family, as you can have the kids tell you the date and read the verse out loud to you.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get one for each child to have on their nightstand to begin their quiet time with the Lord in the mornings.
5. Memorize the Word of God
Pick out one verse a week to memorize, making it one that particularly speaks to where you are in life so that it brings strength and peace.
Repeat the verse throughout the day when you are doing the dishes, eating lunch, and putting the kids to bed.
Use a short and easy to understand verse for the kids to memorize in the week, encouraging them in their faith and abilities. John 3:16, Genesis 1:1, and Jeremiah 29:11 are good ones to get you started.
Having the Word memorized allows it to come into mind more freely as you do things.
Plus, we know out of the mouth, the heart speaks (Luke 6:45), so let our words be those of our Heavenly Father’s.
6. Listen to the Bible
Hearing the Word of God on CD, MP3, or even a podcast is a fun way to get your daily Bible verses in.
You can listen to someone reading the Bible straight through, praise and worship music to kids tunes or in contemporary tunes. There are even Bible verses that are read over the background of environmental sounds like ocean waves or rainforest noises.
According to the Wall Street Journal, psychologist Henry Roediger III at Memory Lab at Washington University in St. Louis talks about how “Information set to music is among the easiest to remember.”
You will hear the kids reciting Bible verses without even knowing it as they play, having memorized several from the children’s music you had playing in the car on the way to soccer practice.
There are many others as well to be found with a simple Google search online.
7. Commit to a Devotional
A morning devotional gets your mind and heart ready for whatever your busy day throws at you.
It will be easier to handle the boss yelling about a deadline, or the toddler dumping their pasta on the floor, when you have the strength of the Almighty Creator lifting you up.
There are countless devotionals to choose from, so finding one that fits your time restraints and desired focus is crucial to keeping you interested.
Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Daily Devotional is a good classic choice that has led many towards God for over a century.
Joshua 1:8 reads:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
God wants us to focus on His Word, because it gives us the best outcome for our lives. As a parent, we will be doing right by our children to offer them the best life possible, which is only obtained by making the Word of God a living and breathing part of your life.
Pray about how God would have you make His Word part of your new year!