Lead Your Church to Read the Bible Together in 2020 by Justin Dillehay for The Gospel Coalition
GNN Note – Our church began this program several months ago with about 60+ people. It has dwindled to fewer than 20 people, however, we are still encouraged. The program may benefit from better promotion
“I wish my congregation didn’t read the Bible so much!” said no pastor ever.
As an evangelical pastor in the Reformed Baptist tradition, I think I speak for all of us in saying we want our people to know the Bible, so that they can “grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).
As pastors, we’re called to the ministry of the Word. We’re to feed our people the Word because that’s how faith comes and grows (Rom. 10:17; John 17:20). And we don’t just want them to listen to us read and preach it on Sundays; we also want them to read and meditate on it day and night throughout the week.
The question is, how can we help them do it? Of course, some won’t need your help. There’s a man in my church who’s been reading through the Bible yearly since before I was born. But many others do need help. There are probably numerous Christians in your church right now who’ve never read through the whole Bible. They would benefit from some pastoral direction.
As a fellow pastor, I have a suggestion for you. It’s not new, and it wasn’t my idea—both reasons I heartily encourage you to consider it.
Wisdom from a 20-Something Scottish Pastor
On December 30, 1842, a Scottish Presbyterian pastor named Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote a tract for his congregation titled “Daily Bread: Being a Calendar for Reading through the Word of God in a Year.” It laid out a reading schedule that, if followed, would take the reader through the entire Bible in a year, including the Psalms and New Testament twice. He prefaced it with some pastoral meditations on the dangers and benefits of following such a plan. Sadly, M’Cheyne didn’t live to see his people read through the plan; he died less than three months later at the age of 29.
It speaks volumes about this young pastor’s priorities that he not only felt a deep desire for his people to read the Bible, but also took creative pains to guide them in how to do it. As long as they’re doing it, he could’ve reasoned, who am I to dictate how? He could’ve allowed his relative youth to make him hesitant to guide older (and perhaps more mature) saints in their spiritual walk.