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Bible Reading Plans

2017 Bible Reading Plan (Faith Baptist Bible College)

 

M'Cheyne Bible Reading Plan

About M’Cheyne

Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843) was a Church of Scotland minister who died before his thirtieth birthday. Nevertheless, his impact upon the religious life of Scotland was immense, not only through his preaching, but especially through his godly living. He has persisted as a powerful inspiration to generations of Christians due to the ongoing publication of his Memoir and Remains (compiled by his friend, Andrew Bonar). C.H. Spurgeon recommended that it ought surely to be in the hands of every Christian. M’Cheyne compiled a calendar for his people for reading through the Bible once every year. We must be driven more to our Bibles, and to the mercy-seat, if we are to stand in the evil day, he explained.

The Calendar

The calendar contains a center column proceeding by the day of the month. Readings to the left of it are for family devotions, while readings to the right are for secret (personal) devotions. The advantages over other plans for reading through the Bible in a year are twofold.

  1. The calendar directs the reader to four different parts of Scripture every day. It doesn’t take months, therefore, to finally arrive at the Psalms or the New Testament.
  2. By reading just four chapters on most days, the reader progresses through the entire Old Testament once and the entire Psalms and the New Testament twice every year.
Usefulness

M’Cheyne’s letter of introduction to the calendar pointed out that by following such a scheme, time would not be wasted. Often believers are at a loss to determine towards which part of the mountains of spices they should bend their steps. Here the question will be solved at once in a very simple manner. 

In addition, if an entire church reads together, their pastor will know in what part of the pasture the flock are feeding—he will thus be enabled to speak more suitably to them. And then, too, the sweet bond of Christian love and unity will be strengthened. We shall oftener be led to agree on earth, touching something we shall ask of God. We shall pray over the same promises, mourn over the same confessions, praise God in the same songs, and be nourished by the same words of eternal life. As to fellowship, Friends . . . will have a subject for profitable conversation in the portions read that day.

Dangers

Wisely, M’Cheyne also warned of four dangers accompanying any such scheme.

  1. Formality—Let the calendar perish rather than this rust eat up your souls.
  2. Self-righteousness.
  3. Careless reading—Some, by having so large a portion, may be tempted to weary of it, as Israel did of the daily manna, saying, “Our soul loatheth this light bread!” and to read it in a slight and careless manner. This would be fearfully provoking to God.
  4. A yoke too heavy to bear—If this be the case with any, throw aside the fetter, and feed at liberty in the sweet garden of God.
Advice

If we’re unable to read four chapters a day, we can still make profitable use of the calendar by dividing it in two. Read those chapters to the left of the dates in one year and those to the right in the next. In this way we may still read the entirety of Scripture every two years and the entirety of Psalms and the New Testament each of those two. 

If a day’s reading is missed, it’s best not to delay for the sake of recovering it. Press on with the next day’s readings first and then make up what was missed.

In a letter to a young believer, M’Cheyne counseled,

"You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and understand it, and still more to feel it. Turn the Bible into prayer. Thus, if you are reading the 1st Psalm, spread the Bible on the chair before you, and kneel, and pray, 'O Lord, give me the blessedness of the man, etc.' 'Let me not stand in the counsel of the ungodly, etc.' This is the best way of knowing the meaning of the Bible and of learning to pray."

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