Updated: May 16
The Bible can be a great source of security and peace. It can help you sense God’s presence with you. Knowing which Bible verse to read can be hard, but it doesn't have to be.
When I graduated from High School, my church gave me a huge study Bible. I took it with me to college, but it soon disappeared amidst my many textbooks and busy fraternity life.
Not long after graduating from college, my life fell apart. Instinctively, I turned to my Bible. Despite having grown up in the church, I had no idea what to read or where to begin. Sadly, my big Bible provided little help.
Contrast that with my dear friend, Janet, a fellow breast and lung cancer survivor. When doctors told her she had breast cancer in 2003, she took her Bible off the table beside her hospital bed and let the well-worn, book marked, highlighed pages open and fall freely on her lap.
Janet looked and her eyes landed on these words:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phillipians 4:6).
Wow! Janet testifies that she received the peace of Christ in that moment and hasn’t worried about her cancer since. I believe her! I can testify she’s one of the most amazing and joyful people I have ever known.
Thankfully by the time I received my diagnosis of stage four lung cancer in 2017, I had learned a few excellent approaches to determining what Bible verses to read each day and settled into a good rhythm of Bible reading. It remains my number one resource.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to determine what to read from the Bible each day.
1) Use a daily devotional guide.
At the start of my ministry, I acquired “A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants of God.” It is bound in blue leather with a ribbon bookmark and gold edged pages.
The book is organized into 52 weeks and follows the Christian calendar (Lent, Easter, etc.). Each week begins with a page that includes an order of worship, including a weekly theme, a short daily opening prayer, the scripture reading for each day, a closing benediction, and a hymn.
I came to love waking up each day and spending an hour if possible, sometimes longer, reading the Scripture, praying , and journaling. I read this book several times over the years. Impacted my relationship with God.
Also available is A Guide to Prayer for All God’s Children, which follows the same format. https://www.cokesbury.com/9780835807104-Guide-to-Prayer-for-All-God-s-People?refq=guide%20to%20prayer%20for%20all%20god%27s%20people
Currently I'm following "The Daily Texts" from the Moravian Church. It follows a similar format. I download the app for free on my phone, and it gives me everything I need to know what to read. You can find out more at https://www.moravian.org/the-daily-texts/.
2) Read daily devotions like Our Daily Bread.
Another great option is a daily devotional guide like Our Daily Bread (odb.org). Every day, they provide a different person’s short reflection on Scripture connecting it with their life.
Our Daily Bread also includes a daily recommended Bible reading selection and an assignment if you want to be part of their plan to read the whole Bible in one year.
3) Pick a book of the Bible and read through it one chapter at a time.
You can read as much as you like each time. You could start with Genesis and go straight through. I would recommend starting with the book of Luke. Doing so will increase your knowledge of Jesus Christ and prepare you to venture into your next book.
As a companion, you might consider Luke for Everyone by NT Wright. This book breaks the book down into small sections and provides excellent commentary and connections with contemporary life. https://www.amazon.com/Luke-Everyone-New-Testament/dp/0664227848.
4) Read my book How Cancer Cured Me!
In it, I connect my cancer experience (and others') with relevant and helpful Bible stories and verses. I explore many dimensions of the cancer experience with through a Christian perspecitve incorporating lots of Scripture. You can find other books that do the same.
5) Download a great Bible App to your smart device.
I love the Bible App from www.youversion.com. It allows you to read the Bible in different versions/translations, and has many helpful features. It also has a library of reading plans based on a variety of topics. It’s a must have.
These are just a few options. You can search the internet for what you need, ask Siri or Alexa: ”Bible verses about hope for cancer patients.” In less than a second, you’ll have 12,800,000 results. Be sure to check out a church’s worship services, classes, and resources.
As you read the Bible more and more, you will become more familiar with its contents and all the resources available. It will become your go to resource, guiding and sustaining you faithfully. You may also have your own Janet-like experiences and receive a life-verse or two that define you forever.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Question: Do you have a plan for reading Scripture that works for you? Did you try one of these suggestion? Please share your experience.