Five better ways to be in 2014: put the Word in

Top 'o the morning to you. Let's do this new year thing right. Over the next several days, you'll find me posting five times on better ways to be in 2014. Each of them hinges on the knowledge that "the Lord is here," that the ongoing presence of Jesus in us causes us to live and interact differently with ourselves, with our world and with those closest to us.

Post #1: choose empathy over sympathy.

Now for post #2: put the Word in. 


Just wondering, is there more than one Bible on your bookshelf? We've got an embarrassment of biblical riches hanging out around our house. I'd say probably 15-20 copies if we started counting.

So there are the plentiful print versions . . . and now that 70% of millennials read the Bible digitally (see Barna), there's a whole new world of God's Word just waiting to explore. It's like living next to the Y and complaining that you can't find the time to work out. Provided you have internet access, the Bible is one click away at any moment.

Earlier this year, I wrote this article: "5  great ways to get some Bible in your day." All of its tips still apply, but may I also offer a few personal insights?

  • I listened through the Bible in 2013 via through the iphone app (99 cents). Truth be told, I found this to be addictive in the best possible way. It took 15-20 minutes, setting my focus for the day, and there's a whole community of people around the world cheering you on. What a blessing to hear the whole story of Scripture and to hear God's heart for the people he loves through the Story.
  • Memorizing Scripture is underrated. I guess I simply got tired of my horrible excuses for not committing Scripture to memory. After memorizing Psalm 91 and reciting it over deathbeds and sickbeds and women in chemical addiction recovery, the truth of God's protective care for us begin to sink deep down into my marrow. Then our Sunday School class memorized Isaiah 61:1-4, the power of the life-giving mission God has entrusted to us through Jesus sinking in, and now I'm looking for the next thing to commit to memory. So I've got a long way to go, but here's an entire new year in which I might decide on the passages I want to shape me—and consequently those I live and love with—this year.

So here's my parting question: what truth do you want to live from this year? And how will you put the Word in, starting today?

Five great ways to get some Bible in your day

"The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul." -Psalm 19:7a, NIV A few weeks ago I wrote this about spiritual formation: "What if the Bible transforms into sweet manna for one whose stomach is grumbling, loudly..."

This is my prayer for you and me, that God's Word would become our food, the tastiest and most satisfying of morsels. Fortunately, it's now easier than ever to dig in. Check out these five easy (and free) ways to get more Bible in your day: 

1. parallels - Pick a passage of Scripture and examine a passage side-by-side in a multitude of versions. Great for comparing and digging down to the meaning of a passage. Suggestions: NIV, NLT, ESV, RSV, side-by-side. 2. audio, Max McLean - I listened to the entire book of Acts on my iPhone while driving. Good for listening to long—or short—portions of Scripture dramatized. Click on the "continuous play" square. McLean will announce the beginning of each chapter. Truth be told, I'm smitten with McLean's Bible-reading abilities. 3. - This amazing community features Brian Hardin, a student of God's Word who has beautifully read the Bible through for this online community for the last seven years. Thanks to Brian and his gang, I'm halfway through listening to the Bible, made even easier by the .99 app I downloaded for my iPhone. What a fantastic idea to read Scripture in community, in 15-20 minutes each day. 4. Read one chapter of Proverbs a day for one month or 31 days. 5. Go deeper. Pick one passage of Scripture—for instance, the Sermon on the Mount—and read all of it each day for five days. Take 5-10 minutes to meditate and write out a key principle from the passage each day. Note what you discovered by reviewing all five days at the end of the week.

Your turn: what's your tip for helping others get "more Bible in their day?" And thanks in advance for sharing.