What are your plans for the summer?
My calendar’s filling fast with weekend trips and garden strolls and sitting (in the shade!) by the water. But work is lighter, and so are the days—leaving time for walks and books and doing nothing, if I want. Just seeing “Memorial Day” coming up next week makes my pulse slow down. I can’t wait for summer.
I have a to-do list for the next three months and at the top is getting more one-on-one, hang-out time with God. I need spiritual re-calibrating as much as I need a break from the grind. The best way I know to hear God speak to my heart is to read the Bible on a regular basis. I started doing that as a teenager when I saw my life going nowhere and needed help. I would pray, start reading, and look for God to speak. He always did. He helped me with so many things that first summer, and I got so much out of getting to know God better and his love for me, that I kept it up.
I’ve decided to take a slow trip through John’s gospel this summer, but you might want to do something else. Here are some ideas to consider:
IDEAS FOR SUMMER BIBLE READING
- Immerse yourself in God’s loving plan. Four chapters a day with a few days off will take you through the entire story of the Bible by Labor Day. Use this downloadable checklist from The Great Adventure Bible Timeline — or read the same thing with the help of the guided journal I wrote to support that 90-day reading plan: The Bible Timeline Guided Journal.
- Pick a book, any book. Can’t decide? Start with a gospel. Read it like you’d read a novel, at whatever pace feels right. Pray before you start, ask the Lord to speak, then start to read. Linger as the Spirit guides, and talk to him about it. The next day, pick up where you left off.
- Looking for something quick and light? Try Proverbs. There are 31 chapters, so every day you read, go with the chapter that corresponds to the date (on July 7, read Proverbs 7). Every chapter’s packed with small bites of common sense and godly wisdom. Snack on whatever appeals to you . . . Then try to do what it says that day. Keep a list of your favorites and learn them by heart. Tweet them or share on Facebook—anything to help you remember.
- Want a good story? Read Jonah or Esther or Daniel or Genesis [all of Genesis is good, but it’s hard to beat the story of Joseph in chs. 37-50]. Just get to know the story. Watch God in action. Learn more about the One who loves you.
- Is summer your time to go deep? Read a book with the help of a good commentary. I highly recommend the very readable Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, which explains what you’re reading, connects it to our Catholic faith, and gives you food for thought and prayer. Give Revelation a try, or Mark, or Ephesians (or anything that strikes your fancy). And prepare to be blessed!
- Another way to go deep, alone or with a group: use one of the books I wrote with Gayle Somers on Genesis to guide you through personal reading and meditating and discussing one of the most practical and informative books about our faith. Or read my reflections on women of the Old Testament in Becoming Women of the Word — then read the stories in your Bible, for further insight.
Once you’ve decided—take some iced tea out to your hammock and start to read! If you happen to fall asleep, consider what a lovely thing it is to fall asleep in the arms of the Father, his words the last thing you hear.
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I’d love to know what you decide to read! Comment below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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© 2021 Sarah Christmyer. Reposted with slight adaptations from “MAKE YOUR SAND-BUCKET LIST: A Bible Reading Plan for Summer,” posted on this site 5/25/16.
The Commentary on Sacred Scripture looks expensive. Any suggestions for us peons and folks just starting out?
(Yes I listen to Fr. Mike’s bible in a year)
Kevin Bolton says
I decided to download The Bible in One Year. This resource from Nikky Gumble of Alpha fame I have found to impact my days very significantly and I can recommend it to anyone interested in the challenge to red and reflect on the Bible in one year.
lidia manieri says
I’ve been doing the Bible in a Year with Father Mike Schmitz and it has been wonderful. I’ve read parts of the Bible before with different Bible studies but this will be the first time that I would have read the Bible from cover to cover. It is great. I’m learning so much and my prayer time is getting better. I’m also more cognizant of God’s workings in my life. I feel so blessed. Praise God!!
Theresa Haggerty says
Thank you for this!
Sarah Christmyer says
Yes – following a plan like that is so helpful! The Augustine Institute also has a Bible in a Year. It’s available in the new ESV-Catholic Edition, which I love. https://www.augustineinstitute.org/program-categories/bible-in-a-year. Mary Healy offers a free pdf checklist that’s nice https://speakingofscripture.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/bible_in_a_year.pdf (and there’s one in the new Ave Notetaking Bible. So many choices!) Thanks for suggestions it, Kevin.
Sarah Christmyer says
Cheryl, a good starting point for the NT is the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. Another way to get started is with a book like Peter Kreeft’s “You Can Understand the Bible.” That has a brief chapter for every book of the bible and gives you basic information to get you going on reading it. On my Resources page is a free download called “Build Your Bible Study Library” that has a lot of suggestions on it. I wish you all the best in your search!
Toni Lovingood says
I would like to recommend Sarah’s book, “Becoming Women of the Word”. When you finish reading a book and realize all the passages you underlined and put stars in the margins and turned down the corner of the page, you know you have found a treasure to keep and refer back to often. From each chapter I learned new things and gleaned fresh inspiration. This book is a wonderful gift for friends and family.
Thank you Sarah for all the work that went into writing it.