Every few years I give some thought (and prayer) to what sort of material I should use for devotional reading. I would class much of Andrew Murray’s and AW Tozer’s works as ‘devotional’, but this is not what I have in mind.
Some call is a quiet time, some a devotional, others call it spending time with the Lord. What I mean is some form or structure or intent of daily guided reading of Scripture with or without some additional commentary.
For example, this year I read and meditated on a verse of Psalm 119 for the first 88 days of the year and then recommenced on 1st July. One year I read the daily portion of Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest each day. Around ten years ago I would read portions of Daily Light on the Daily Path which is a selection of Scripture verses curated by Jonathan Bagster in the mid 1800s. Recently I finished reading the 365 daily notes contained in the NLT Daily Study Bible for Men (I commenced these around 20 years ago, recommenced them maybe ten years ago and have now finished them!)
I’ve also used and/or tried a variety of Bible reading plans over the years including chronological, the Horner method of reading ten different chapters each day from ten different books/genres, and the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan.
I first came across the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan in the early 2000s. His method is to read two or four chapters a day. The first reading is from the Old Testament from Genesis to 2 Chronicles. The second reading is the New Testament and Psalms (Gospels, Psalms, then Acts to Revelation). The third reading is Old Testament from Ezra to Malachi (excluding the Psalms) and the fourth reading is the New Testament and Psalms but in the sequence Acts to Revelation, Matthew and Mark, then the Psalms and finishing with Luke and John.
There are a couple of companion volumes to the M’Cheyne reading plan written by Don Carson. His writings aren’t so much devotional as providing some high-level commentary on the broad plans of Scripture from the daily readings. I first used the M’Cheyne plan and Carson’s book back in 2003 and 2004. My recollection is that I did two readings daily across those years. I then used the plan again in 2008 and 2009 but my recollection is of doing two daily readings in 2008 and one reading in 2009. For the record Don Carson’s first volume focuses on the first two readings and his second volume focuses on the third and fourth readings–but sometimes he comments on three or even four of the readings.
And the point? I intend to use the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan for 2022 and the associated comments from volume one of Don’s work. I’m not sure if I will read two, three or four chapters each day–certainly the first two. I feel that I have been missing out on taking in broader sweeps of Scripture and reading in this manner is somewhat structured and allows me to see the sweep of redemptive history.