More Bible in the New Year?

The conversation in the lunch room last week at work centered on New Year’s resolutions. Some staff make them, and others resist. Whether you have determined to make resolutions or not, one activity in the New Year that most of us could use more of is reading the Bible.

I am currently enjoying building a long-distance friendship (both geographical and millennial distance) with a Scottish pastor by the name of Robert Murray M’Cheyne. Yes, I am reading his mail and his journals. M’Cheyne writes often about reading much of the Bible.

M’Cheyne once told a friend:

“He would be a sorry student of this world who should forever confine his gaze to the fruitful fields and well-watered gardens of this cultivated earth. He could have no true idea of what the world was unless he had stood up on the rocks of our mountains, and seen the bleak muirs and mosses of our barren land; unless he had paced the quarterdeck when the vessel was out of sight of land, and seen the waste of waters without any shore up on the horizon. Just so, he would be a sorry student of the Bible who would not know at all that God has inspired: Who would not examine into the most barren chapters to collect the good for which they were intended: who would not strive to understand all the bloody battles which are chronicled, but he might find ‘bread out of the eater, and honey out of the lion.’” June 1836

Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, p 13-14

If you are not familiar with this man, he was born in 1813 in Edinburgh, and after attending the University of Edinburgh, he served as a minister at Saint Peter’s Church in Dundee, Scotland. M’Cheyne writes of reading the letters of Samuel Rutherford and David Brainerd, and both men influenced his desire to serve as a missionary. In 1839, at the age of 25, he traveled to Palestine to bring a report back to the Church of Scotland regarding the status of the Jews living in the land. He also had a growing interest in serving as a missionary to India.

M’Cheyne died of typhus at the age of 29, but in just under a decade of ministry, he left a massive imprint on our understanding of faithfully pursuing the word of God. He is perhaps best known for developing a reading plan for the Bible. The plan involves reading the New Testament and the Psalms through twice in a year and the Old Testament through once–covering both the “well-watered gardens” and the “barren chapters.”

I have been following the plan this past year through a podcast and have found listening to these seven or eight chapters for about 15 minutes every morning to be a wonderful way to start the day. I would commend this podcast and this plan to you, whether or not you are looking for a new resolution! You will never be sorry for having more Bible in your world.


  1. Thank you Lisa for sharing this podcast! I’m going to seek to listen to this reading plan in the new year with my mother 🙂 I also had no idea M’Cheyne didn’t live that long either. Right now I’m getting to know Joni Erickson Tada and Elizabeth Elliot right now. Such dear women.


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