First of all, I want to thank you for the many articles and sermons on your web site. They have been very helpful and it is encouraging to have access to so much information regarding God's word.
I was recently talking to my girlfriend about becoming each others accountability partner for reading and studying Scripture. Other than studies with our congregations a couple times a week, we have not done well in studying on a regular basis. We hope that by being accountable to one another we can change our neglectful habits and find more spiritual growth and immersion in God's word. Do you have any suggestions on the direction and pace we should take with our studies? We have determined that we want to do a scriptural study as opposed to topical, but we are not sure in what book we should start and where to go from there. We are both in our early 20s and we have been Christians for several years. I would appreciate any suggestion you might have.
The best diet plan is one that you will stick with for the rest of your life. The reason so many diets fail is that people pick a drastic diet that no one in their right mind would ever consider sticking with. Sure they lose weight for a while, but then the diet gets dropped and their weight comes right back up.
I've seen people do the same thing with studying the Scriptures. They start out with the best intentions, but they pick something that isn't sustainable. They might decide to read the Bible from cover to cover, but they run into the genealogies, or the Levitical laws, and reading rapidly becomes a chore. Or they try to get through a hard book, but the number of hours required is more than they can fit into their schedule. Eventually something gives and it is usually the Bible study.
What I rather see you two do is something that you find interesting and perhaps something you both want to learn. Don't be afraid to jump round the Bible to places that interest you at the moment. Since you are both relatively new Christians, start by selecting a book and pick a day that you two are going to get together and discuss what you've learned and how you can make it a part of your lives. It doesn't have to be a long session each time. In preparation for the discussion, try to read one chapter two or three times in advance.
Try some of these books first:
- James: Practical Christian living.
- Ecclesiastes: What is the purpose of life. What life is about and not about.
- Luke: Get to know Jesus better
- Acts: How did early Christian's live?
- Ruth: What is love like?
- John: The spiritual view of Jesus
- I John: How do you know you are saved?
- Genesis: Where did we come from?
- Proverbs: Practical everyday advice.
If you have trouble coming up with things to talk about, which I doubt, find a workbook to fill out together on that particular book.