These are the things I considered and decided on when I began this journey. All advice courtesy of "How to Read the Bible in 30 Days," by Bruce Ammons, with my opinions stated in parenthesis beneath.
What do I need to start this journey?
A Bible, and pen/ pencil or highlighter
(I'm using just a pencil because I may want to use the same Bible in the future for a different task)
What Bible will work best for me?
It's recommended that the Bible be:
1. Brand New - a new, clean Bible will help you get the most out of the experience and not just defer to the passages that stood out to you in the past, and the thoughts or insights you had before.
2. Large Print - Even if you have good eyesight, you will be reading lots of words each day and large print places less strain on your eyes.
3. Two columns per page - You don't have to move your eyes much from left to right to read the entire line.
4. Easy-to-read translation
(I considered buying a new, large print Bible, but decided against it, since I already have a few extra Bibles around my house. I found an unused one, NASB, a version which I don't normally read. It has two columns per page, but very small print. The upside to this is that I have to read less pages per day!)
How slowly/ precisely do I need to read?
Bruce recommends not to read with the goal of comprehending everything (even theologians, saints, and other faithful Christians don't "get" it all), but instead, to read to comprehend one thing - a subject of focus. He mentions even employing certain "speed reading" techniques such as reading phrases or lines at a time, instead of single words at a time.
(I think this should be a prayerful decision. If you want to take the time to read a little slower, go for it. But the idea here is not to meditate. That is for a different time. For me, I decided to read as quickly as I possibly could, not worrying about catching every single detail, so as not to get discouraged by going so slowly. I also chose a subject of focus.)
Choosing a subject of focus
What subject in life are you currently passionately about? What question or situation do you have that could use more clarity? God speaks directly and indirectly about so many life questions in his Word. Choose a topic you are interested in and look for occurrences in Scripture where God addresses that subject.
The Bible may address it specifically or by giving broad principles that apply to your topic of focus. Choosing a topic keeps the process interesting. Bruce said there were days he was tired or pressed for time, but a subject of focus helped his attitude and made the daily reading more effective. As you read, quickly mark any verses or passages that apply to your topic. Just mark them and move on. Don't take time to dig deeper into them now - save that for later.
Possible subjects of focus include:
Money Salvation Repentance Power
Prayer Peace Contentment Integrity
Baptism Parenting Marriage Success
Friendship Miracles Worship
Why 30 days?
Think about breaking a movie into 10-minute segments and watching a different segment each day? Many movies are 2 hours long, so it would take you 12 days to see the entire movie! By the time you got to the end, how much of the beginning would you even remember? But this is how most of us read the Bible. No wonder we don't understand much of it. We need to "watch the entire movie" to get a sense of the flow of God's amazing story. Later, we can break it up into smaller segments for deeper study, if desired.
Huge goals are easier to attain than minuscule ones. They require decisive, bold action which, in turn, produces amazing results. Amazing results bring encouragement, and encouragement fosters endurance to complete the task. You can do this, even if you have never succeeded in smaller Bible reading goals in the past.
(I'm believing this will be true for me! Like I said before, I've been unsuccessful in other Bible reading goals.)
Where do I start?
Decide what day you will start (the sooner the better!) and figure out how many pages you will have to read each day. For instance, if your Bible has 1,539 pages and you divide that by 30, you need to read 52 pages each day. Make a chart or spreadsheet of the number of pages you need to read each day if you want, or just mark it in your Bible.
Also, let your friends and family know about what you're doing, so they can support and encourage you. Maybe they'll even want to join you!
How long will it take me each day?
That totally depends on you. Obviously, how fast or slow you read will make a difference. Bruce said it took him around 2 hours. But, you don't have to do it all in one sitting - just like you don't eat your entire daily allotment of food in one sitting. Feel free to break it up into smaller portions. Getting started in the morning works well for many people, though.
What if I fall behind?
Discipline yourself to try not to. Since you are reading the Bible through in a month, one or two days is a lot of material to catch up. Read ahead when you can. Some days may not be conducive to reading 52 pages. Take your Bible with you everywhere. You'll be surprised how much down-time you find throughout your day.
If you decide to take this journey, I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to comment on any of my posts, especially if you follow along with me. Or you can drop me an email at email@example.com. I'd love to be able to pray for you during your journey. I'm excited to see what God will do!