My Journey: Finding Bible Plans That Actually Stick

Show Notes

In this episode, Johnny reflects on New Year’s goals and the importance of setting goals throughout the year. He discusses a fan’s goals for 2024, which include launching a birth education and doula business, advancing in fitness, deepening friendships, refining homeschool curriculum, and studying scripture.

Johnny emphasizes the significance of deepening relationships, choosing the right homeschool curriculum, and engaging in scripture study. He provides recommendations for Bible translations and reading plans. The episode concludes with a call for feedback on future episodes and a reminder to prioritize scripture study in the new year.

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Johnny Sanders (00:09.782)

Real quick before we get going into this episode, today’s episode is brought to you by this cool little mug. I’ve got Faithfully Engaged mugs in my merch shop. This is a really slick little mug and I also have a t-shirt available and also a sweatshirt hoodie that’s available as well there in the merch shop. So if you just go over to www. slash faithfully engaged merch.

Johnny Sanders (00:41.297)

Just go to fait or click the link down in the description below to get your cool mug. All right. Enjoy the show. Hello and happy new year, everyone. I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and that you have already kicked off 2024 off well. Those of you that are listening to this the day it launches, this is actually New Year’s Day.

So you might be kind of tired if you stayed up late and saw the ball drop or whatever you crazy kids do. More than likely. So I record these before they launch. More than likely I’ll make it to midnight and my wife makes it to about 10 o’clock. She normally doesn’t stay up too late on New Year’s. But anyways, I hope that you had a great New Year’s Eve and really I wanted to talk about goals today. Specifically…

New Year’s resolution if you want to call them that. I don’t use that term too often. I’m more in the business of saying if you have a goal do it now don’t wait for a new year. But there is something nice about reflecting back over the year that’s passed. That’s something that my mom’s always really enjoyed about New Year’s is you get to really reflect kind of process through what that what that year brought you. I really did a lot of that on my last episode.

that released on Christmas last week about my 2023, how we brought in a new child and all sorts of new things happened in my life. So I think that’s really neat about New Year’s this time period to be able to reflect on the past and also to reflect on the future, what I want to do going forward. So I use the term goals more often instead of New Year’s resolution. Goals is something that again, we can constantly.

change and refine over time. But anyways, I think this is a good time of year to look into that. So really exciting here. I’ve got my first instance of Faithful Feedback. Before I get into this, if you did not catch the last episode or announcement about my new sub stack, which I have listed down in the links below, I am doing a new segment called Faithful Feedback. So I’m still playing around a little bit with this idea.

Johnny Sanders (02:59.402)

But essentially what I’m doing is periodically I will be asking different questions and, uh, seeking some fan feedback of maybe you answer a question or at times I might have kind of reverse it and have you ask me a question and I answer it, um, in an upcoming episode. Eventually I would like to expand this even into, uh, the listeners asking different guests that I bring on asking them questions. I really want this to be more.

fan interaction based and real quick, if you wouldn’t mind, send me a quick email or if you follow me on any of my social medias, give me a mention or a message real quick when you listen to this. And what are your thoughts of me doing a specific episode, like once a month, that’s more targeted towards this fan type of interaction? Maybe answering a

answering a question or answering a mailbag or whatever. So doing that once a month, so three episodes would be, and a month would be more of the typical format where I’m talking to a guest, and then one would just be kind of solo with me answering questions, things of that nature. Just leave a comment wherever you’re listening, send me a DM, and I’d love to hear your feedback on that. That’s something I’m constantly exploring. I want this show to be something that’s helpful to people. And…

Definitely want your feedback. So please let me know what you think on that. All that being said, I’m really excited to give my first shout out to a fan. So this is to Joe. This actually wasn’t on my sub stack. This was on my ex or Twitter, whatever you want to call it. So you guys are always more than welcome to mention me. I’m on X and Instagram and Facebook, all of those things. So you can do these shout outs on those platforms as well. So anyways, Joe.

Um, she said that her goals, let me back up. Kind of missed the question here first. The question I had for faithful feedback, the first one was water, your goals for 2024 and Joe gave some great answers here. So Joe said she wants to launch her birth education and doula business, continued to advance in her fitness, such as losing weight, working out regularly, deepen some friendships.

Johnny Sanders (05:24.106)

refine some homeschool curriculum and also have a deeper study of scripture. I absolutely love these goals that they these cover. Part of what I like about this answer is one, it’s cover, it’s multiple things. It’s not just one thing she’s shooting after, but it’s covering different basis of her life. She talks about birth education, dual a business. There’s all sorts of people out there doing.

you know, more natural birthing type of type of things when they’re when they’re pregnant and having a baby. So my wife actually had a midwife for this go round and it’s kind of a long story. She ended up not. She planned to have a home birth and things didn’t.

Our board didn’t have those plans. So we ended up having a hospital birth, even though that wasn’t part of the plan. But anyways, more and more people are doing more home births and even with doulas, you know, sometimes they’ll be in hospitals. So that’s really a growing thing. A lot of younger women are interested in doing things a bit more natural. So I’m sure Joe has a lot of potential business there. I can speak from my perspective that-

Being able to start these things on your own is very difficult. It takes a lot of energy, a lot of risk. So I know Joe’s probably thought about this quite often and taken those steps in 2024 to actually start this process and not only start it but launch it to get it going. That’s a pretty weighty goal but a fantastic one. Then she, so that’s kind of the professional side. And then into the fitness side, this is a great one.

I can approach this from even a Christian perspective. God gave us these bodies. It’s described as our bodies being a temple. That’s a big deal. I certainly think some people can take the fitness angle to a degree that may not be necessary. Anything can be turned into a legalism of sorts.

Johnny Sanders (07:33.994)

doesn’t make our body into the idol as far as working out too much. I don’t see that nearly as much as the other way where we don’t respect the bodies God gave us enough and aren’t treating our bodies appropriately. So I think that losing weight, working out regularly, that’s actually kind of a goal that I have for myself in 2024. So love that for Joe that she’s really looking into that. And then also love here on the

personal side of deepening some friendships that how awesome is that we are all social creatures. I say this often with my clients and with my family. I am pretty high on the introversion scale. I can stay home all day and be pretty good. In fact, there was a time not too long ago that my family went to the zoo and had a little bit of work to do at home. But

ended up just staying home and had the house to myself for a while. And that was great. I loved it. I love that alone time, but even me kind of having introversion through the charts, I still need people. We need friendships. We need family members. We need people around us. So I love that her outlook here is not necessarily just to have friendships or to gain friendships. Although those are great things to do, but it’s deepening some friendships. So it’s not just about the

quantity of friendships you have. It’s the quality. So I think that’s something a lot of us could think about. Water steps we can take to deepen those relationships. I think that’s great. Refined homeschool curriculum. This is a great one. Many, many people are homeschooling now. And it’s almost a bad thing of how much stuff is out there if you’ve never looked at homeschool curriculum.

There’s a million options out there and it can actually be quite overwhelming of how many options are out there. So refining that, I think that’s a really good word. You want to lessen, you know, trying to make it perfect and do everything that that’s just going to overwhelm you and you’re not going to do anything. So lightening that load, tighten it up a little bit. What fits best for me as a

Johnny Sanders (09:52.37)

as a parent to teach their curriculum and also for my kids to receive and learn. And I would say along with this, you know, my kids are little. So being married to one idea, not even just one curriculum, but one style, poly isn’t a great idea. So along with refining, we need to be adaptable if you’re going to be a homeschool parent too. So love this goal for Joe. And then the last one.

I’m going to touch a little bit deeper on deeper study of scripture. So being a Christian, I think we all know that we need to be in the Word. This is incredibly important. This is how God reveals himself to us. I’m always taken aback how often we’ll complain like, man, the disciples had Jesus. They saw him. How cool was that? And don’t get me wrong.

That is really neat to see Jesus in the flesh. But sometimes we take that and like, man, they had it so good. Whereas they’d be yelling at us, the apostles that we have the completed scriptures, all of God’s word that we’ve got it good. We’ve got, we’ve got the Holy spirit in us. We’ve got God’s revealed word. We’ve got to be in the word. Let’s not take it for granted that we have.

so much out there that so many different translations, so many different study Bibles, there’s a wealth of information out there. None of us have an excuse, at least, I’m assuming if you’re listening to this podcast anyways, you don’t have an excuse of lack of information available. There are still some people groups and things out there that have not heard the name of Jesus, so I’m not.

downgrading that there is still a need for unreached people groups, no doubt. Again, I’m going to assume those of you listening to this are either in the United States of America or Canada or some type of, you know, more Western type of country. I could be wrong. But for those of you in those areas, we have so much information. It’s really about us applying it and deepening that.

Johnny Sanders (12:16.234)

relationship. It almost kind of goes back to Joe’s goal of really deepening these friendships. It’s deepening our relationship with God. And you don’t do that in any other way other than prayer, scripture reading, and attending your church, strengthening those relationships in church as well. All of those are incredibly important. Scripture reading is one of those that

is just so important because it’s one that you can’t do with other people. Like you can’t rely on other people to prop that up. Sure, you can go to the church and hear God’s word said and, you know, listen to the sermon and everything. That’s incredibly important. Prayer. You can certainly be a part of.

corporate prayers and things like that. People can pray for you. I’m not discounting being a part of your individual prayer. That is important to have your individual prayer, but there are other aspects there. But scripture, studying scripture, that is a very solo act. Again, we can do this together as a marriage couple or in a small group or whatever.

But there’s so much of it that lies on your individual shoulders to do. And that’s the hard part. The hard part is not getting the information. That’s the easy part. Hard part is being consistent and being able to go to that next level, deepening it, being disciplined in your Bible study. And I wanted to take a little bit of time on that and give you some suggestions. Now before I get into specifics, kind of like I was saying.

on Joe’s part of the homeschooling curriculum. There’s a billion options out there for homeschool curriculum with Bible reading. There are a lot of different options out there that there’s a ton of translations. Um, I’ll tell you just off the bat, as far as my recommendations, certainly, uh, feel free to talk to friends and family, your pastor or something like that for their recommendations.

Johnny Sanders (14:34.518)

Two big ones that come to my mind off the bat is ESV. That’s kind of my go-to, that’s my church’s go-to. Pretty well-respected, it’s more of a literal reading. So it takes the original Greek and Hebrew and tries to go with a pretty faithful word-for-word translation. So it’s pretty specific in its language there. And I just think it’s pretty…

pretty well thought out. There’s a lot of good ESV study Bibles. It’s a pretty big translation out there. One that I would say that would go alongside that would be the NASB, New American Standard Bible, pretty big one. It takes the same type of structure, more of a literal word for word. It’s a pretty good one. So those would be my two recommendations if you’re going for more.

literal just translation there. A new one that I have recently gotten into, this one, hold on real quick, let me grab it. This is actually my study Bible for, it’s my life council Bible. I love looking at this for some of my counseling clients and just being able to freshen up on some situations. It has all sorts of article inserts about

uh, different life issues, divorce, marriage, uh, financial issues, uh, sex, uh, same sex marriage. I mean, all sorts of, uh, hot topic type of issues. It has some great articles in the Bible itself. Um, but why I’m bringing this up, like, hey, if you want to get the life council Bible, I’ll, I’ll include a link in the description to you. They can get this specific Bible. Um, but even more than that, um, this Bible is a Christian standard Bible, CSB.

I actually hadn’t heard of this until recently. My pastor recommended this specific Bible to me. And what I like about the CSB is that it does a pretty good job of making things fairly consistent with the original language. It’s not like if you’ve heard of the Message Bible. That one to its credit, it’s not trying to be literal.

Johnny Sanders (17:03.574)

but it takes quite some liberties in its translation approach. It uses very casual type of language. So the CSV doesn’t do that. It stays pretty, you know, pretty consistent. And if you read the CSV side by side with the ESV, okay, by and large, you’re gonna see that it’s pretty much the same thing. But what I really like about the CSV, and I might look into this, and,

future Bible reading plans down the road, it is a very good, in my opinion, like longer read, actually better than the ESV. The reason for this is it takes a little bit more of a meaning for meaning approach instead of a literal word by word approach. So it’s a little bit in its language approach, it’s a little bit easier to digest. So if you’re looking in a Bible reading plan…

and you’re going to read a lot of chapters at once, CSB might not be a bad option for you. It’s pretty digestible and a little bit easier to read for longer reads. If you’ve ever read the NIV, New International Version, that’s not my favorite translation out there, but think of the CSB kind of in that camp. My pastor really described this well of

CSP is kind of like a mixture of NIV and ESV. It’s kind of somewhere there in the middle there. So if you’re looking for like a longer reader, you might look at CSP. It’s a really good translation and the little experience that I’ve had with it. So first step, pick your Bible. Get that translation. I would take some time to think through what translation you’re going to read. Do some more research more so than what I gave you. I think that’s really important.

because it does really paint the picture of what you’re looking at in scripture, depending on that translation. So once you do that, then you need to pick a Bible reading plan. Now there’s a lot of Bible reading plans out there. Here’s some of my suggestion of where you should start. First is you’ve got to make this a priority. And I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m perfect at this. I’m not.

Johnny Sanders (19:27.366)

I’ve started many a Bible reading plan and got lost in Leviticus like all of the rest of you listening to this half So I’m not perfect at this but you have to make this a priority There there’s gonna be work events. There’s gonna be times you didn’t sleep Well, there’s gonna be times that your kids are sick. You’re sick There’s gonna be so many different excuses to not do your Bible reading plan. You’ve got to make this a priority. So

I’m a big fan of finding a time of day that in general is pretty open. And not only that, a time of day that’s open, but a time of day that you are, how’s a good way to say this, cognizant. That might be a good word. Give you an example between my mom and I. My mom has always been a morning person. She’s done her quiet time in the morning for years.

She just wakes up and she’s, you know, that’s kind of her more alert times. And whereas in the evening she starts to kind of peter out and she’s more tired there in the evening. I have loved the idea of doing a Bible reading plan and getting my workout done. It just being done in the morning. I think that’s fantastic. And I suggest that for anyone that is able to do that consistently. And I will say this too, if you’ve not given it a fair shot, try it.

It’s a great idea. Gets you started off in the word. Again, if you combine the exercise with it, fantastic. You’re starting your day off really well. So highly, highly recommend it. One of my issues is one is consistency. I tend to not wake up super wired and ready to go. So I’m quicker to hit that snooze button or something which again, that’s a lack of discipline on my part. I’m not saying that you can’t get better at that. You absolutely can.

Um, but aside from that, I find myself more cognizant, better able to grasp what I’m reading more so later in the day. Um, now for me, I’m not going to say doing it necessarily at 10 o’clock is the best of ideas. Um, there might be times that I get really tired then, but if I can do it when I’m well

Johnny Sanders (21:50.89)

when my brain is really able to comprehend and I’m going to find some time of the day that is generally open. Again, I’m going to use generally because if you try to find a time that you will have available every single day, you’re probably just going to keep waiting for that day. Don’t wait to make this perfect. Try to line this up the best you can and then do it. That’s that next piece is you just got to do it.

Ideally, it’s going to you’re going to do it and really comprehend it. But there’s going to be days that might be more of a slog, especially in the Leviticus out there. When you’re kind of in those law type of books of the Bible, some people really get through those really quickly. And it’s not as big of an issue. But for a lot of people, those can be a slog. And that’s okay. If it’s tougher for you to read during that time, it’s okay.

The idea here isn’t for the Bible reading plan is to understand every single word the first time you read it. It’s repetitions. It’s getting more and more information, more data into your brain, into your soul there. Maybe you need to go back and re-read some sections. That’s okay. But the goal here too is that you are going to reread these every single year. That’s why we’re trying to get this data. As far as Bible reading plans.

Again, I’m a fan of picking one, but again, pick one that is going to fit well into your schedule. There are some that are pretty hardcore. There’s some that you read like through the Bible multiple times in a year. That’s great, but I would really caution you to say like, is me taking on too much? Is that going to do more negative than positive for my Bible reading?

I know for me, if I get behind like six days or something, oh gosh, I’m never gonna catch up, what’s the point? Be careful, be careful with your selection here. Know yourself, know your psyche. And don’t fall into the trap of just because this plan says I’m seven days behind or whatever, that I’m just gonna give up. We’re not married to the plan. The plan is a tool.

Johnny Sanders (24:16.822)

The plan is a tool to keep us going and to provide a little bit of structure. The word and reading it more and understanding scripture more, that’s the goal here, not adhering to a plan. So we need to understand that the plan is a tool, it’s not the destination. That being said, one plan, I’ll actually give you a couple of plans that I’ll recommend to you. One plan is real simple.

I’ll try to see if I can find a link to this. My church always does it. All this playing is basically it just shows every chapter of scripture. And if you check off three boxes a day, which is generally a chapter a day, if you check off three of those, then you’ll get done in a year. So check off three chapters a day, thereabouts three boxes, technically, you’ll get done

Great. My pastor loves this next point though, is if you check off one box a day, then you’ll get done through the whole Bible in three years. And then if you don’t even do that, if you check all the boxes, eventually you get done. So getting through the Bible in a year is a great goal. I highly, highly recommend it. But I would much rather you check through all those boxes and

five years than to start a new Bible reading plan in January and get done in March every year. That doesn’t do us as much good as I’m faithfully checking through this. I might be taking my time, but I’m getting through it. That’s the importance is that we’re reading scripture and again and not adhere to the plan itself. So I’m not entirely sure. I’ll try to look this up off air. I didn’t

I recorded this of the name of this. But yeah, it’s basically check the box and keep moving. And it’s a really good low pressure one. One that doesn’t have any dates or anything like that on there. It’s just check off as you go. So that’s a really neat one. Next one that I recommend and I’ll give you a little more show and tell here. This is the ESV, going back to that, Chronological Bible. This is one that…

Johnny Sanders (26:41.802)

Um, I’ve actually not read this Bible. Um, excuse me, I’ve got a ESV. So that’s not new to me. Um, but the way this one is, is written and what’s cool about this Bible actually is it, um, I don’t know if this will be able to be picked up very well on air. So sorry, Ian, if you’re looking at this and getting mad at me, um, but it breaks up each of the individual readings, um, by day.

And again, this is chronological. So it’s not just Genesis through Revelation. It takes when each of these books of the Bible were actually physically written. And you read those in order that way. So it’s kind of neat that you’ll see different books of the Bible. You’ll read them together when you normally don’t in different Bible reading plans. So you can do the chronological Bible study.

Uh, you can do this without this specific Bible. Um, there’s all sorts of plans out there that you can do that. The ESV kind of has their specific one, but I’m sure there’s other ones out there. Um, but yeah, you can read this with any translation you want. What’s cool about this one is like I said, the actual Bible itself is sectioned out by chronological. It’s not like your normal Bible. So this is a really cool resource. My wife and I are going to be.

trying out this year. We’re gonna be reading it together. And we’ll be doing that in the evenings after our kids go to bed. So, cool recommendation. And I’ll definitely include that in the links below so you guys can check that out. Now, next thing, regardless of what Bible reading plan you choose, you can choose whatever you would like to. I’m gonna recommend as well to do some Bible study on top of that. So, you might be asking like,

What are you talking about? We were just talking about Bible studies. Well, Bible study, I mean, it can be used interchangeably with Bible reading. But what I mean by Bible study is taking it in a very slow rate. So this Bible, the chronological Bible, we’re going to go through this with a 10,000 foot view and we’re, you know, to read through the Bible in a year, going fairly quickly against that three.

Johnny Sanders (29:07.274)

some chapters a day, but you’re hitting it and we’re not really just going back to ask a lot of questions. We’re just getting that data, data. The Bible study, what I mean by that is taking more specific books of the Bible or even specific chapters or verses of the Bible and slowing down. What does this verse in Romans 8, what does it Romans 8, 1, what does that mean? And getting very specific in that.

And a tool that my wife and I are going to use for that, again, we’re going to do this in conjunction with the Chronological Bible, is there is a magazine called Table Talk Magazine. It is by Ligonier Ministries. So they’ve got all sorts of articles and things like that in this magazine, but in the back of it, they have a Bible study. So they’ll pick like a specific book of the Bible or something like that.

and they’ll slowly go through. I’m not entirely sure how many verses they go at a time, but we’re talking like five to 10-ish, I think somewhere in that range, verses at a time. Whereas a Bible reading plan, we’re taking three Summall chapters at a time. So this really slows down, gives more of a specific look at it. You could also do this through like a Bible study.

So if you’ve got like a, um, an ESV study Bible, for instance, that’s a good one. Uh, John MacArthur’s got some study Bibles. There’s all sorts of study Bibles. You can do it that way. There’s all sorts of good devotionals out there or commentaries that you can look at. Um, or you can even just pick a specific book of the Bible and just, just rate it. Uh, that, that can be one, a great way to.

do a Bible study is instead of, you know, while in conjunction, while you’re doing your Bible reading plan, picking a book of the Bible and instead of going on to the next one, just reading it again, reading it again, reading it again, um, and get really in depth with that book of the Bible and understand it really well. Like for instance, your goal for the year, just throwing this book out there is maybe you take the book of John and while you’re reading through

Johnny Sanders (31:31.834)

all of scripture on top of that, you’re reading through the book of John intently. Maybe you don’t read it all in one sitting that would take a while, but you take three chapters of John a day while you’re reading everything else. Let’s go through John. Maybe you take John chapter one and really read that for a whole month or something like that. I mean, there’s all sorts of different ways to do this.

But I do think in conjunction with the Bible reading, doing some Bible study on top of it, getting more specific can really, really help deepen that scripture reading. I hope these are helpful for you. Like I said, I would love for you to give me some feedback if you’re watching this on YouTube or podcast, like the audio podcast, Apple podcast, if you’re on my sub stack or any of my social media channels.

Just give me a comment. What do you think of these type of episodes? Would you like to do something like this once a month where I go a little bit more deeper into a feedback from a, from my audience member. So do some more faithful feedback. I’d love to hear your output there. As always, I really, really appreciate you guys. Thank you so much for listening. Don’t forget to check out the mug. Again, it’s in the link below or the merch shop on

fait I hope you guys have a great New Year and really think through water ways that I can deepen my understanding of scripture in 2024. I’ll catch you guys at the next episode.