Confession I, Quiet Time

ReadingOver the next few weeks I’m going to write a series of “confessions.” The first confession is about my “quiet time.” However, before I get to the actual confession there’s one small thing I need to confess:

I hate the phrase “quiet time.” Really, I don’t like the term at all. When I hear the words “quiet time” I immediately picture some sort of eastern meditation (empty your mind), or something parents use to punish unruly children (think time out). Maybe this is just a personal pet-peeve (entirely possible), or maybe I’m on to something. I do know that I’m never going to ask the blue-collar-oil-field-workers in my church if they had their “quiet time” this week. I’ll stick with Bible reading and prayer.

Now for the confession: I’m behind on my Bible reading this year.

Towards the end of 2015 I purchased a new ESV One Year Bible based on the M’Cheyne reading plan. Like most of you I started off great, not missing a day for several weeks. Then I ran into an unexpected road block. The Bible I ordered contained a misprint. On a certain date the reading assignment looped back to a previous date. Entire months were missing, and an entire section repeated throughout the Bible. Crossway was kind enough to replace the Bible at no cost, but the shipping process set me back several weeks. I told myself I’d catch up when the new Bible arrived, but by the time it showed up I had established a new habit. As of today (July 19), I’m two months behind. I fully intend to catch up by the end of 2016, but that’s my confession: I’m behind on my Bible reading.

Here are 2 lessons to take away from this “confession.”

First, having an actual plan for your Bible reading (or, if you prefer, quiet time) is really important. Looking back over the last 20 years of my life I know that I always read more and I always read more consistently when I have a plan. There have been times I’ve tried to start in Genesis and read to Revelation, without plan or a schedule. Eventually I end up making it through the entire Bible, but I know it takes me longer than it should.

Second, Bible reading is hard and it requires discipline. Many begin with good intentions in January. New Year’s resolutions are easy to make, but they’re also easy to break. If you’ve ever started out with a Bible reading plan only to find yourself struggling weeks or months later, you’re not alone. Other Christians struggle with the same thing. Pastors struggle with the same thing. Don’t give up, keep working at this spiritual discipline.

Next week’s confession: family devotions.

Originally published July 19, 2016 on