resources for devotions and reading the Bible
One of the most important things we do as Christians is spending time in God’s Word. Whether we do this by reading the Bible, listening to the Bible, reading devotions or listening to podcasts, it instructs us, informs us, and transforms us. God’s Word is living and active and spending time in God’s Word truly strengthens and changes us by the power of God’s Spirit.
Below are some resources you can use to be in God’s Word every day.
Personal Devotions/Bible Reading:
Bible Reading: If you would like to simply read through the Bible, there are many places you can find reading plans. You can find books as well as electronic plans. Electronic plans (online or phone apps) often have the added advantage of being able to send reminders/notifications.
- One Year Bible paperback: https://www.amazon.com/One-Year-Bible-NIV/dp/0842324518
- Bible Gateway Bible Reading plans https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/?version=NIV
- YouVersion Bible App – This app has many versions of the Bible, reading plans, and some of the versions have an audiobook format. All this is free. Just look up YouVersion Bible app on your phone.
If you would like a devotion rather than just straight Bible reading, there are several options as well. You have to be a little more careful, though, with devotions. Because, by their nature, they include some interpretation, you can find devotions that are theologically sound and some which have some bad theology.
Below are some LCMS devotions, so you know they are theologically sound. Feel free to look for others, of course, but be careful and pray for discernment as you go through them.
- Portals of Prayer: https://www1.cph.org/portals/default.aspx, They also have an app for your phone: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.cph.portals_of_prayer&hl=en_US
- KFUO Thy Strong Word: https://www.kfuo.org/category/thy-strong-word/
- KFUO The Bible Study: https://www.kfuo.org/category/the-bible-study/
- LHM Devotions: https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20200205
- The Other Six: Check our blog 😉
Usually, kids need a little more than just straight Bible reading. The Bible can be over their heads and kids often do better with some other interactive elements (questions, pictures, etc.).
Similar to what I mentioned above about having to be careful about devotions, you have to be careful with kids devotions as well. Typically, there are two ways children’s storybooks or devotions tend to go astray.
- An overemphasis on the Law. Often, children’s storybooks and devotions focus almost solely on moral lessons. They try to teach kids right from wrong. Unfortunately, they lose the Gospel in the process. I have used various Bible storybooks in the past with my kids and have had to really think about the story and be intentional about sharing the Gospel (here’s what God is doing) of the story because it’s left out.
- Decision Theology. Decision theology is the idea that man has total free-will and can (and should) choose to believe in Jesus. Phrases like “Ask Jesus into your heart.” are common. The Bible, however, describes receiving faith as a gift. God comes to us and brings us to life by His Word and Spirit, giving us faith.
Below are two pretty good LCMS kids devotionals:
- Portals of Prayer Kids: https://www.cph.org/p-31032-portals-of-prayer-for-kids-daily-devotions.aspx?REName=&plk=0&Lk=0&rlk=0
- 120 Bible Stories: https://www.cph.org/p-19214-120-bible-stories.aspx?REName=Books&plk=2772&Lk=0&rlk=0 (you might need to liven it up a little)
- CPH (Concordia Publishing House) has other children’s devotions, but I haven’t tried them to know what to recommend. https://www.cph.org/
- The Other Six: Check our blog. (You may have to modify it a little for very young children.)
Whatever you choose, I encourage you to make it a habit and priority to spend time in God’s Word every day. It doesn’t matter what time of day. You may also want to combine it with another activity, like driving or jogging.
In Christ’s Service,