I struggle to make time to read God’s word daily. I listen to an ESV Audio Bible by Max McLean during my 40 minute morning commute. But this is still not a perfect replacement for reading God’s word at your desk, recliner or nook table.
John MacArthur has prepared 4 daily devotionals designed to be read over an entire year. To read each daily entry requires only a few minutes. These devotionals are great for individuals whose time is very limited. Below is a brief summary of each of the devotionals.
Drawing Near was the first daily devotional that John MacArthur published. The book contains 365 pages, and you read one page each day. There is usually 1-2 verses at the top of the page, and MacArthur expounds on the meaning of that verse. MacArthur gives a suggested topic of prayer and additional passages of Scripture for further study. There is also a one year Bible reading plan at the appendix of the book.
The devotional does not select a random verses each day. Instead, it goes through a larger Bible passage verse by verse. For example, you will go through the first chapter of Ephesians during the month of January. You will then cover the first 11 verses of Philippians 1 during the next three weeks in February. For August 5-27, you will go through 1 Corinthians 13:1-7.
When I went through this devotional, it felt like I was reading a subpoint of a full sermon each day. It was very accessible, and it was the first devotional I had successfully completed over the course of a full year.
Strength for Today is a sequel to Drawing Near. It follows the same format. You read one page each day. There is a bible verse that you read. 4-5 paragraphs expound on the meaning and significance of the bible verse. The devotional suggests a topic of prayer, followed by a Bible passage to read for further study.
I should note that the reading is very fast. You are not reading a commentary on the verse. MacArthur usually gives at least 2 illustrations to help connect the verse to practical change. There is a lot of continuity also because you are going verse by verse through a larger passage.
The devotional focuses much more on New Testament passages. I personally like reading and reflecting on the New Testament and the new covenant. If you want more exposure with the Old Testament, this is not the devotional.
This is another devotional that is organized to be completed in a year. Each month, MacArthur covers a major theme. The 12 themes are as follows.
Each day, MacArthur highlights one verse in the Bible. He then writes several paragraphs that expound on the verse. The daily entries in Truth for Today are shorter than Drawing Near and Strength for Today.
I actually do not recommend this devotional as a daily devotional. It was more practical for me to go through this book in larger chunks. I might read 7 entries on a Saturday morning, and cover each theme in 4 weeks. The book is a little less devotional, and many individual entries did not seem substantial enough as an independent reading for the day.
There are currently three volumes in this series, and the format is very similar to Drawing Near and Strength for Today. This is a great devotional series if you want to primarily focus on reading the life of Jesus and go through the gospels of Matthew and John.
The first volume begins in Matthew 3 with a verse by verse reading of the baptism of Jesus. One page is to be read each day, and MacArthur explains the meaning of one verse with each entry. He asks questions to help you reflect on the significance of the verse. He also suggests a prayer topic that relates to what you have read.
I plan to start this series as a daily devotional reading with my family soon, perhaps before each breakfast. Each reading can be read in 2 minutes.
A Final Suggestion – MacArthur Daily Bible
John MacArthur has a Daily Bible that he has published. This Bible, unfortunately, is only published in the New King James Version. The Bible is formatted to have you read the entire Bible in 365 days. Each day, you will read a passage from the Old Testament, a portion of the Psalms, a part of Proverbs, and the New Testament.
The daily reading plan is my favorite, as I get a little bit of Old testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs each day. My first daily reading plan was simply reading from Genesis through Revelation. I always dreaded weeks when I was in Leviticus or a Major Prophet (i.e. Jeremiah).
If you just want to reading 10-15 minutes a day, and you want to read larger portions of Scripture, a daily Bible reading plan like the MacArthur Daily Bible can be very helpful.
I am convinced that even with our busy schedules, being in the Bible each day is invaluable to all Christians. You rarely go a full day without food. You shouldn’t go a full day without reading God’s Word.
John MacArthur has published a lot of helpful suggestions and resources for daily devotionals that are very accessible, so check them out if you are looking for something new to go through each day.