Tuesday, November 30, 2021

It’s Daily Devotional Buying Season

Reading the Bible
It’s that time of year when people start thinking about their next devotional or getting one for someone else, so I want to tell you about some good ones.

I like devotionals with a lot of scripture in them. Human opinion is fallible, so let’s focus on what isn’t.

Meet the Bible by Philip Yancey and Brenda Quinn is the best I’ve found with respect to that. It goes through the Bible mostly chronologically. Each entry is largely scripture with a little commentary actually related to the passage. Entries are undated, so you can easily start whenever you like. It's a big book because the entries are longer than most devotionals due to the length of the scripture quotations.

The Songs of Jesus by Tim and Kathy Keller is a much smaller book with shorter entries in the same style. It divides the Psalms up into 366 sections with devotional thoughts.

For some people, a devotional is all they read — they rarely read in the Bible itself. For those people I especially recommend devotionals with more scripture. Those who will also open their Bible can get away with the verse-a-day style devotionals.

Through the Bible Through the Year by John Stott is one I’ve recommended before. It also goes through the Bible more or less chronologically, starting with one or two verses and then devotional commentary that actually deals with the verse(s) in context. Each entry also includes recommended further reading in the scriptures. This one starts in September, but you can easily start the Sunday before Christmas by starting with week 16 or the new year in week 18, then going back to page one next September.

God's Wisdom for Navigating Life also by Tim and Kathy Keller takes a verse or two from the various OT wisdom books and gives a devotional on the topic of those verses.

Holiness Day by Day by Jerry Bridges is a collection of excerpts from his many books with an applicable verse attached. The more I read of Bridges, the more I think we should just read everything he writes. This is a good way to get a sample of a great many of his books (which you will then probably want to read in their entirety). It is all about helping us to grow more Christ-like. Entries aren’t dated; they’re just “Week 1/Monday”, etc. So you can easily start this one next Monday if you like.

I do hope you spend time in the Bible every (or at least most) day whether you read a devotional or not. You might also think about making it a more than once a day thing. If you normally spend time in the scriptures, for example, in the morning, then perhaps a short devotional at lunch could help you recenter. If living the Christian life in this fallen world seems easy, we’re probably not doing it right. Intentionally turning our thoughts back to our Lord throughout the day can help us stay focused on his character and mission.

Image via Pixabay

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