The danger of Bible reading plans!

Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843) 

Robert Murray M'Cheyne (1813-1843) 

Bible Reading Plans are great, but not without danger. In the 19thC M'Cheyne warned his Scottish congregation of 4 potential dangers. His language is old fashioned, but worth bearing with as his  warnings are helpful:

(1.) Self-righteousness.  Some, when they have devoted their set time to reading of
the Word, and accomplished their prescribed portion, may be tempted to look at
themselves with self-complacency. Many, I am persuaded, are living without any
Divine work on their soul – unpardoned and unsanctified, and ready to perish – who
spend their appointed times in secret and family devotion. This is going to hell with a
lie in their right hand.

(2.) Careless reading.  Few tremble at the Word of God. Few, in reading it, hear the
voice of Jehovah, which is full of majesty. Some, by having so large a portion, may
be tempted to weary of it, as Israel did of the daily manna, saying – “Our soul
loatheth this light bread;” and to read it in a slight and careless manner. This would
be fearfully provoking to God. Take heed lest that word be true of you – “Ye said,
also, Behold what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of

(3.) Formality.  We are such weak creatures that any regularly returning duty is apt to
degenerate into a lifeless form. The tendency of reading the Word by a fixed rule
may, in some minds, be to create this skeleton religion. This is to be the peculiar sin
of the last days – “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
Guard against this. Let the calendar perish rather than this rust eat up your souls.

(4.) A yoke to heavy to bear. Some may engage in reading with alacrity for a time, and
afterwards feel it a burden, grievous to be borne. They may find conscience
dragging them through the appointed task without any relish of the heavenly food. If
this be the case with any, throw aside the fetter, and feed at liberty in the sweet
garden of God. My desire is not to cast a snare upon you, but to be a helper of your

Pray that the Lord will guard you from these dangers and bring you much joy as you read his Word. 

Thankfully, M'Cheyne didn't only warn of the dangers, he also spoke of the benefits, I'll put these in another post. 

What other dangers might we fall into?