27 Dec What I Learned Reading the Entire Bible This Year
When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, I will have read the entire Bible from beginning to end this year. I made the commitment to stick to it no matter what, and if the last few days of 2016 don’t throw me a crazy curve ball, I will have done it.
I’m not some kind of super-Christian, and every day hasn’t been a gloriously amazing experience where I heard angelic choirs singing as I read.
Some days, I wanted to skip it. In some books (Leviticus anyone?), I wanted to pull my hair out. I seriously looked at my husband some days and said things like, “I cannot read one more genealogy. I don’t care who begat whom. Why do I need to know the dimensions of this building? How do you pronounce Beninu?”
There were days I got frustrated. Times I began to daydream. Moments when I questioned if there was any application to my life.
But now that I’m nearly finished, I’m so glad I stuck to the task.
Here are some things I learned while reading the entire Bible this year:
- It’s not like reading any other book. Duh, I know, but the app I used skipped around sometimes, and there wasn’t a narrative that held my attention from beginning to end like Gone Girl or To Kill a Mockingbird. The Bible isn’t a book – it’s a collection of books, and reading it requires a different approach from the reading I typically do. I kept having to remind myself to focus in a different way.
- It is really hard to read the whole Bible in a year. Y’all, the Bible is a complex thing, and it’s not written on a third-grade reading level like the news articles I consume each day. There’s a lot I don’t understand from a cultural perspective, and there’s a lot I don’t get because I’m not a Biblical scholar. Yes, the Bible is meant for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s available for the common man while being simultaneously challenging for the brightest among us.
- Committing to this task required a lot of discipline. Some days I read early in the mornings, and some days life pushed my reading until after I got in the bed. Some days I read in the car line picking up my kids, and some days I read tailgating at college football games. (True story.) Just like with anything we want to do for God, Satan will try to distract and defeat us. There’s nothing he hates more than us knowing and applying Scripture to our lives, so he launches a full-out assault on our plans to read the Bible.
- The app I used helped me stay on track, but I really prefer using a physical copy of the Bible. I’m one of those people who underlines and takes notes when I read, and when I do this again, I will definitely use my trusty old Bible instead of my phone.
- I’m super glad I live in AD instead of BC. Maybe I’m selfish, but I am so happy I can pray for forgiveness rather than take a pigeon to the temple to atone for my sin.
- Reading the Bible is an exercise in futility if you don’t pray for revelation. There were some days when I approached the Word with a checklist mentality, a desire to get it done and an attitude of “let’s see what this says today.” When I neglected to ask God to speak through his word, I read it without hearing from him. Every single time.
- Reading the Bible in a year should not replace other types of Bible study and devotion. I still think it’s important to dive deeply into Scripture, which is typically not part of a 365 day reading plan.
- God really, really loves people. Over and over I read stories about people disobeying and doing things that should have disappointed God, but He gave them second chances and forgiveness they didn’t deserve. Every single page speaks of God’s ridiculous love for his people, and every day I was reminded of what I have that I don’t deserve.
- I take for granted the right to even have a Bible (OK, multiple Bibles). Reading it every day gave me a new appreciation for the fact I have access to it every day. For so much of my life I kept it dusty on a shelf, but immersing myself in it daily made me grateful for the gift it is.
- God doesn’t love you more if you read the Bible every day. (And he doesn’t love you less if you don’t.) Yes, I’m glad I disciplined myself, and I’m happy I can say I read the whole thing this year, but my standing in God’s eyes hasn’t changed.
So there you have it – the Bible in a year. It can be done, and I did it. Let me encourage you to try it for yourself if you never have. I used the YouVersion app plan called “The Bible in a Year,” and every day I read from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and a chapter from Psalms or Proverbs every other day. It’s manageable enough to be completed, but challenging enough to keep you on your toes.
Spiritual discipline should mark the life of a believer, and the discipline of studying God’s Word is one I can vouch for firsthand.
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