I’m a preacher’s kid. I grew up in the church and never strayed. I attended a Christian college. I have spent my entire career in fulltime Christian service. Pretty decent Christian “resume.”
And yet, despite having reached the advanced age of 56, I have never read through the entire Bible. Never.
I’ve made a few attempts. But I would get behind a day, then several days, and then a couple weeks…and I’d give it up. It’s always easy to get bogged down in Leviticus, or example, and just lose interest.
Last year right about this time–just a day or two before the new year started–my friend Barb Kenley, a Presbyterian minister, mentioned on Facebook “The One Year Bible.” She said she’d used it several times to read through the Bible in a year.
It struck a note in my heart. I promptly downloaded the “One Year Bible” to my Nook.
What a blessing it has been!
With many plans, you read straight through the Bible, Genesis to Revelation. But the “One Year Bible” gives you a variety each day: an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a passage from the Psalms, and a few verses of Proverbs. You read straight through all four parts, at the same time. If you’re bogged down in Old Testament genealogies, you can look forward to something inspirational from the New Testament, or maybe from the Psalms. My favorite part of each day was the capstone Proverbs reading–some real gems! (You actually read through Psalms twice. On July 1, you start all over again.)
The readings required at least 20 minutes per day. To keep on track, I set a few rules for myself.
- Read each day’s selection on that day. No matter how tired I was, or how late it was–read it that day. Several times I climbed out of bed because I realized I had forgotten to read for that day.
- NEVER decide to skip a day, and just read double the next day. The days will pile up and you’ll never get caught up.
- Don’t read ahead. Even if you want to read what happens next, save tomorrow’s reading for tomorrow. Never say, “I’ll read a couple days to get ahead, and then I can take a day or two off.” Keep the daily discipline intact.
- “Read for the message, not the mileage.” I forced myself to read at a slow pace, and almost always reread certain portions just to make sure I wasn’t missing something important. I didn’t want to read to “get through it.” (Though that became my attitude with the OT prophetic books!)
Some things I learned:
- Despite attending church all my life, there are lots of stories I’d never heard.
- Parts of the Old Testament are incredibly dull. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are particularly dreadful.
- It’s extremely valuable to have the whole picture of the Bible in your head. My view of God’s Word has changed substantially.
Reading through the entire Bible is very demanding. I don’t want to continue that pace for two years in a row. So in 2013, I’m slowing down, reading entirely for the message (no mileage needed). I’m reading through the New Testament one chapter at a time, with some of the more interesting Old Testament books thrown in for filler.
But for anyone interested in reading through the entire Bible, I definitely recommend the “One Year Bible.” And I particularly recommend the New Living Translation, which I used. It rendered many familiar passages in ways which made it delightfully fresh to me. I should add that the “One Year Bible” is perfectly suited for an electronic reader, like my ColorNook.