About a year ago I challenged myself to actually read the bible all the way through. Front cover to back. Today I can report I’ve finished. If your new to this personal venture of mine, you could read the midway update post. I wanted to check in with everyone to state what I learned in the past year. The act of consistently reading everyday has taught me about myself, God and the bible itself.
To play quick catch up: Everyday I read my bible according to a set plan. Some days I was required to read 2 chapters. Some days 10. After a while things got more and more difficult. But I stuck with the task. It was worth it. I was explaining to Lindsey yesterday although I’ve read all the way through, I don’t feel I am some bible scholar now. And if early readers recall, that was never the point. The original objective was simple, just read!
You see, I was having issues with the “just read” part. I think a bunch of people do, but we’re all ashamed to say anything. We’re ashamed we *really* don’t care. I have no shame in saying that. That’s definitely how I felt a year ago. I just didn’t care. To be incredibly honest, I couldn’t care less. That realization was overwhelming frightening to me. Thats why I pushed so hard to make this a priority. I wanted to read for my own sake and my families sake. I was introduced to the King James Bible a little over 8 years ago. So in that sense, I’ve always felt a little behind the eight ball compared to life-longers . But when I was finally honest with myself and realized I just didn’t care about reading, I felt like a scared hypocrite.
Maybe Christians nowadays don’t want reading the bible to be a priority, or more accurately, maybe they don’t think the “act” of reading it should be hard. Maybe they think because reading in a consistent manner is so time consuming and difficult, something is wrong with them and they look the other way. Nothing can be further from the truth, though. Reading is hard. Dedication is hard. Discipline is hard. Anything you do that is worthwhile in life is going to be a hard, upstream swim. Why should reading the bible be any different?
After 1 year of day in and out reading. I could tell everyone this. If I can do it, any of you can. The gains were worth it. To become familiar with the bible is worth your time and effort. Im not saying that in a “from the pulpit, talking down to you” sort of way. Im saying it in a human to human way. This book is worth the praise. The accolades were right. The praise is accurate. The King James bible holds up like no other piece of art form I’ve ever experienced before.
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not all of a sudden a bible scholar. Very, very, very far from it. But I now have a good “feel” for the bible like I’ve never had in the past. I could really sense the broad strokes of the New Testament very clearly now. Thats something you get with personal, concentrated, quiet time. Thats how you build. Constructing relationships take time and effort. Why did I assume Bible reading and my relationship with God would be different?
Church is fantastic. It’s a great place to go and fill up and be around like minded people. It’s not the whole thing though. Very far from it. Reading the bible through for a year has taught me to turn my Christian life inside out. To refocus my aim and effort. My focus is now more on the days in between church and attempting to reach people. Thats what the Bible has taught me the most this past year. People. Reaching out. Helping. Having compassion.
You could certainly say I should have known this from just going to church. And I did. But by reading my bible for 365 days straight. Now I believe it.
Looking forward I am going to continue my reading. But I’ve made some changes. Some of the cons of last years plan was the amount of reading they required a day. For me, some content went by the wayside. I never liked that. In 2017 I am just focusing on the New Testament and 1 chapter a day. Im going to accompany that one chapter a day with studying on that chapter after.
If 2016 was about completing the bible for the first time. 2017 will be about digging through the NT. I think thats a natural progression. Reading through the bible has given me a decent to good foundation on everything I thought I was familiar with. Now concentrating on just the NT will allow a clear focus.
Im really excited about what 2017 brings and what I will learn from God and His word. I also want to thank some of you who emailed me after my initial post and either encouraged me or gave me some guidance. That was very cool and unexpected.
It’s a funny feeling to finish a year long plan of reading. About a month before I completed I started thinking of what direction I wanted to go in next. In the back of my mind was the not read option lingering. Immediately, I squashed it. After a reading the same book for a year. Leaving it at this point would be leaving a part of me. I don’t want me and the Bible to ever be strangers again. I understand I need to it way more then it needs me, but our relationship is just growing, I pray. So, after reading for year, I can honestly say I don’t have any intention of stopping. Usually when you embark on a reading plan your always eyeing that finish line. I feel at this point in my life this is just the beginning, though. And with God’s help, I pray I never reach a finish line.
If you are reading this today without a starting point, I hope this post didn’t hit you with a punch of condemnation. If I meant to do anything by writing this, it was maybe inspire someone who is in the same place I was a year ago. I implore you to try and read. Just a little.
Many have asked what tools I used to read. I picked the YOUVERSE BIBLE app for iPhone and under plans I selected “CHRONOLOGICAL” . Like I mentioned, some days it got tough, but hopefully your desire outweighs the difficulty. I particularly liked YOUVERSION’s layout and simplicity. The app organized my daily reading in a very simple way. You could even configure it to push you reminders for your reading.
Again, Thanks everyone for following this journey with me. Here to hoping I can continue through this year and to your and my reading in 2017!