Let’s begin 2014 with a confession: in 2013, for the first time EVER, I read my Bible through from beginning to end.
Now, I know that sounds like a not-so-humblebrag, but it’s really a confession. It’s a confession because it makes me a hypocrite.
For years, I have been encouraging people to read through the Bible in a year. I’ve done that because I’ve heard a bunch of Christian leaders encourage me to do the same. So…it’s got to be a good thing, right?
Until now, I couldn’t answer that question from my own personal experience. Because I’d never done it.
Oh, I’ve read every bit of the Bible! I’m a pastor, after all.
(Actually, there are probably a bunch of pastors out there who haven’t done even that.)
Not that this makes me special. (Confessing, not bragging, remember?) It’s no virtue to do something that every literate Christian ought to have done. Especially if you’re supposed to be leading by teaching the very book you’re encouraging people to read.
And I’ve read it. Every bit of it. I’m reading some of it just about every day of my life. Some of it I’ve read more times than I can count.
But I’ve never read through it in a single calendar year. Until now.
What made me start? Outside of the grace of God, I’m not really sure, except for that low-grade guilt that so many Christians feel when they realize they’re not reading the Bible like someone else thinks they should. That, and the belief that it really is a good thing to do. I mean, the longest “chapter” in the Bible (Psalm 119) is about how the Bible itself is an indispensable medium between a man and his God. Jesus is called “the Word,” and “all Scripture is profitable.” So many good reasons to do a good thing.
What made me continue? Again, by the grace of God, I used a little tool called Logos. As a complete package, it’s probably the best Bible study computer program ever. But it also gives you the ability to create your own Bible reading plan – what sections, how often, etc. – and sync it across all of your desktop and mobile platforms.
For me, I chose to read some from the Old Testament, some from the New, and something from the Psalms, every Monday through Saturday. No Sunday? No. I’m praying all day and usually teaching from three different passages of Scripture. Planning an extra Sunday reading seemed self-defeating, and it allowed for a day to catch up if I fell behind. (It happened. For about three months I was a week behind schedule for a number of reasons.)
I recommend this arrangement. The OT gives context for everything else and reveals so much of God’s purpose in flesh and blood detail. The NT provides grace and often, some immediate application. And the Psalms offers directed worship. Amazingly, I continually found my daily readings complementing one another as the Lord spoke to me by his Word.
Any Christian reader already knows that this is a good thing to do, and if the statistics are remotely accurate, you’re probably not doing it very often.
Look, I’m a hypocrite. And you are too. We both recommended something that we’ve probably never done.
Now I’ve done it.
And I’m going to do it again! This year I’m adding a dose of wisdom each day, something from Proverbs-Ecclesiastes. Can’t hurt.
So, if we’re going to be hypocrites, let’s do something about it. Join me in 2014. Let’s read the Bible through.
(This post is part of Jeff Goins’s 500 Words a Day Challenge)
Have you done this already? How many times? Would you recommend it to others? Or something different?