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It’s nearly halfway through the year, and for the first time I’m halfway through a ‘read the Bible in one year’ program. I’ve tried before, but never made it past February. This time, to make it as easy as possible, I’ve used a plan available in one of the Bible apps on my phone. Having everything to hand (wherever I may be) has made it easier to keep to the schedule. Having spent this time reading the Bible, I have been able to reflect on the process and put together some ideas on what I’ve experienced.
Strange as it may seem, I have noticed some negatives. The plan is process driven. This means that there is the potential to focus more on ‘ticking off’ each day, rather than enjoying and meditating on God’s word. To try and combat this I highlight at least one verse for further reflection or to memorise. Furthermore, I don’t have maps, commentaries and other resources to hand when reading. So it can be difficult to have a good idea of some of that useful extra information, such as where armies are moving, and which king is coming from where. Again, the highlighting and comments are handy for noting things to come back to for further investigation.
The biggest pitfall is to credit myself with bonus righteousness. As if by ticking off Bible passages I can make myself more holy. But this temptation exists with all sorts of things and does not counteract the positives I’ve encountered. And in reading God’s word, I am shown time and time again God’s nature, and transported humbly to the foot of the cross.
The most obvious benefit is having recent, regular exposure to the Bible. This makes it easier to bring things to mind during sermons, Bible study, conference, and conversations – to draw links between different parts of Scripture. It always seems to be the way, that passages you’ve recently read crop up other areas. Recalling God’s word in this way helps to remind me that it is truly living and active, coherent, trustworthy, and useful.
Of course, reading the whole Bible, in a year, means reading all of it. Not just a highlights package, but the humdrum, repetitive, messy and ugly bits. And God is at work in the midst of it all. God is not just there in the tales of heroics and mighty deeds. You can see his plan at work in the genealogies. You can see his people trusting in him as they build the tabernacle according to the specifications passed down through Moses. You can see his plans for salvation working out through unlikely people and events. You can see different aspects of Jesus’ life and work through the different Gospels. ALL of the Bible is God-breathed.
Finally, I’m spending time reading the Bible. This is a good thing. And needs no further qualification. Time with God’s word is good. Even better, I get to read the whole Bible, and see God’s plan of salvation unfold.
So, I would encourage you spend time reading God’s word. If the whole Bible in a year sounds too daunting, then the current Bible reading challenge is the perfect opportunity to kick off a habit that will have eternal benefit.
5pm congregation member