Anthony W. Brooks
We’ve all tried it. Starting in Genesis we will make it at a swift pace and work our way through creation and the flood. Abraham receiving the sign from God… Lot being rescued from the city as God rains down fire from heaven… then we may or may not read the genealogies as we go, but when we’ve made it into Exodus and get to the plans for the Tabernacle and such we fade. We miss one day, then two, then the next week we try to play catch up. But, alas, it is no good. We’ve missed too much and we might as well call it quits.
Solutions that might surprise you
It doesn’t have to be this way. Like a good infomercial I am here to inform you that there is a better way to do this. Two months ago I started out on an ambitious endeavor to read through the Bible in six months. I am on pace. I have already read through 35% in two months. I have in the past read through the entire Bible six times since I was 16 and I have skipped a few years but I do not desire to do this anymore. So if I can get it done in six months then I might try it in three, we’ll see. So below I will lay out some helpful hints to aid you in your reading.
1. Understand that the scriptures are God’s words to his people. They are how he speaks to us and guides us. If there is a portion of the Bible that we have not read or heard we don’t have the entire counsel of God, only part. This is important to understand going in.
2. Keep track of your reading on an external source. I have an IPhone so I use this app. It allows me to record the chapters I’ve read and gives individual book percentages of completion as well as a full Bible completion so I know how far along I am.
3. If you are not a fast or careful reader then listen to the Bible being read. In earlier years the Bible was not often available to the common individual so they would have it read to them by their ministers. This is a good way to read broadly. There are plenty of apps and online programs that have free audio bibles to read to you. This is a valid form of reading.
4. If you fall off the wagon get back on. I know it can be frustrating but completing your read through in 2 years is better than not completing it at all.
5. The average reader can read through the Bible in about 70 hours. Some estimates say closer to only 60. That is less than three days straight. We all live lives of course so I understand that this is an impossible task to actually accomplish but if you break that up into 30 minutes a day you would be there in about 4-5 months.
6. Don’t confuse Bible reading and Bible study. Bible reading is broad and helps you get the grasp on the big picture. Bible study is narrow and focuses on individual sentences and words. I do daily readings and study. Don’t feel bad about reading through a text with no study involved it helps to get a grasp on the narrative before you study the teaching and construct involved in the narrative.
7. Choose a Bible that is easy to read. A translation that you are comfortable using. I use ESV for everything I do because it is my most familiar translation. But for you that could be the NIV or NLT or even KJV or NASB. Also, format is key. The layout on the page does not need to be distracting. A simple reference Bible without all of the maps, charts, notes, and references may be helpful. My Bible of choice is a simple large print reference Bible.
8. Mark and note passages that you want to go back to for further reflection. Let your broad reading be a help to your study. It is always helpful to intermingle the two because it is easy to separate those two points of piety. Keep a notebook and list out interesting points of study for the future with the reference and add to those points as you go along.
9. Start off heavy. Do this for two weeks straight and it will become a habit. When you miss it will seem as if you have missed a huge part of your day. Build up to it and be excited to do it.
10. Pray. Reading God’s Word is half of a conversation. Him speaking to you. Pray it back to him. Incorporate these scriptures into your prayer life and I promise you that you will be edified in that exchange.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Picture: My ESV Creeds and Confessions Bible that I use for my reading.