The Bible Every Day: My Journey

10:13 PM

Happy New Year!  I suppose that I am more than a month late, but January was so busy that I feel like the New Year is just now starting.  A big part of the New Year is making resolutions or goals.  These goals can range from learning a new skill to exercising regularly to volunteering to just about anything.  One goal that many people make is to read the Bible regularly, or maybe even all of it in one year.

I first made reading the Bible in a year a goal in 2009 (or maybe '08; I don't remember now).  It sounded like a great idea, and it didn't occur to me that it would be very difficult.  But I kept on dropping behind on the number of chapters I needed to read per day, and before long, I was already more than a hundred chapters behind.  At that point, I had two options: I could try to catch up by reading extra or I could quit.  I suppose that I also could've just decided to read the amount I had originally planned to read per day and not worry about the extra 100+ chapters, but this didn't occur to me.  I gave it up as a failure and stopped trying to read through the Bible that year.  Because I had given up once, I was afraid to try it again for quite a while afterwards.  Sadly, my time in the Word was very low over the next few years.

By 2011, I was only reading the Bible a few days a week, and I spent very little time on it when I did.  Looking back, I can see that this really affected my attitude, because I did not begin each day with the Word of God on my mind.  I'm not sure how much my grumpiness showed through, but I felt it nearly every day.  I also felt tired -- I deceived myself into thinking that this was physical tiredness, but I can now see that it was really a spiritual weariness.  I lacked the desire to grow spiritually, and I knew that this was not right.  During this time, a teenage friend died unexpectedly.  I took it pretty hard and didn't know how to handle the grief and shock of it.  I began to doubt that I was truly a believer.  I knew that I was not the same person that I had been for the first four years of my life when I did not know God, yet something was missing in my relationship with God -- passion, maybe.
All of these struggles could be traced back to one thing: the absence of the Bible in my daily life.  As Hosea 4:6 says, a lack of knowledge of the Word of God was destroying me.  If only I had read the Bible then...but God was working to bring me back to His Word.

In 2012, several big changes happened in my life, giving me a thirst for God's Word.  I began to see how blind I had been to the beauty, power, and wisdom of Scripture, and it became my desire to read and study it more and more.  I realized that I knew and understood very little of the Bible, including some very basic General Bible Knowledge and theology.  I knew by the end of the year that I wanted to read the whole Bible in 2013.  It would be hard, but I was going to stick with it.

I printed off a basic Bible reading chart and got started.  I made an effort to read extra at the beginning, that way I would have a cushion to fall back on if I missed some days later on.  At first, I struggled a lot with paying attention while I read.  I would get to the end of a chapter about the construction of the tabernacle and realize that I couldn't remember hardly anything from what I had just read!  Sometimes I reread the chapter, but other times I just kept on going.  After a little while, it got easier, and to my surprise, I found that I was enjoying it very much.  It stopped feeling like an "ought to" and became a "want to".  I was even more shocked when I finished it in August -- 20 weeks before my goal!  I knew that it was all the grace of God, because in two years, I had gone from feeling guilty about not reading the Word, but not desiring to, to delighting in it and wanting to spend my time that way.

Every year since then, I've made it a goal to read the whole Bible, and so far, God has given me the time and ability to do so.  There will probably come a time in my life when I'm not able to read this much, but I'm thankful that I can now and I know that it has made a huge difference in my life.  There are some verses that I have never memorized, but because I see them every year, I remember them well enough and God brings them to mind when I need them.  I definitely wouldn't want to encourage legalism in Bible reading -- you can be a strong Christian without reading the whole Bible every year -- but I do want to encourage faithfulness.  Whether or not you read ten chapters or one verse each day, it's important to have the Word of God in your heart and mind at all times.  In the next post, I'd like to talk more about why it's important to read the Bible every day and in its entirety.

But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
Deuteronomy 30:14

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  1. Thanks for writing this, Anna! I love how you testify of how important it is to be in Gods Word often! I've really experienced this during BB off season- I've found my self not keeping a good habit of reading my bible often, even until I was only opening my bible on Sundays! This year I made the goal of reading the entire bible, and I've been so blessed by doing it! I've been getting a little behind recently though, and this was just what I needed to read! It's so neat how God uses his children to encourage each other- even when we don't realize how he's using us! :) Thanks again!


    1. I've experienced that, too, and it's been a struggle even this year (and I thought I would've grown out of it by now!). Wow, God's timing is always perfect! I'm glad that this was an encouragement to you.

  2. Thanks so much for the encouragement! I'm reading through the Bible too this year. I've done it before but I'm praying that this year I'll read it less for the sake of checking it off. :)

  3. This was so cool to be able to hear your journey! :) I love how you said God changed it from an ought-to to a want-to.
    I started around the same time as you and read through the New Testament + Psalms a couple times before attempting the whole Bible. When I started reading through the Bible, it was really easy to fall behind (especially through the Chronicles or the Prophets ;). My mom would make me catch-up charts and I remember one year I would read my portion of the day out-loud to her (since I was more of an auditory learner).
    A couple years ago, my brother started an online Scripture Reading Community for the Bible study he leads. One of the requirements is to post thoughts from your reading twice a month. That has really helped me think through what I'm reading in a more engaged way.
    I really liked your last point about not making Bible reading legalistic--that is SO easy to do. But ultimately God still loves us whether we do it or don't. :)
    Thanks for posting!

    1. That is neat! I also read parts of the NT and Psalms before I began to read through the whole Bible.
      The Scripture reading community is a great idea. I've been thinking recently about seeing if the girls in my church (most of them are 11ish) would like to read through the whole Bible next year and we could hold each other accountable...I'm still thinking about it, though :).
      Yes! And I think that that's something that, the more we read, the better we understand it.
      You're welcome!


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