Being in God’s Word is a powerful part of our life. And our enemy will do much to keep us from it. It equips us, empowers us, gives us Truth and direction and draws us closer to the Author. An equipped church is frightening to the enemy and he will keep us distracted, discouraged and just too busy.
While my personal goal is to go through the text every year, there is nothing magic or formulaic about reading through the whole Bible in exactly one year. Some may read faster or slower, the important thing is to be in it daily. It is like food for our body – we need to be nourished regularly to be healthy and strong – not just on occasion. If you’re using a plan to get through a regular schedule and get behind – no worries! Just pick it back up and keep going.
God says, “all scripture is profitable” (2 Tim. 3:16). In the Greek, I'm guessing that all means, well…all. We live in an immediate gratification society. If we go a day or two without feeling some emotional or practical connection to what we’ve read, we can get discouraged and give up. Do as our Jewish brethren would do – dance for joy! If the text doesn’t seem to speak to me directly for today, then that means I’m prepared for tomorrow! God is good!
I would encourage you to read the Bible by itself. There is a time and a place for good devotionals and study aids – but there should also be a time to read the unfiltered text. The Bible is the very Word of God and the Jewish feeling is that every time we are in it we are having an encounter with almighty God Himself. Don’t just read it - interact with it. Talk with God as you read and process what you are hearing.
Along those same lines, how much are you really in the Bible? Or are you reading ABOUT the Bible. Good Christian material is out there, to be sure. But is your understanding of the Bible giving you a filter and discernment for what you are reading or is outside reading and input influencing what you believe about the Bible? Are you able to test if something is true by what the Bible says, or do you tend to interpret the Bible based on what someone else has said? Make sure you are actually reading the Bible more than anything else.
With all that in mind, what are some ways to pursue the whole of God’s Word?
- Straight through – my favorite (creature of habit)
- OT/NT and Psalm combo every day – Probably the most commonly used since you don’t have to wait until September to get to NT!
- Chronological – arranges the books in the historical order of how they actually happened
- A variety of plans can be found online (Biblegateway, youversion, studylight.org)
- Change to a new translation every year – you may see familiar passages in a fresh light
- Use an audio version – did you know the Bible was originally heard (read aloud) and not read alone in private? This can also be done while walking or driving.
Our Bible, God’s Word, is a great gift. Given by God but passed to us through faithful believers who, in some instances, gave their life to make sure we have it. Let us pursue it with passion and let God change the world through changing us.