I have a confession to make. It's a little embarrassing and some of you may think of me differently. I've been working up the courage, so here it goes.
I have never read the Bible cover-to-cover.
I know. It's shocking, right? Here I am, a Christian for most of my life. Grew up in a Christian home, went to Christian schools, teaches at a Christian school. I write Christian articles for a Christian news site. And yet, I have never picked up the Bible and read from Genesis to Revelation in one continuous effort.
Now, don't get me wrong - I have read most of the Bible. In my 32 and a bit years on this earth I have read, studied, taught the Bible. And I, like many of you, have read and reread certain books too many times to count. The gospels have been thoroughly explored. So too have most of Paul's letters, and whoever wrote Hebrews.
I read Revelation straight after my parents gave me the Left Behind series. Psalms and Proverbs have had their fair share of face time. And who can forget the book of Jeremiah (at least the chapter 29, verse 11 bit).
Like many Christians I have attempted a Bible read through. And like many Christians I have read Genesis, Exodus, and half of Leviticus every year or so before I inevitably go back to the well traversed passages of the New Testament.
This year is different though. This year I have a plan of attack.
This plan consists of two parts: choosing a plan and sticking to it.
Step One: Choosing the right plan
I know, I know, I probably should have used one of these a long time ago. But I always thought the socks and sandals dude with Bible-reading plan tucked in the back of his leather Bible carry case was a bit of a nerd. In my aged wisdom (30 plus is old, right?) I see now that the nerdy Bible guy was right all along. Not about the socks and sandals (I haven't got up to Leviticus yet, but I'm pretty sure it's in there) but about having a well devised strategy to read through God's Word.
So my first step was finding the correct plan. It sounds odd, but there are so many different kinds of Bible-reading plans. There are read the Bible in a year plans, read the Bible in two year plans, read the Bible chronologically plan, read half the Bible plans, read the Bible with your children plans. . . So. Many. Plans.
Although reading the Bible is not about you (spoiler alert) it is wise to pick a plan that is going to be manageable and help you stay consistent.
I chose a plan that allowed me to read the Bible chronologically in a year (link posted at the bottom). I'm a history guy, so to read the story in 'order' helps me stay focused on the narrative. If you are wondering, this is the same approach I have to watching Marvel movies.
This Bible reading plan also has a short daily podcast which gives me some in-depth commentary and a brief take away point on who God is. This allows me to walk away into my day with a nugget of God's truth to meditate on, rather than trying to remember something important from the 3 or 4 chapters I've just read all on my own.
Step Two: Sticking to the plan
The second part of the plan involves accountability.
Its easy to start an ambitious plan in the Christmas holidays, but when life gets back to normal and the business of work, church commitments, and family settle in, these best laid plans go awry. There has to be a way to stay the course. That's where accountability becomes essential.
I'm doing this reading plan with a group of guys from church. We catch-up every Wednesday morning to do a brief Bible reading and to make sure we are all still on the journey. Accountability doesn't mean we slap each other across the ears if we miss a day here and there. Knowing there are other guys, shoulder to shoulder with me, gives me that encouragement I need to jump into the Word every day (even if I don't feel like it). It makes me feel less alone.
Accountability also comes in the form of this article. You see, every month I have pledged to write an article about my journey through the Bible in a year. I want to chronicle what I learn and how I grow, so that it may be an encouragement to you as well. And nothing says accountability like telling thousands of people that I'm going to do something. Now I'd better do it...
By the time this article is published, I should be past the first few books of the Old Testament, about to embark on the post-Moses books. I'll be stepping into regions that many Bible nerds have walked before. I'm looking forward to becoming one of them.
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