365 days; 8,760 hours; 525,600 minutes; and 31,536,000 seconds is the time I committed to completing the reading of the entire Bible. I have attempted to do reading plans every New Year as a resolution since I was 18 or so and I have never been able to stay committed to it. A year ago I completed a 3 hour equipping class at Grace Covenant Church that really pulled at my heart concerning the Bible. The class focused on how to study the Bible and the instructor encouraged every student to commit to a reading plan to read the Bible in a year. I made the decision that day to commit to a one year reading plan and I am so excited to share on Friday, April 22, 2016 I completed the reading of the entire Bible. This is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
With the help of http://www.bibegateway.com I was able to select the best reading plan for me which happened to be the bible in chronological order by events in the English Standard Version (ESV). This resource gives you a calendar of the assigned reading for each day. You can choose whatever translation you are comfortable with and receive daily reminders of what still needs to be read. It also allows you to check off what you have read to help some of us visual learners see we’re making progress. To read the bible in the order in which events took place gave me a greater understanding of the times and the culture in correlation with the events. The accounts made more sense and I could better understand what was transpiring as opposed to simply pulling a verse or two out of a book and developing a context from a limited background. My perspective and what I thought I knew has been changed based upon what is actually written in God’s Holy Word.
I will admit I was super tired of some of the Old Testament repetitiveness thanks to Israel’s constant reverting back to idolatry and oh my gracious alive those kings! Thank God we have evolved over the centuries…or have we? The book of Ezekiel for some reason seemed to delay my reading progress. It took me an additional week to get through Ezekiel so I had to double up on my reading assignment to catch up, but I was determined to complete this plan on time. The prophetic books were harsh and there were times when I needed to simply take a break from the reading, but I got through it with a love and appreciation for the mercy and grace of God.
Now I must share that over the course of my saved life I’m sure I’ve read the entire Bible. But reading the Bible in this more deliberate manner was about disciplining myself to stay on task and completing the assignment. I can’t even track the number of assignments I’ve let fall to the wayside because I moved on too soon for whatever reason. Now reading the Bible daily with this much intention was not for the purpose of personal study and I had to keep reminding myself of that. The Bible is full of great events and there were times I made notes on the side of my bible because I was stirred in my spirit to delve deeper into what the spirit of the Lord was saying in the reading. But to take the time to do a proper study or develop a teaching from a particular event would have thwarted the timeline. When I fell behind in the reading I had to play catch up by covering 2 days or more of reading in one sitting. It was my earnest desire to finish what I started and I did. So, maybe I will now revisit all those notes to see if my spirit is stirred to do a more in-depth study.
I won’t say that I’m an astute scholar of the Word, but I will say I have a greater love and appreciation for the redemptive work of Jesus Christ to reconcile us back to God. From Genesis to Revelation it’s all there…God’s creation of us, His disappointment in us, His plan to redeem us, His love (Jesus Christ) to lay down His life for us, His power (Holy Spirit) to keep us, and His promise to return for us. To know with certainty that He is mindful of us is humbling, and causes me to be more intentional about how I live this life before Him. His love for humanity is too great to waste time living a fruitless life. I am His child; His blood is in me and there ought to be some traits of my Father evidenced in my life.