I’ve got to get something off my chest. I know this is risky. I’m sure I’ll be misunderstood. There may even be some backlash. But I’ve got to say it. Especially since it’s January.
I don’t like the “read the Bible in a year” plans.
I think it’s a terrible idea. I know it goes against Christian culture. I know there are dozens of plans available. I know many Bibles include it. I know lots of people, pastors and ministries support it. But really – it’s a bad idea.
Because it values quantity over quality. Because it makes reading the Bible seem like a project on your to-do list. Because it forces you to rush through chapters in order to stay on schedule. Because if you fall behind, you’ll never catch up and will more than likely give up. Because you probably won’t remember very much of what you’ve read at the end of the year.
And what’s the purpose? Just to say you’ve read the entire Bible in a year’s time?
I’m not so sure this is how it’s supposed to work.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in reading the Bible. I believe we should read it every day. I believe we should read all of it – every book, every chapter, every verse. But I don’t think it’s something to be rushed. And I don’t think it should be an item to be checked off your to-do list.
Think about this: Colossians 2:3 says In Him [Jesus] lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And John 1:14 says the Word became human and made His home among us. In Jesus, Who is the Word, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The Bible is full of treasures. That’s just not something you hurry through. That’s going to take time to mine and excavate.
Reading the Bible is like reading a love letter. You have to take the time to savor every word. Drink in its meaning and absorb the intent. You need to read and re-read passages and let Truth wash over you. You must soak it in, allowing it to water your dry and thirsty soul. Time is needed for meditation and rumination. Linger in His Presence and allow Holy Spirit to speak to you. Wait on Him to bring revelation and understanding.
And when you’ve absorbed His Word deeply, you’re in a much better position to be impacted and experience change. You’re now in a position to actually do something with what you’ve read. You are positioned to encounter God and experience the supernatural. You’re positioned for intimacy with Him.
But none of that will happen if the clock is ticking and you’re desperate to meet a deadline. You’ll miss the beauty and intimacy if you’re racing through.
And how do I know this? Because I’ve done this.
So I encourage you toss out that plan for cramming reading in a year. Instead, choose a starting place and begin to read, asking Holy Spirit for wisdom and understanding as you read. Read every day. Take your time. Stop and ponder. Cross reference for better understanding. Meditate. Write down your thoughts. Write down what you hear Him saying to you. Ruminate. The number of verses/chapters is irrelevant. Just read and let Him speak.
Then return to that same place tomorrow, picking up where you left off. And read through that book again and again until you’ve exhausted it, drawing all you possibly can from it. You may read that same book for 4 months – that’s OK! You could spend a lifetime in that one book and never find all the hidden treasure there. Take your time. There’s no rush!
And if it takes you three years – five years – to make it through the entire Bible, so be it.