Anyone attempting to read the Bible through in a year has probably, by now, hit a wall. You're probably in Leviticus or Numbers and you're thinking, "Oh my word, this is boring!" So you give yourself some grace--a few days off or a skim over the really monotonous parts--and before you know it you're way off track.
How do I know this? I've been there.
Reading the Bible through in a year is a noble goal, to be sure, and one I used to try to keep myself. But it's also a goal that I’d inevitably fail. I’d start out each new year reading Genesis, sometimes dipping my toe into Exodus, until the year got busy and my Bible reading got completely derailed. In my frustration over not being able to keep up, I’d just give up and spend the rest of the year reading a verse here and there or a devotional now and then.
But the thing is, I really wanted to read the Bible in its entirety. I knew there were parts of the Bible I had never read and that were probably very important. I knew that the whole Bible was meant to tell the storyline of Jesus, and I wanted to see that more clearly. I felt like a failure each February or March when my reading slacked off and I couldn’t keep up.
All that changed when I did one simple thing—I took off the pressure to finish it in a year. One year I started with a reading plan, but when I got off-track or behind in my reading, I just ignored the date and kept going when I could. The first time, it took me two years to get through the Bible. But something funny happened when I turned the last page of Revelation—I couldn’t wait to start again.
So I did.
The next time, it didn’t take me quite as long, but it definitely took me longer than a year. But that didn’t matter—I just kept going. When I stopped worrying about keeping up with a reading plan, I started just enjoying God’s word. And now, even after several times through, I still can’t wait to read my Bible. It’s amazing to me that every time I read God’s word I get something new out of it.
I write this to encourage you, friend. Maybe you’re there right now. We’re a couple of months into the new year and maybe you’re already behind. If you’ve been frustrated with Bible reading or maybe, like me, you’ve read Genesis twenty-five times, but have never gotten to Hosea, I want to encourage you to just keep going. Don’t worry about finishing in a year . . . or even two. Just keep reading.
Find a reading plan without dates and start checking off the boxes (I do like to check off the boxes!). I like to use a chronological reading plan because it makes more sense to me and instead of reading straight through, it skips around a bit. Right now I’m working through a modified chronological reading plan that has Old Testament and New Testament readings in it.
And if you really need help, here's a link to over fifteen different Bible reading plans. Just pick one and get going!
Reading the Bible will change your life--I know this. That's why I'm encouraging you to do it. No guilt if you can't keep up. No guilt if you skim a little bit through some of the crazy laws of Leviticus. No guilt if you don't understand it all. Just read.
And be blessed.