If you are thinking about reading through the Bible next year, but don’t want to wait to get into a good Bible reading plan, here is an idea…read through the New Testament in 90 days.
After reading the book of 1st John thirty times in the month of January, I am aiming to read the books of 2nd John, 3rd John, and Jude thirty times in the month of February. That means I will need to read these books once a day for all 28 days, and then double up a couple of those days.
Would you consider joining me?
If you are on Facebook, you are invited to join our RBR group. Request membership at this link HERE.
Also, I’ve mapped out my RBR plan for the following three months as well…
March – Matthew 5-7
April – John 12-14
May – John 15-17
Finally, I have designed a simple bookmark to help mark progress. You may download it below.
Does the Bible really say “FEAR NOT” 365 times… one for each day of the year?
No, it does not. The two word combo “FEAR NOT” appears only 71 times in the King James Version of the Bible, a far cry from 365.
But what if we include variations of the phrase, such as “do not be afraid” or even “be courageous,” which is the positive way of telling us to not be afraid? It still gets us no where near 365 times. In fact, it won’t even get us to 200.
No matter how you try to count the word fear, or it’s synonyms, and associate it with a command not to do it, you cannot come up with anywhere close to 365 references in the Bible. And it doesn’t matter what Bible translation you use.
But there is one way to get there and that is to eliminate the “command” aspect of the equation and count all the time the word “FEAR” is used in the Bible. The only problem with this approach is that by using this method we overshoot the target of 365 because the word “FEAR” is found a whopping 501 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Other translations have far less uses of the word. For example, the word appears in the ESV only 437 times and in the NIV only 336 times. You may wonder, “Why the great discrepancy between English translations?” Because these modern translations use synonyms like “terrified” more frequently.
So now that the 365x myth is busted, does this mean that we now have reason to fear?
Not at all.
I am not going to take the time to research every command in the Bible and how often it is repeated, but I have a suspicion that if “FEAR NOT” is not the most frequently found command in the Bible, then it is certainly near the top of the list. Also, how many times does God have to say something for us to take it seriously? ONCE should be enough.
So, I hate to bust the bubble of all the people who love posting on social media how awesome it is that there is exactly one “FEAR NOT” command for every day of the year, but at least now they won’t have to worry about what to do on the final day of a leap year. 🙂
Back in college I heard about a powerful way of reading the Bible that was as challenging as rewarding. Take a book, or portion of a book of the Bible and read it every day for a month. So, as a late teen I did it with the books of James, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 John before flaming out. At that point in my life I lacked the maturity and self-discipline to continue the practice, even though it was clearly a worthwhile endeavor.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I was challenged by the example of a friend to pick up the practice again. So in November I read the book of Philippians 30 times. It was powerful! On about the 22nd day the Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly and specifically in a way that was amazing. One simple phrase from chapter 1 leapt off the page and took deep root in my heart, providing much comfort and hope. I head read that particular phrase probably hundreds of times, but through the repetitive reading, the Lord really pressed it home for me in the deepest part of my being. It’s hard to put into words.
In December I read the book of James 30 times. Again, it has been powerful. This time it hasn’t been a particular verse or phrase, but it has been the Lord taking a particular topic and causing me to dig deeper into how to start making lifestyle changes to bring my life in alignment with what God is saying about that area of life. Again, it’s something that I have “known” in my mind for decades. But it’s an area where I have been disobedient to the Lord, and fooling myself into thinking I was not disobedient. It’s something that I’ve ignored and made excuses (very spiritual sounding ones) about for years. But the repetitive reading… I haven’t been able to escape the Spirit pressing me on the issue. So changes are in the works for me in that particular area.
And now I plan to read the book of 1st John 30 times in January.
I’ve never heard an official name for this practice so I have started calling it Repetitive Bible Reading (RBR). Not very creative, but I think it communicates the practice well.
If you are interested in trying Repetitive Bible Reading, here are some helpful tips:
(1) Pray before you begin each time. Ask the Lord to have at least one thing “jump off the page” to you as something you can apply immediately to your life.
(2) Keep a record of your progress. Because you will be doing it every day for a month, it’s easy to forget if you did that day or not, so by keeping a record, you can avoid that confusion. Also, as you progress through the month it serves as a motivator for you to complete the month.
(3) If possible, use a real Bible rather than your phone or electronic device, preferably the BIble you use most. By using the same Bible, your brain will kind of memorize where each verse is on the page. Which will be helpful in the future when you are looking for a verse from that book of the Bible.
(4) If you get a little behind, don’t give up. Do 2 per day until you are caught up. It is worth it!
For those who would like to join me in reading 1st John repititively (30x) in January, here is a pdf checklist to mark your 30x to read it Simply download and print and then cut into three separate bookmarks… one for yourself and two for others who might want to join you. Accountability is greater when you have some friends do it also!
There are 59 “one another” (or “each other”) commands in the New Testament. But because of repetition, the list can be reduced to 34… 28 positive commands (do this), and 6 negative commands (don’t do this) :
- “…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9.50)
- “…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13.14)
- “…Love one another…” (John 13.35×2,25;15.12,17; Romans 13.8; 1 Thessalonians 4.9; 1 Peter 3.8,4.8; 1 John 3.11,23;4.7,11,12; 2 John 5)
- “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12.10)
- “…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12.10)
- “Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12.16; 1 Peter 3.8)
- “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15.7)
- “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15.14; Colossians 3.16)
- “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16.16; 1 Corinthians 16.20; 2 Corinthians 13.12; 1 Peter 5.14)
- “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (1 Corinthians 11.33)
- “…Have equal concern for each other.” (1 Corinthians 12.25)
- “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5.13)
- “Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6.2)
- “…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4.2; Colossians 3.13)
- “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4.32)
- “…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4.32; Colossians 3.13)
- “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5.19)
- “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5.21)
- “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2.3; 1 Peter 5.5)
- “…Admonish one another” (Colossians 3.16)
- “…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (1 Thessalonians 3.12)
- “…Encourage each other…” (1 Thessalonians 4.18, 5.11)
- “…Build each other up…” (1 Thessalonians 5.11)
- “…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10.24)
- “Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5.16)
- “…Pray for each other.” (James 5.16)
- “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4.9)
- “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (1 Peter 4.10)
The NEGATIVE “one-anothers”:
- “…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14.13)
- “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5.15)
- “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5.26)
- “Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3.9)
- “…Do not slander one another.” (James 4.11)
- “Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5.9)