ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…” – 2 Timothy 3.16
I cannot emphasize this enough…One of the best things you can do as a follower of Jesus Christ is read the Bible… all of it.
Accept the challenge to read through the entire Bible…
It amazes me how many Christians have never read the entire Bible. Many of these Christians have completed several Bible studies (which is good) and heard numerous Bible sermons (which is good), but have never read the entire Bible. Actually, many professing Christians have not even read much of the Bible, let alone the whole thing. And yet, make no mistake about it.. ALL of the Bible is inspired by God and is profitable.
MY STORY OF READING THE BIBLE
Let me be honest with you… I was such a Christian for many years… even though I majored in Christian Studies in college, and went to seminary for two more degrees: a Masters of Divinity (lots of Bible and ministry classes) and a Doctor of Ministry (more Bible and ministry classes). It wasn’t until I was in my mid-30s that I actually read through the entire Bible.
Then, at 38 years old, I became depressed for the first time in my life. It lasted about six months. Intense Bible reading is what the Lord used to pull me out of my depression.
For several years now I have made it a habit to read through the entire Bible in a year. It has been one of the greatest disciplines I have established in my life.
THE BIBLE WILL BLESS YOU!
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
– Psalm 1.1-3
ELIMINATE THE EXCUSES
“…man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord…” – Deuteronomy 8.3… which is quoted by Jesus as recorded in Matthew 4.4… “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
In the two verses above, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, I hope you noticed the phrase “every word.” God says we are to live by His words… ALL of them.
What excuse do you have to not read the entire Bible?
Here are some common ones I’ve come across through the years:
“I don’t have time to read the Bible.”
“The Bible is too hard to understand.”
“I tried to read through the Bible and I got stuck in Leviticus.”
Or, for those who were able to persevere through Leviticus…”I tried to read through the Bible and I couldn’t make it past the begats.” (this is a reference to the geneaologies in the Old Testament… the word begat is used in the King James translation… And Nahshon begat Salma, and Salma begat Boaz, And Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse...). In other words, there are parts of the Bible which are… let’s be honest… rather boring.
I’d like to help you eliminate those excuses, or any other excuses you might have.
UTILIZE THE TOOLS
There is no doubt, it takes a certain level of self-discipline to read through the whole Bible… especially in one year. In a culture that is all about instant gratification and a myriad of options for on demand entertainment, it’s hard to have enough discipline to sit down and actually read the Word of God. That’s why I want to share with you my top 10 list of effective tools to help you give God’s Word more attention in your life.
The BIG Three:
- MOTIVATION: List out your WHYs (at least 3 reasons for reading through the Bible in one year).
- PLAN: Choose a Bible reading plan. > There are several helpful Bible reading plans out there. Find one that works for you.
- ACCOUNTABILITY: Get an accountability partner (preferably one who is also pursuing this goal).
Other Helpful Hints:
- Use a readable Bible translation. I recommend you start with a smooth translation, like the NIV or NLT.
- Print out a tracking system (to mark your progress).
- When you miss a day (not if, but when), double up the very next day.
- Establish a routine. (same place, same time…).
- Pray about your Bible reading.
- Consider using an audio Bible as an aid (but not a replacement).
- Identify the chief competitors for your attention (sleep, TV, movies, other books, internet, social media, etc.). Consider the superiority of the Bible over them.
- When you hit the wall, review your WHYs.
- Plan a reward for when you finish.
START WITH THE NEW TESTAMENT
Don’t feel like you have to read through the whole Bible in a year! Although it is a great practice, you might want to start with the goal of reading the whole New Testament this year. It’s kind of like starting with training wheels. Build up as you progress!
Maybe in year two you read through the whole Old Testament, and then in year three read through the whole thing.
I hope you will make reading the entire Bible an ongoing habit in your life that will bless you for many years to come.
IT’S WORTH IT!
Certainly this promise at the start of the book of Revelation applies to reading the entire word of God… Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1.3, NKJV). Notice that it says that if you even read it you will be blessed. Of course, if you obey it you will be more blessed, but just reading it alone is a blessing!