Are you up for a challenge? How about trying to read the Bible through this year? It’s not too late to start.
I’ve heard so many people who would love to read the Bible through in a year, but never completed the task. It’s nearly impossible for the pastor to preach through all of it, so you are going to miss something unless you study on your own. Sadly, most believers haven’t read all the Bible. Some of the best nuggets of truth I discovered on my own, reading through the Bible in a year.
For several decades, I have practiced an every other year read through of the Bible. Usually on even number years, I read through the Bible as part of my daily devotion time. On the other years, I read the Bible more thematically or spend more time in certain books. I believe both are important in our spiritual formation.
7 tips to read the Bible through in a year:
Ask God to give you the motivation and strength to accomplish this goal. You can’t read the Bible effectively like any other book. You need God’s Spirit to help you.
Pick an easy to read version
This year I’m reading through in The Message Version. I’ve never done that. Granted, this is a paraphrase and shouldn’t be considered a “study Bible”. And I’m keeping a more literal version nearby for reference. But I’m excited about the colorful way The Message illustrates Scriptures I’ve read previously. If this is your first time I probably would pick a more literal version. A decade ago I wrote about different versions. I’d update that today to use CSB in place of HCSB.
Find a plan to help you discipline
You could simply read three chapters a day and do fine, but I have found having a printed checklist helps keep me disciplined. It may seem mechanical to some, but it will keep you on task. YouVersion has many plans to follow. There are more than you can imagine. The key is to find one. I like the balance of reading some Old and New Testament each day. There are even chronological versions of how we believe the events of the Bible happened. The key is to choose one which works for you. Here’s the one Cheryl and I are using this year.
Find a place
Choose the time and place which works best and you will most likely stick with through the year. I find mornings work best for me. Since I travel frequently, I can’t have just one place. When I’m home, I usually sit at my home desk. I have often used the dining room table, because I know I’ll be less distracted. For me, I need to turn off everything else and simply concentrate on the Bible reading to be most effective.
Document your reading
I’ve found I get more out of my reading if I journal along the way what it’s saying to me. Even if I don’t understand it completely, writing the questions I have down helps me process them later and eventually something else I read seems to help answer my questions. This is another benefit to the YouVersion app. It allows you to highlight and comment on verses which stand out to you.
It will likely take you on average about 15-20 minutes per day to complete this. Once you’ve done it consistently for 30 days or so, you’ll be well on your way to having a habit formed.
Catch up when needed
If you miss a day, don’t sweat it – and don’t quit. Spend a little extra time and play catch up on what you missed. Of course, if you do this too many times you’ll eventually give up, so the key is discipline, but extend grace to yourself as you move through the year. Also, if you didn’t start on the first, start on the 2nd, or the 22nd, and go through the same time next year. You can begin today. There’s no legalism here – just encouragement! You can do this!
Let me be clear. You DON’T have to read the Bible through in a year. There’s no pressure to do so. No special crown or blessing is given for those that do from how I interpret Scripture. You aren’t less of a Christian if you never do. But I suspect you’ll be glad when you do.