Last year, my husband and I made the New Year's resolution to read the entire Bible in a year. I'm thrilled to say that by December 30th, we had successfully read it cover to cover. This was monumental because one, it was the first time I ever completed a New Year's resolution, and two, it was the first time I'd ever read the entire Bible. Here's what I learned:
We Are Designed to Do Things as a Community
When God made the world, He called His creation good. But there was one thing that was not good. It was not good for Adam to be alone. God knew what He was doing when He gave Adam Eve. A big reason I was able to follow through was my husband. Having a community and an accountability partner is such an important aspect of our journey as Christians, and yet it's one I feel, unfortunately, often gets overlooked.
Western society is very independent. We've got this "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps" mentality, which is not how God designed us.
There's a reason people recovering from addictions spend time with fellow and former addicts. There's a reason the family unit is so important to their recovery. As humans, we do so much better when we don't do things alone.
I've tried on several occasions to read the Bible straight through, and I've always failed. The big difference this time was I was doing it with someone, and that, I believe, is the main reason we succeeded.
Part of a Bigger Picture
When you read bits and pieces of the Bible without its full context, the stories of the Bible can seem disjointed and unrelated. When you read the full story, you start to see the overarching themes. You see how things all fit together. It's a story about a broken people that God loves anyway and uses to bring about His plan to redeem all of humanity, and you truly start to understand God's character.
The Bible Says That?!
Yep. The Bible says that. I've heard people say the Bible is a guidebook for life. And while there are plenty of subjects the Bible is silent on, there are plenty of subjects it does have something to say about. Subjects you wouldn't think it covers (looking at you, Proverbs and Song of Solomon). The Bible really is relevant and applicable to our lives, even in the year 2023.
I Can Achieve My Goals
You can check out my recent blog post on sticking with your goals HERE, but I've proven to myself that I can do the things I set out to do. This can largely be attributed to doing it as a team with my husband, but I showed myself that through determination and commitment, it can be done.
A Great First Step as Part of Bigger Journey
Reading the Bible in a year was great because we had a clearly defined goal within a set amount of time. Well defined goals have a much higher rate of success. It's great to be able to say I've read the whole Bible and have a better perspective and understanding of its narrative as a whole. However, as far as continually growing in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ, I wouldn't recommend doing it this way more than once.
There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible and 365 days in a year. Depending on the length of the chapters, that's roughly 3-6 per day. You are really going through the Bible at a break-neck pace. As my husband and I both work and have a house to maintain as well as other responsibilities, this gave us time for simply reading words on a page and not much else. There's nothing wrong with that. Reading the words and understanding the story on a surface level is a great first step.
Next step is taking time to slowly digest the words and make deeper, more meaningful connections within the text itself, and within our lives and hearts. That's something you can't do if you only have a year to read. Next up, we're going to try a two or three year plan.
I know the task of spending time in God's word may seem daunting, but it is so important. And it's easier if you do it with a friend. There are also countless resources available to help you make sense of what you're reading. Two of my favorites are the YouTube channel The Bible Project and GotQuestions.org.