Everywhere I look I’m seeing guides, tips, & tricks to reading through the whole Bible in 2011. The basics are that we are all different, we all communicate with God differently & we all need to find our own reading style. These insights are great encouragers however if you get so caught up in finding the right plan or trick that your style ends up being a no reading plan than you’re in trouble. It’s so easy to be focused on doing something the best way that we miss out on the journey.
I think it’s important to dig into the word every day but the hardest part for me: picking up the Bible. I’m a girl with a plan but sometimes the best times to read my Bible are when I feel inspired to do so throughout the day, off of the schedule. God wants to spend time with you, the same way you want to spend time with your kids or a good friend (not because your plan tells you to but because you want to). Sharing and inspiring. Don’t beat yourself up over missing a scheduled reading or skipping a day; jump back on the reading bandwagon and enjoy the journey. What’s your bible reading “plan”? Are you planning on reading through the whole Bible this year?
I got such a kick out of Jon Acuff’s (Stuff Christians Like Blog) tips for reading the Bible I had to include it:
1. Don’t get suckered in by the stories.
In most front to back Bible plans, you’ve only read Genesis 1-7 so far by January 3. That’s Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah. That’s like the Die Hard trilogy! Action packed! But beware, some “begets” are coming, lineage is on it’s way.
2. Look out for lineage.
I’m not sure if you know this or not, but the sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras. That’s where you’re headed my friend, right into the land of lineage. I’m not sure if Biblically we’re allowed to skim sections that say, “Gomer beget Ashkenaz,” (We need a ruling on that from someone who has gone to seminary) but there will be some random nuggets mixed in there. For instance, Nimrod was a “mighty hunter before the Lord.” Not sure if that’s the first image we all think of with that name anymore.
3. Don’t get hung up on translation updates.
I’m reading through the updated NIV right now and in Genesis 4:1, it says, “Adam made love to his wife Eve.” I felt like I had never heard that before and looked in my older version of the NIV which says, “Adam lay with his wife.” Those are two very different phrases to me. One is what I assumed folks in the OT did. The other reminds me of Prince and Boys II Men. At this point, I’m thinking, “this is what it sounds like, when doves cry,” and have completely lost my train of thought. Don’t be like me. Stay focused.
4. Make it easy.
We Christians get crazy legalistic when it comes to reading through the Bible in a year. “It’s got to be my black leather Bible, in this chair, at this time of day, with this pen in my hand, while having a peppermint mocha coffee heated to 120 degrees or my reading doesn’t ‘count’ that day.” Don’t be that guy to yourself. I’m going through the Bible with a group of guys right now and we’re reading it on YouVersion. It’s online, it’s easy to use and with an iPhone in my hand it eliminates the excuse, “I can’t find my Bible, oh well, guess I’ll skip my reading.”
5. Go through it with friends.
I might be the first person in history to talk trash about a Bible reading plan, but that’s probably going to happen if one of my friends misses a day. I’ll follow the James model of rebuke, but also probably take some pointers from my fantasy basketball league on how to call out a friend on a blog in love. Going through the Bible with friends makes it fun and a whole lot easier to stay honest about your progress.
6. Start mentally preparing for Leviticus.
That book will break you. I promise. Unless you have some very specific questions about mold. It’s a beautiful book, but 87% of all read through the Bible plans jump the sea cow right here. (That will make sense once you get to Leviticus.)