I never opened my Bible on Christmas.
I wasn’t impressed with my priorities, but as I put my kids to bed that night, I snuggled up with my daughter for a bit by the tree lights. And as I laid there with her, I thought, this girl’s understanding of the Christmas story didn’t hinge on this one day.
While I hope that we can have some better traditions going forward, I can’t help but think it’s so important, so necessary to build lives rooted in the Word – year round. The celebration of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus should never be reduced to a holiday. Because a relationship with someone could never be sustained with such scarce attention.
Several years ago, I read the book Radical, by David Platt. It’s both powerful and intense. And at the end, he had several challenges for his readers. One of those challenges was to read the whole Bible. So I took his challenge. And this is my challenge for readers today: read the whole Bible.
In all honesty, it took me five years to read through the Bible in a year my first time. But every time I go through it, I learn new things. And every time I go through it, I add more question marks. It’s a journey, and it’s a relationship, and it is so wildly worth the attention. Jesus is so wildly worth the attention, because, for some reason, he thinks we are so wildly worth his attention.
Personally, I’ve made a decision to read through the Bible every other year, so I can dig deeper into passages in the interim years.
You make time for the things that matter to you. Sometimes it’s a greater sacrifice, and sometimes things fall into place better. Sometimes it’s choppy, and sometimes you’re able to do all the reading in one sitting. Sometimes you get behind, sometimes you get more behind, and sometimes you can catch up a bit. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being present. It’s about being available to our heavenly Father, who knows us and wants us to know him.
In general, it takes about 15-20 minutes of reading per day. There are a whole host of plans and resources available, and I have a few favorites linked below.
However it works for you, whichever method or combination is most practical, my encouragement for the new year is to read the whole Bible. Get to know the God who made you. Dive deeper in your understanding of context – to specific passages and to the Bible as a whole. And, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen,” (2 Peter 3:18).
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. – Psalm 119:18
I love praying this every time I open my Bible, asking God to reveal whatever he wants me to know or see.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
I’m a mother of 3 littles. I get it. Sometimes you simply can not talk to your kids about Jesus when you’re walking down the road. Because the walk is more like a sprint, panting as you chase after those racing bike wheels. Or the walk is more of a painful drag, carrying home a screaming, melting down child. But God is Sovereign. He is Lord over time. He is Lord over moments. And if we ask him for opportunities to chat with our kids or spouses or friends or neighbors… He can give it to us.
For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45
NLT One Year Study Bible – Option 1 or Option 2
Personally, I think this is a great start for someone who is more new to reading the Bible. This was the first one I read through. The NLT translation is more readable and easier to understand. You get some Old Testament, some New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs each day. And there are commentary/devotional notes.
NIV Chronological Bible
This is actually the book I am just finishing. It’s been amazing. I’ve never read the Bible chronologically, and this has helped to piece so much together. It also includes commentary and historical context.
Multiple plans on the Holy Bible app. (Find plans – Search – Bible in one year)
Podcast – 1 Year Daily Audio Bible, Brian Hardin
5-Day Bible Reading Plan
I love that this plan allows you to read in your own Bible. This will probably be the next one I do.
Try to do this with someone! Grab a family member, a friend, a co-worker, and read it together. And then talk about it! What are you learning? What don’t you understand?
Please, please, feel free to reach out with any questions or if it isn’t in your end-of-year budget to purchase a new Bible!