14 December 2017

Reading through the Bible in a Year: 2017

A few days into 2017, I decided to read through the entire Bible before the end of the year. A few things went into this decision--I'd discovered The Bible Project sometime earlier, and had found their videos and posters to be really fun resources for Bible education. They had published a "read the Bible in a year" plan. I have read the entire Bible before, but not in the context of an orderly read-through within a relatively short timeframe, so I was intrigued. Always with Bible study, you end up having favorite parts that get re-read countless times till you could quote them in your sleep, while other parts of Scripture are neglected. I was also still very much grieving, and looking for a way to focus my Scriptural study beyond the sadness that weighed heavily on my everydays.

I decided to, and so I did. But of course, I didn't mention this little challenge for myself to anyone outside of the family here. For one thing, I tend to believe actually living out my faith is more important than talking/posting about practicing my faith (reasons why John B. Crist's "Christian Girl Instagram" video cracks. me. up.). I also don't think that daily devotions/Scripture reading is the answer for all that ails us (Instead, I think total transformation from the inside out, something that can only be accomplished by the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit, IS the answer). Besides all that, very few goals that get set at the beginning of the year end up being the sort of goals that you're still following through with at the end of the year. Angel and my immediate family here knew, and my dad even took up the challenge for himself, which made it fun because we could often talk at the dinner table about the crazy story we read in the Old Testament today.

But now it's the end of the year, and I'm about to be starting Revelation, so at this point I think it's quite likely I'll will actually follow through with my goal. There's only a couple pages left. And not in a bragging or "Christian Girl Instagram" kind of way do I want to talk about this, but I do want to share what I've learned through this year-long project, for those who may be thinking of challenging themselves in a similar way.

To prepare for this challenge: I printed out the two pages of Bible reading plan offered on their website and laminated them so that they'd survive the year. I'm low-tech. I like real books and real paper. My dad had a totally different strategy, instead using the digital version of the reading plan on his phone.

What I learned from this year:

1. You have enough time for anything that you want to do seriously enough. I wasn't sure at the beginning of the year that I'd have the time to follow through with my goal--and considering that the year involved a month spent hopping around the USA followed by several months spent in a constant haze of napping and vomiting...and all the normal work and commitments and events of everyday life...never was keeping up with daily readings a problem. There were a handful of times that I read a couple days worth at once, like on the long airplane ride across the ocean, but in general, it was easier than I thought it would be to make the time for this. Much of the time, I was able to read the Bible during the early mornings while looking out over that view of the jungle from our apartment windows (pictured above)--but other days it was in the car, or airplane, or someone else's home, or any other random place, but it still got read.

2. It was REALLY cool to read through the entire Bible in an organized fashion within this relatively short timeframe. Most of the time, I think that the study style of doing in-depth studies of small parts of Scripture is more effective than simply reading huge chunks. But I loved getting the overarching view of the whole Bible, of reading all these very different books so close together that I could still vividly remember what I read in the books that came previously. The "big picture" of the Bible was really cool to see in this way.

3. I was reminded of some really crazy stories that are in the Bible--that I either never knew existed, didn't pay attention to the first time, or had completely forgotten about. Honestly, I find the Bible extremely amusing. The same Bible stories and the same Bible passages are re-told and re-preached so often that we sometimes forget about the less popular tales. I have a great appreciation for these lesser-known stories and comments in Scripture. Like the guy who was left-handed and killed a very fat king. How would you like to go down in the Bible for that? I'm left-handed, so maybe that's why I'm partial to that one.

4. This past year, a very good and exciting year, has also been one of fighting to choose not to let my emotions and worries take over.  The miscarriage of my first baby left me devastated, and pregnancy after miscarriage--something that still feels "too soon" to write about--has been a journey of daily choosing faith over fear. A journey of knowing that even though I truly cannot control what happens to me or to my child, I can choose to rest in the knowledge that God is still God, and that truth does not depend on my emotions. Having this daily journey through the Bible has been something I've looked forward to as I've sought to make that consistent choice of faith to be Spirit-led and not tossed about everyday circumstances and statistics. It's felt like an anchor of sorts that reminds me where I belong.

I'm very glad I spent this last year reading through the entirety of Scripture. I know that this practice certainly shaped my year for the better and showed me much that I have yet to fully learn. I didn't expect how much sheer fun I would have with this challenge, but it's been a delightful part of this past year, and a challenge that, for me, seemed to come at just the right time.
Kristina said...

<3 Thanks for sharing your heart.

Kristin said...

I've tried this at least once before (maybe twice) with limited success. I'll check out this project's schedule...
That video about Christian Girl Instagram was too funny and SO true.

Michelle said...

John Crist is my FAVORITE! He’s so funny.

This is great. I’ve read through the whole Bible like this a few times, but due to life it usually takes me a few months longer than a year. The Youversion app is my favorite way of doing it, though I want to switch back to reading in an actual Bible.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your post, I'm encouraged to take on this challenge in 2018. I deal with anxiety and I think this will be a great way to focus on God and fully rely on Him.

Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad said...

I always crash and burn with these types of plans but I know I need to just push through. Maybe 2018 is the year I'll force myself to stick with it!

Tayler Morrell said...

I love reading the Bible through, like a story. I only read two chapters a day, but I am almost finished with the entire thing for the second time in my life...I'm in Revelations for me. It's so interesting! and fun! And the best thing about the Word of will ALWAYS discover something new and meaningful everytime you read it!