On Reading the Word

Have you ever read through the whole entire Bible?

I have tried so many times to do this. Inevitably, I would get stuck in Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy, or I would miss a day on my schedule and get way behind. By that time, I would be so discouraged and feel so pressured to catch up that I would just dump the whole plan.

Sometime around last March, God led me to read through the entire Bible in forty days. This required reading about forty chapters a day. For me, this took about an hour, since I read quickly. To make a long story short, I made it to the end of I Chronicles on the fortieth day. The main reason I fell behind was because I didn't have a regular time to read--I would just try to squeeze it in, and some days my reading just didn't happen. I was a little discouraged, but I waned to try again. However, I didn't have time. Perhaps I should rephrase that--I didn't make time. And so, I would read a few verses in the evening just before I went to sleep, mainly to appease the guilt I felt about neglecting God's Word. I knew that studying the Bible was key to my spiritual development, but I just didn't make time.

Late last year, God began to convict me, and I decided that 2008 would be the year in which I read through the entire Bible. I started asking God how I should go about this. I knew I didn't want to do a one-year plan, since they usually prescribe only two or three chapters. At that rate, my time with God would take a mere five minutes, and that wasn't enough. So God led me to this article written by Noel Piper. I was so excited! She, too, had problems with actually reading through the whole Bible. I adapted her approach to fit me, and I love it!

The basic idea behind the way I'm reading the Bible is this: to read for one hour every morning. I'm not going in any particular order, I just read one at a time. This helps me to focus and not get bogged down. I recently finished Leviticus, and then I read John for a change, and now I'm in Acts. Someday, I will read the Bible in order. Someday, I want to read it chronologically. But at this point, the one-book-at-a-time approach is working wonderfully!

The other thing I do when I read is this: I employ three colored pencils. The blue one is to color in any verse that tells about who God is--His character and attributes. This keeps me reading carefully, so that I don't miss anything. I'm seeing God in a whole new way! He is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, the Potter, the Shepherd, the Messiah, and the Bridegroom. The red pencil is for verses relating to Jesus (mostly prophecies), like Isaiah 53. Lastly, the green pencil is for the will of God/how we are to live as followers of Christ. The epistles have green all over them. Next time I read through the Bible, I want to use a pink pencil and color in all the verses about God's love.

As I read, I write down the references of the verses that stick out to me--ones I wonder about, or like, or want to cross-reference, or think about. These I write about in my journal.

Since January 9, I have read through these:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, 2/3 of Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, 1, 2, & 3 John, and Jude.

That leaves only 22 books: I am 2/3 of the way through. I can honestly say that the only way I've done this is by the grace of God. Who would have thought that I, the queen of sleeping in, would be getting up before 5:30 nearly every morning to study the Word? Who would have thought that I, who once thought the Bible was boring, would read 2/3 of the way through it in less than two months? Who would have thought that I want to read more so much that I sometimes have to force myself to put the Bible away and do school? Not me! I still don't have it all together (I never will), but I'm making progress, because God has done this great work. I still miss mornings occasionally, if I stay up too late at night. But my day is so much sweeter when I drag myself out of bed for that precious morning hour with my beloved Savior. And His grace is enough! When I am inconsistent, He is faithful. When I am weak, He is strong. When I am broken, He makes me whole in His hands. What a wonderful LORD!

"Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you...blessed are all who wait for him...He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you...And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying "This is the way, walk in it..." " --from Isaiah 30, ESV

"The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb." --Psalm 19:7-11, ESV


Cassie said...

That is a Beautiful photo, Julia!
I bet it's your fruit tree out front...

It's so true that God is so faithful in our weakness. I love the verse in Timothy where it says "When we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."

Love you! Cassie

Julia said...

It is our fruit tree--that's the apricot branch. =)

I, too, love that verse! God is so good.

Love you, too!

Vashey Fam said...

Julia, I don't have your email. I've found some Regency dress stuff for you.

Julia said...

Thanks, Leigh! I'd rather not post it on the internet, so I'll call you and leave a message. =)