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One of my goals this year is to read the Bible from cover to cover. Despite having accepted Christ at a young age, I have actually never read the Bible all the way through.
When I lived at home, for family devotions, we read a chapter of the Bible a night, so technically, I've "heard" the Bible from cover to cover. But, let's be honest. I don't remember much from then other than the usual Bible stories. In youth group, we were given many devotions to work through. And I also went to a Christian school and college, where I took many, many Bible classes. Not going to lie, but by my early twenties, I was completely "Christian-ed" out. That's a completely terrible thing to say, but it's true. I figured "I know my Bible... I'm good. I don't need to really read it."
A few years ago, I started feeling like I was empty. I knew I needed to get back in the Word. And that's around the time I stumbled upon Daily Grace Co. I decided to buy one of the devotionals to work on. Around this time, I started finding other Christian bloggers and podcasters who were also sharing their testimonies. One podcaster/blogger in particular caught my attention-- Lindsay Dryer from the Let's Be Real podcast. I love following her on Instagram! She has such a love for God and His Word. Last year, she decided to read the Bible from cover to cover and completed it in 62 days. I was absolutely blown away! That is crazy!
That's when I realized that there is no magic formula for reading the Bible. I just had to do it. I started on January 1st. And I just started reading. I didn't have a set number of chapters. I just read until I felt like stopping. And that's how I'll be doing this journey.
I decided to just "free-read" because I don't want to get caught up in the numbers. I don't want to limit myself in how many chapters I should read because every day is different for me. Some days, I may only read one chapter, other days, I may read ten.
I am also not giving myself a goal date to finish. My goal is to simply FINISH.
When I told Dan about this, he looked at me a little funny and said, "This is great, but if you're not getting anything out of reading (because I was reading so freely), what's the point in reading the Bible cover to cover?" I totally get it! It almost sounds a little rogue just reading the Bible cover to cover with no plan to follow.
However, in this journey, there are a couple of things I'm looking out for.
This may sound nerdy, but I love ancestry and history. In this journey, I'm looking out for is the people, places, numbers, genealogies, etc. and I want to connect the dots. I find that sort of thing really interesting now (even though as a kid, I found it so boring and unnecessary!).
I'm also looking out for character traits of God. And where does God show up? I know all the Sunday School stories... like how God showed up when Elijah, the widow and her son were fed throughout the famine. Or when the Israelites escaped Pharoah and Egypt. But, are there more that I'm missing? I'm sure there are!
I have a few tools to help me with this journey and staying engaged:
1) The Bible
I got this Journal the Word Bible from Amazon. I love it! It has wide margins for notes and the paper isn't too thin, so I can write in it without worrying about ripping the pages. This particular Bible contains a ton of headers, so you have an idea of what you are reading. This is especially helpful with the genealogies. For example, Genesis 49, where Jacob is giving his prophecy and blessing, contains many headers separating each son and their particular message.
If you are looking for a Bible that isn't hardbound or maybe something that's more neutral looking, my dad owns this one and it's also really nice!
2) The Story of Redemption Series
There are a lot of things in the Bible that I just don't get. And frankly, there are some things that just go over my head. I am loving this four-part series which takes you through the Bible from Genesis to Revelations. After reading my Bible, I've gone back to The Story of Redemption Series to re-read and soak in what I've read. Sometimes, I'll even go back to my Bible and read a particular verse or chapter that stood out to me.
Along with reading my BIble cover to cover, I am also doing an in-depth study of Ecclesiastes. I've been using Ecclesiastes: Wisdom for Living Well study. (I'm two weeks away from finishing! YAY!) With this study, I have been using a highlighting method introduced at the beginning of the devotional. I figured, might as well keep it consistent. And now, I am highlighting as I go.
Along with reading my Bible cover to cover, I am also doing an in-depth study to dive a little deeper into each book of the Bible. Right now, I am finishing up Ecclesiastes: Wisdom for Living Well study. After, I'll be doing either Proverbs or Psalms from the Daily Grace Co. I haven't decided yet. :-)
I'm documenting my journey on Instagram-- so feel free to follow me there! (@blissfulsouthernlife) I'll also occasionally be checking in and letting you all know my progress here on the blog!
Let me encourage you-- if you've never read the Bible cover to cover, it's never too late to start! Just jump on in. And if you do, let me know! We can encourage each other to keep going.
Let me know in the comments-- are you studying the Bible this year? What are you studying? I hope you all are off to a great start this 2018!