How to Read through the Bible in 2011 (and why you should)

27 12 2010

One bite at a time.  That’s the answer to the old riddle, “How do you eat an elephant?”.  I think it’s also the answer for Christians when it comes to the question, “How can I read through the entire bible?”.  Ok, so I don’t think we want to pull a Jeremiah and literally eat the Word of God, but when it comes to reading through the entire Bible in 2011 here’s how you’ll do it: One verse at a time.

One verse at a time.  Why is that so important to remember?  I think some Christians look at their Bible and feel so overwhelmed by its size and content that they lose the battle to read it in its entirety before they even get started with Genesis 1:1. 

The Bible is made up of 66 individual books, but it is also one grand story.  I’m not advising reading the Bible out of context or to zoom yourself in so closely to a single verse that you miss God’s amazing narrative.  What I am saying though is that the Bible is made up of books, and that the books are made up of chapters, and the chapters are made up of verses.  Keep this in mind as you plan to read through the Bible in 2011…

Do you really think it’s a must that Christians read through the entire Bible? What about all those genealogies? What about difficult books and passages?

What did Jesus say?   “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4).

How about the author of Hebrews:  “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (4:12)

And then of course Paul: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Tim. 3:16).

How can we live on every Word of God, if many of us haven’t even read every Word of God?  It’s amazing that we live in such a nation with such easy access to God’s Word and yet have become so ignorant as to what it says.

The goal is to not just read the Bible as a textbook.  Read it as Scripture! Read it for transformation!

So, what can you do? Start one verse at a time! Make a commitment right now to read through the Bible in its entirety in 2011.  Below are a few practical tips on how to do it, and some links to several Bible reading plans.

Tips:

1. Have a consistent time and place for Bible reading.  This is key!  Don’t just read when you find time, make time.

2. If you miss a day, or even a few days, don’t get discouraged.  Keep reading! One verse at a time!  And if you get to a day where you can read a little more to catch back up, do it.  And if you get to December 31, 2011 and you still have 1/4th of the Bible to read, just keep reading!  The goal is to read the whole Bible in 2011, and I hope you meet that goal, but the most important thing is that you do read through the entire Bible.  So, if it takes a little longer than a year for you, then so be it.

3. Pray.  Pray that God will open your heart to receive His Word.  Pray that He’ll give you the faith to apply His Word to your life.

4.  Don’t get discouraged about not being able to understand some passages.  I do believe that most of the BIble is pretty clear, but you will probably run across at least a few things that you may need to talk to a pastor about or consult some extra readings.  Don’t get bogged down on those passages, but don’t just dismiss them as incomprehensible either. (Sometimes a good study bible can help clear that up!  Here, here, here, and here are some I recommend).

Bible Reading Plans:

Bethlehem Baptist Bible Reading Plan (I used this in 2010.  You read a few chapters from different places in the Bible each day, and then have a few catch up days built-in at the end of each month).

Expository.org Bible Reading Plan (Similar to the plan above, but you’ll read the OT Chronologically)

OWNit365 Bible Reading Plan (This one’s pretty neat!  Gives you one day off each week. The other 6 days you’ll have 2 separate readings on your own, and one chapter to read with your family! Great way to begin Family Worship!)

Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading Plan (Probably not a plan for 1st time readers!  This plan is 10 chapters a day.  Click the link for more info.)

Create your own plan! The first time I read through the Bible I looked at the number of pages in my Bible and divided it by the time I wanted to finish reading.  So, if you want to read your bible in 365 days and it is 1075 pages you’ll need to read 3 pages a day (1075 divided by 365).

Also, if you haven’t heard about YouVersion, it’s worth checking out…

I hope you will commit to reading the entire Bible in 2011!

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