Reading the Bible in a Year
“Read more, learn more, change the globe.”
On a youtube rabbit trail I saw Christine from Simply by Christine, was starting a read through the Bible challenge in September. I was in a bit of a slump in my Bible reading habits (which can be a pattern for me admittedly) and wanted a renewed focused so I decided to join.
Starting a year long goal in September sounded refreshing- while everyone was just starting a goal or resolution in January, I would already be 4 months into one. I thought the buzz about resolutions and goal setting in the new year would motivate me to continue my goal if I made it that far. (As you can see I have!)
I printed out the reading schedule two weeks or so behind the start date and, in the spirit of honesty, sped read through Genesis and Matthew just to catch up. I then realized that this was a reading the Bible plan for a school year. Which is 9 months. 3 months less than a year. For someone who typically sticks to one chapter at a time, that is a ton of reading!
The circumstances of my schedule, however, made this a perfect time to do such an intensive reading plan. I had a 2ish month old baby at the start of the it- and somehow that made my schedule more complicated but also more free at the same time. It became more difficult to do scheduled things and things outside of the house but easier to do flexible things inside of the house, like reading. I went back to work on a part time basis in October and still found this to be true.
Five months in with four to go and I have to say this newly formed rhythm is life-giving. I am honestly surprised to find that I love it and have stuck with it! I find the more I read, the more I want to read. It’s like a muscle, and I am excited because it feels like the beginning of a more structured and steady life-long practice. I am encountering a lot of questions along the way (which I’ll mention below), finding many treasured truths, and am in awe of the miraculousness of it all.
Here are some reasons that this reading plan is working well for me:
Having a Bible that I like. This is superficial for sure, but in the beginning it did help with the habit and enjoyment of reaching for it. I have a Holman Christian Standard Bible that my landlord gave me a couple of years ago. It is genuine leather so it has a really nice feel to it and it lays flat on any page, which is key because I often read while eating breakfast.
Check boxes. I love to see the progress I’ve made and whats ahead.
Catch-up days and Sundays are off. This does make the amount of readings on scheduled days more lengthy but I have found it to be crucial in keeping up. I sometimes get behind on the two days of the week that I work and then catch up on a free day, Sunday, or do some extra reading on a Saturday. And if I get three or four days behind, thats okay. I press on when I can and don’t worry about it. I sometimes fall behind if I’m not loving the reading (Isaiah) and get ahead when I am (Esther and David’s stories)
Notes and Question Marks. I use a .38 Muji gel pen in either blue or black to take notes in my Bible. As a stationery lover, this is an important detail for me, but I’m sure others could care less. I underline verses, box out sections and jot down themes or points of emphasis. I also add exclamation points, “wows” when I really don’t know what to say, and this is key- question marks. Question marks everywhere. Especially in the old testament.
There are so many things I don’t understand, things that don’t seem to sit right with me (maybe because I don’t understand), and things I want to look into and learn more about. Early on, I decided that this reading challenge wouldn’t be about researching and learning more about the many things I have questions on. It was, and is, an experience that is helping me understand the overarching story of God’s love for his people.
I am not sure what my Bible reading will look like once the challenge is complete, perhaps I will slowly work through my question marks, or use a devotional style book along side the Bible, but I look forward to God continuing to surprise me over the next four months!