The Problem with Reading Through the Bible in a Year

Last year I jumped on the band wagon and read through the entire Bible in a year. I’m glad I did it. It forced me to read parts of the Bible I rarely venture into, and it gave me a good overall view of all that Scripture contains.

When I finished, I started over. Mostly because an amazing Bible teacher whom I think the world of told me that she has read through the Bible every year for 30 some odd years. She said it very humbly and without a hint of bragging simply to make the point that, although she has never been to seminary, she has a thorough understanding of the Bible because she spends time studying everyday.

I was inspired. I want to know the Bible inside and out, just as she does, so I figured I ought to do what she does and read through the Bible every year for the rest of my life.

Well… the calender tells me I should be over halfway done with this year’s reading, but I am only one third of the way through. I’m finding myself frustrated with my Bible-reading plan lately, unmotivated to keep plugging along…

Am I allowed to say that?

I’m a Bible teacher and a woman with a Bible degree and someone who loves Scripture immensely… but I’m also someone who wants to quit reading through the Bible in a year…

And I have to ask myself why…

Clearly, I think Bible literacy is hugely important, and the more we read and study, the better we will know God. But trying to cram 5 or 6 chapters into one sitting every single day is leaving me empty. There isn’t enough time to ponder, reflect, and digest what’s being communicated. I am more focused on checking off the chapters I’ve read than on listening to what the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate to me. The reading plan makes me feel rushed and pressured, so my reading becomes rote and dry…

image via Rawich/freedigitalphotos.net
image via Rawich/freedigitalphotos.net

And, really, what’s the point of that? To accomplish some goal I can feel proud of? While it would make me feel good to be 60 years old and able to say, “I’ve read through the Bible every year for the past 32 years,” that’s not why I read the Bible.

I read the Bible because it is the living Word of God, which means God Himself uses the words on the page to speak to my spirit, personally. That is a thrill that delights me more than anything else this side of Heaven.

And for me, the problem with reading through the Bible in a year is that the sheer volume of information doesn’t allow me the time to stop and listen to the Holy Spirit. It’s when I slow down and ponder a handful of verses at a time that I most often hear from the Lord.

So yesterday I shelved my plan. Plans are not bad, mind you. They can help keep us accountable to staying in the Word… but I may exchange my old plan for a read-through-the-Bible-in-three-years plan to break it down into a more meaningful portion.

The Lord affirmed this decision yesterday. I cracked open Psalm 119 and read the first two verses. That’s all. He spoke so intimately through the second verse, there was no need to read on.  He and I thought through and had relationship as a result of my reading just a couple of verses instead of hundreds.

If your current Bible-reading plan isn’t cutting it for you, I hope you feel the freedom to change it up. He wants you; find an approach that will give Him that.

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7 thoughts on “The Problem with Reading Through the Bible in a Year

  1. I am still on last year’s band wagon. Read the Bible in a year chronologically. Yup, 19 months later, I’m still in the Gospels! 🙂 I refused to “catch myself up” for a long time because I knew I’d eventually get there, right? Well, after December 31 came and went, I finally gave up and caught myself up so I don’t have to keep going back 5 months to figure out where I’m at. 🙂 I still plan to finish this first “year” but after that I’d like to read it chronologically slowly, so I have time to reflect more.

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