For years I avoided the task. Well, actually, I would begin on January 1st and then somewhere in Leviticus I would wimp out and skip over to begin in my favorite books of the New Testament again.
I justified my actions by thinking, there is no requirement that I read the Bible through. I just need to be consistently in the Word.
So, I read Genesis, Psalms and Proverbs, Esther, Ruth, the New Testament, and bits and pieces of the rest. I find among Christians that we are missing huge chunks of Bible knowledge because we are ignoring huge chunks of the Bible. This was true in my life.
I still don’t believe that reading the Bible from cover to cover is an obligation, but I have learned that it is a privilege.
I can’t speak for others, but here is what reading the Bible through has done for me.
- I have a better understanding of the timeline of the Bible, which prophets were preaching during which times of Israel’s history, and how God used them.
- I am aware of how much of the New Testament references verses and specific events that are in the Old Testament. I now have a context for those verses and events.
- I have become conscious of the underlying theme of God’s great love in every book of the Bible. I used to think this was a New Testament concept, but the Old Testament books are filled with God’s longing for His people, His care, and His calling.
- Such treasures exist in books that I didn’t read before. Look at the context of Jeremiah 29:11. There are great lessons there.
- I understand Solomon’s statement that there is ‘nothing new under the sun’ (Ecclesiastes 1:9). As I read the trials and tribulations, the faults and failings of the people through the centuries, I see their reflection in the occurrences of today.
- There is a discipline and a settling for me that comes from an ordered reading. Instead of skipping around and picking and choosing, I am listening for God’s voice in each word that He spoke.
- I see the foundation that the Old Testament sets for the New Testament.
- Reading through the Bible has helped me know where to find things in the Bible.
- I have become more familiar with the language of the Bible.
- I have not understood everything I have read. In fact, I have struggled through Leviticus and the minor prophets more than once. But I have found, that each time I read there is a little more understanding, a little more continuity revealed in the Bible as a whole. Yes, I have even found blessings in Leviticus.
While I am reading through the Bible, I still take time to study other portions of Scripture. The daily reading does not prohibit in-depth concentration on small sections. In fact, sometimes I spend extra time on a passage or move to a new book to study for a while before I continue my journey through the Bible. I don’t want to accomplish a legalistic task, but I do want to honor all of the words that God has given.
God has given us some direction for Bible reading. Consider the following verses:
II Timothy 3: 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Matthew 4:4 But he (Jesus) answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (references Deuteronomy 8:3)
Revelation carries its own blessing: Revelation 1: 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
There is no command to make it happen in a month or a year. The timeline is yours and God’s. This testimony is not meant to dictate another’s Bible study but to encourage others to see the Bible as a whole, where every word is profitable.
God has given us His Word. Through it He provides what we need to face each day. The Holy Spirit guides our understanding, even in the tough parts.
Whether you choose to read the Bible from cover to cover or focus on specific passages, the important thing is that you read it and live what you read.
Linked below are some tools I find helpful when reading through the Bible. I would love to hear about your adventures in studying God’s Word.