Read through the Bible in 2016
by Darlene Franklin
So you’re thinking about reading through your Bible this year. Perhaps you’ve read the Bible many times before, and you’re wondering how to make it fresh and exciting.
Perhaps this is your first attempt, and you’re staring at that thick book—all 66 books, 1,189 chapters, 31,103 verses—and wondering how you’ll ever get through it. Perhaps you’ve started before, sailed through Genesis and most of Exodus and then stumbled somewhere between the temple in Exodus and the laws and offerings in Leviticus. If you survived the first five books, the later lists of genealogies might have thrown you off course.
Here are a few suggestions to help you not only start, but to stick to it until you reach Revelation 22.
Find the right reading plan. You may choose to use the schedule in your Bible or pamphlets provided by your church. If you are looking for an alternative to reading straight through from Genesis to Revelation, here are other options:
- Read from both the Old Testament and the New Testament daily.
- Read from both Old and New Testaments daily, with the addition of daily readings from Psalms and Proverbs. One family who has done this for 20 years says, “It starts the day off right. Because we read some from Old Testament, some from New, and some from Psalms (Proverbs gets repeated), we get a better picture of how the Old and New Testaments fit together.”
- Read the Bible chronologically. See where the books of wisdom, prophecy and the New Testament letters fit into the Bible’s timeline. There are versions of the Bible divided by chronological order, or you can use a schedule that shows you how.
- Use a Bible that has daily or weekly devotionals and read the devotionals along with the portion for the day.
- A topical Bible may appeal to readers who struggle with the straight-through approach. Amy P. says, “I would probably be more successful with a reading plan that concentrated on different topics covering the majority of the Bible over a year.”
Choose the right version. There are at least 30 versions in English alone, so an abundance of choices are available.
- If you read the Bible yearly, give yourself the gift of a different translation this year.
- If this is your first attempt, sample reading from a number of different versions. Choose the version that speaks to you the most strongly.
- For the truly ambitious, use a Bible with two or more versions in one volume.
- Listen to the Bible. For a couple of years, I listened to one CD a day and sped through the Bible in half a year.
Time: How to stick to it. Reading the Bible in a year takes an average of 20 minutes a day. If you also wish to meditate and study, it will take longer. Do you miss a day, maybe two? Do you try to catch up and get discouraged? Don’t worry. Here are a few pointers:
- Read today’s portion, skipping the day you missed.
- Go back and read the portion you missed.
- Don’t read more than one day’s portion at a time. The chapters will mount up, and you’ll be tempted to stop. My mother faced that more than once, but her persistence served as an example for me. Read at your own pace. Some schedules plan for completing the Bible in two years instead of one.
- Read it in less time. Heather T. did it in 90 days. “Reading it all in a short timeframe helps you see how so many things you didn’t think about ‘going together’ fit together.”
- People who want to study as they read take more time. One reader took six years getting from Genesis to Revelation. Kathie M. says, “Instead of trying to get through the whole Bible in one year, I find it much more advantageous to slowly work through one book at a time, taking notes and writing down ‘take-aways’ from the different passages.”
All readers could learn from the many tricks Crystal H. used: “I put it on my to-do list, and nearly always started my day with it. If life happened, then I read it at lunch time. I even kept a copy of the Bible in my car so that if I was waiting for a child for more than five minutes, I would have it to read.”
Keep a Record of Your Reading. If you want to do more than make a checkmark next to the day’s reading, here are a few ideas:
- Create a journal where you write your primary impressions of the day’s reading.
- Use a sketch book to create artwork, use packaged journal pages to color, or to copy and paste items that remind you of your reading.
- Find a small dated diary to write a couple of words each day.
- Use a Bible with large margins to take notes. Perhaps at the end of the year you can pass it on to someone else.
Accountability. For that final push, an accountability partner could help. Sometimes a congregation sponsors a church-wide commitment, or you may ask your family, friends, or a support group to read with you.
Pray. Ask God to “open my eyes that I may see. . .open my ears that I may hear. . .open my heart, illumine me.”†
Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over 50 books and more than 250 devotionals. http://darlenefranklinwrites.com/
†From “Open My Eyes, That I May See,” by Clara H. Scott, 1895
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