Every time I read through the Bible, I enjoy it more. For the past few years I have practiced the habit of reading it yearly, and this year I decided to read it twice. The reason is because with each reading I gain greater understanding of the overall picture and better comprehend how it relates to my life. If you’ve never read through the whole Bible, I encourage you to do so. You don’t have to wait for January 1st to begin. You don’t even have to complete it in a year. Just take it a small piece at a time. You’ll be surprised how the momentum builds as you discipline yourself to read just a couple of chapters each day.
I prefer to read through the Bible chronologically as I feel it helps the overarching story to better flow. There are several Bible reading plans available online (Chronological Plan, Bible Study Tools, Bible Plan), or you can use the YouVersion Bible online to tailor a plan for yourself. One of the major objections I usually hear is that the Bible is boring or that people get stuck reading through the list of genealogies. Let’s face it, not many of us can easily pronounce a lot of the names in the Bible, although sometimes it’s fun to try! My recommendation for these parts of scripture is to either skim them or skip them altogether. Sometimes it is interesting to see who was related to whom, but unless you are studying something particular, the genealogies won’t bring a lot of enrichment to your life. While I do often read through the names, there are days where I simply have to skim them to keep me motivated. There are no “reading” police and there’s nothing wrong with taking a cursory approach to those sections.
What you will see unfolding as you read through the Bible is a consistent picture of who God is and what He desires from His people. He loves us with an incredibly patient love and refuses to give up on His children. We were created to commune with God. He designed us to live in a constant relationship with Him. No matter how far we wander, He is always there to gently bring us back and restore us. There is also great sadness in the book as we discover how we as a people have repeatedly turned our backs on Him and sold Him out in the name of temporary pleasure and greed. This is woven throughout both the Old and New Testaments, and it continues in our world today.
If you’ve spent any time going to church in your life, you have probably had the importance of reading the Bible pounded into your head. No doubt you bear a scar or two from that. Perhaps you tried to read it years ago but found it dry and dull. This is God’s Word to you. It’s a love letter. If you want to better understand God and His plan for your life, this Book is a must. I encourage you to give it another shot. Find a translation that is easy to read and understand. I recommend the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), but many also enjoy the various other modern translations like the New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), or the New Century Version (NCV). For sheer readability, Eugene Petersen’s paraphrase called, “The Message”, is tough to beat. Which version you choose doesn’t really matter. Just read! Start small, start slow, but start today!