In early January of this year, I decided this would be the year. I wanted to read the whole Bible. I wanted to be able to say that I’ve read every word of it. I felt like it was this mark of being a serious Christian, to be able to say I’ve read it cover to cover, to show how devoted I am. So I started a one-year reading plan with She Reads Truth and dove right in.
At first, I was diligent. I read every day no matter what. But then I missed a day or two. Life got a little crazy. I lead a women’s quiet time accountability group, but we only check in during weekdays, not on the weekends. And so I would take a day or two off on the weekends with the rest of the group, but then then I would fall behind because the one-year plan requires that I read EVERY DAY. A day here and a day there built up, and I found myself close to a month behind. Every day I’d say to myself, I’ll just start reading two days’ worth tomorrow, and I’ll be caught up in no time. But tomorrow would come, and I’d be tired and I’d get through one day’s reading and just want to quit. And so I’d say, tomorrow is the day. And the cycle would continue, and I’d get more and more behind.
Also, in case you haven’t noticed, the Bible is LONG and oftentimes (go ahead and gasp) it can get pretty boring. Seriously, don’t hate me, but the Old Testament can be rather torturous. It’s long and confusing and a lot of it is crazy lists of laws or descriptions of God’s instructions to the Israelites. Sure, I love the Psalms and Proverbs, but I honestly have a hard time getting enjoyment out of most of the Old Testament, especially if I’m just reading through it and not doing some type of Bible study to bring it more to life. It’s tedious to read.
Which leads me to the ultimate reason that I stopped my one-year reading plan.
Reading the Bible had become an arduous to-do instead of a way to grow in relationship with God. It had become a worldly task rather than a spiritual desire of my heart.
I was reading, but I wasn’t hearing. I was taking in words, but I wasn’t growing. I wasn’t feeling any closer to God. If anything, I was feeling farther and farther from Him. My free time for being with Him was spent reading long passages of Scripture as quickly as possible, rather than dwelling on certain verses or topics and waiting to hear what He wanted to say to me through the text. My joy in reading His Word had disappeared. I honestly dreaded it every day.
Then late last week, I spent about 20 minutes focusing on one small passage of the Bible. I read it in two translations and read two commentaries on it. Suddenly, I heard God. I could feel Him touching my heart and speaking to me. I had a lesson to walk away with, something to think about throughout my day. And I felt myself grow more spiritually in those 20 minutes than I had grown in the prior three months.
And so I knew it was time to change my plans.
Yes, it would be awesome to read the Bible in a year. It would be awesome to say I’ve read the whole Bible, every word of it. But not if it means I am sacrificing my relationship with my Lord. I am a follower of Jesus, not of religion. I want to grow close to my God, not build up achievements that may be impressive in this world but mean nothing in eternity. God doesn’t care if I’ve read the whole Bible in a year, and I honestly don’t think He even cares if I’ve read the whole Bible, period. What He cares about is that I seek Him, follow Him, trust Him, and bring Him glory through my life. He speaks to me through His Word, and it’s His instruction book to me, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. HE is the end-all-be-all.
It’s so easy to turn inherently godly things into worldly obsessions, isn’t it?
To any of you who have managed to read the Bible in a year, and especially if you maintained your relationship with God throughout it: I am SO IMPRESSED with you, seriously. I absolutely admire your devotion to such a difficult task. But me? It’s just not something I can pull off right now. At least not without letting my relationship with God suffer. And, as I think we’d all agree, nothing, nothing at all, should come between me and my God.