About two and a half weeks ago I stumbled across a Bible reading plan that took you through the Bible (cover-to-cover) in 7 days. My first thought was, “That’s insane! No one could do that!”
The caption under the plan noted that on a vacation was a good time to do a plan like this. Suddenly I felt a nudge… but I knew I had several activities coming up over the next couple days so I argued with God in my head a little until I finally felt the number 10 settled in my spirit. So the next day I set out to read the Bible in 10 days.
I knew it would have to be an easily readable translation because I’m not a strong reader despite my education. So I settled on the 1996 edition of the NLT (it’s the NLT edition on Blue Letter Bible, not the one on Bible Gateway which is the 2004 edition). Lest anyone be tempted to fight with my over translation accuracy, I’ve also read the NIV and KJV in their entirety and am working on the NKJV… and if you look at any of my bible studies you’ll note when studying I typically both compare translations in addition to going back to original Hebrew or Greek.
Honestly, I think initially I thought it would be sort of an in-depth skim, but I quickly discovered I cannot skim the Word. Even steadily reading it was incredibly difficult for me not to stop and chew and blog on the various things I was noting (around Chronicles I started at least making notes on things to follow up on later).
If you were only going to read the bible through once in your life this is not how I would suggest doing it, but if you’re a studier of the Word – this is a really valuable exercise because you’re reading everything in close time proximity to everything else – it helps you to see themes and patterns even more clearly among other things. I felt like I understood the weight of the full picture better seeing it all in this time frame.
Anyhow, so reading was going fine – it was intense, but I was getting there – and by the time I hit the beginning of day nine I was a book ahead of schedule and raring to go… then all hell broke loose. Literally. One thing after another all week including my father-in-law ending up in the hospital and the tragic death of one of our friends from church who was in his 20s. So, finally today… day 17… I finished up my reading.
Here are just a few of the things I noted during my reading, they’re just random, but for whatever reason they stood out to me:
- God strongly desires to bless His children. Inevitably whenever He does, more often than not they turn from Him.
- God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He wants us to have a heart for Him. He knows He’s working with imperfect vessels, we need to get over ourselves and love Him enough to let Him use us.
- God has more patience and mercy than we can possibly understand. How on earth He hasn’t just wiped us out from our constant complaining and disobedience is a miracle.
- We as humans are constantly accusing God of things and slandering His character… His heart towards us is love yet we steadily accuse Him of having the worst intentions.
- We severely underestimate how much it grieves God’s heart when we choose other people/things over Him… and we do it all the time.
- God is forever giving instructions, warnings, and corrections… we rarely listen and then when He does what He told us He was going to have to do we’re mad about it and accuse Him of being unfair.
- Basically humans in general want to either be god themselves or they want to decide what their god wants from them.
- Too frequently we judge the people in the bible and their actions rather than understanding how much our own words and actions parallel theirs. (Personal example: 2 Peter 2:7-8 talks about God rescuing Lot because he’d been fed up with the ungodliness. In my heart I thought “if he was so fed up with the ungodliness why the heck didn’t he move?” Then I heard “have you?” Touche.)
- All along God has only wanted one thing: that He would be our God and we would be His people.
- We severely underestimate how much it angers God when we spill the blood of innocents.
- If our spouse did a fraction of the stuff we do to God to us our friends would get to bobbing their heads and saying “you deserve so much better than that!” – and the truth is God does deserve better, but by some miracle He still wants us.
That’s just a quick braindump of some of the things that jumped out at me. Many were not necessarily new, but as I said I think I felt the weight of them more than I had before – if that makes sense. I also have found that it’s increased the sense of seriousness I’m feeling for where we are at right now… and the appalling level of time we spend on activities that do not mean squat in the scheme of eternity.
One other random note, some of you are aware I’ve recently become a Francine Rivers‘ fan. I’ve read:
- Redeeming Love (based on the storyline from Hosea)
- Lineage of Grace series
- Sons of Encouragement series
I was thrilled to see how many details were highlighted to me as a result of reading this biblical fiction. She does a great job at keeping the accuracy of scriptures and building character motivations and storylines around what we know – and for someone like me who is all about relationships and people – these what-ifs for so many of these people drew new interest and understanding for me.
For the record, I don’t tell you about this project so you can be impressed by what I did – any unemployed person with no children living with them could easily do it as well if they had a mind to. 🙂 But I would challenge you:
- if you haven’t read the bible from cover-to-cover… do so! If you consider yourself to be a believer the Word is the Bread of Life… are you starving? You don’t have to do it in a week or even in a year, but steadily plug along doing some everday. There is pretty much never a day that you can’t find 5-10 minutes to read the Word… that will add up over time.
- if you can find (or make) the time consider a short time frame read-through. I think you will seriously be blessed 🙂