In 2009, I attempted a bible read- through in 10 days. It ended up taking 17, but was a very worthwhile experience and He highlighted overarching themes to me during the reading. Recently, He brought one of those themes back to remembrance and when I went back to my blog to find it, He highlighted the idea of a quick read-through to me again.
Since it was a few days before the Feast of Unleavened Bread was starting, I thought how appropriate it seemed to feast on the bread of life (i.e. the word) during the week-long feast. I realized that unlike last time I attempted a quick read-through, this time I read a lot for pleasure. It occurred to me that several versions of the bible were roughly equivalent in length to a three book series, and I’ve devoured countless of those (thanks to my Christian fiction author friends), and so the plan for a read-through began to form.
This time I read the Living Bible, which is a paraphrase (and I found the liberties it it took in the NT particularly grievous). Each time I read the bible through – whether slowly or quickly – I like to choose a different translation or paraphrase because I get different things from each of them. I’ve read through ones like NIV, KJV, and NLT (and the ESV via audio), as well as reading the bulk of others (ESV, NKJV, MSG, AMP, KJ3, etc).
Last time I likened my quick read-through to drinking from a firehose. It’s coming at you so fast and in such volume you can’t take it all in. In other words, you make your eyes read – some of it processes and some doesn’t – you just keep going trusting God will highlight what He wants to. It’s different than a slow read through and the purpose of it is different. For someone who studies the word, both have their place.
The take-aways I documented this time are just a brief thought or insight (sometime more than one) from each book. I’m not saying it’s the salient point of each book (though in some cases it may be), just what He highlighted to me this time through. I hope they’ll bless you too 🙂
Genesis – God works through us and blesses us even though we’re completely imperfect.
Exodus – we like to complain a lot. God hates it when we do.
Leviticus – I should be dead many times over. I’m humbled and very grateful for grace!
Numbers – no matter how many times He’s been faithful, we always think He’s going to let us down the next time.
Deuteronomy – we continually blow it. God is continually faithful. He didn’t pick us because we’re so great, just because He wanted to. Accept the honor by obeying what He has clearly laid out as His ground rules.
Joshua – God doesn’t take kindly to us stealing what is His. Also, presuming in lieu of seeking God’s counsel is never a good idea.
Judges – compromising on God’s instructions never brings good results. (And regarding the concubine in Judges 19, seriously why isn’t the husband who shoved her out the door in trouble along with the tribe of Benjamin. Sheesh!)
Ruth – as a woman, it is a really lovely thing to enjoy the protection of a good man. (A point made all the more poignant by the contrast to the husband in Judges 19!)
1 Samuel – God will not be mocked. Sometimes as He withholds His judgment for a time we mistakenly think He’s allowing it when in reality He is giving time for repentance. He truly is slow to anger and rich in mercy. And no matter how many times we turn against Him, He always welcomes us when we turn back.
2 Samuel – a righteous man gives honor even when it may not seem due. Also, if you hang out with people who like drama, inevitably you will get sucked into their drama. And if you love your children, you HAVE to discipline them.
1 Kings – too easily our lusts lead is away from the Lord. (And for real, why did the old prophet lie in 1 Kings 13?!)
2 Kings – the power of God is a beautiful thing! And His rod of measuring good from evil never wavers.
1 Chronicles – my thought during the first half was very spiritual: “I’m going to go crazy if I have to read one more name!” Lol 🙂 But seriously, it’s all about the people; we can do big things when we work together (whether building an army, worshiping the Lord, or stockpiling to build a temple) and though some people’s contributions may be bigger than others, everyone’s contributions are a part of the whole.
2 Chronicles – leaders are either building God’s kingdom or leading people astray.
Ezra – someone always wants to undermine what God’s called you to do.
Nehemiah – it is imperative to know the voice of God. Not everyone who says “thus saith the Lord” is actually speaking on behalf of Him.
Esther – never be afraid to ask.
Job – though it isn’t true, it’s easier to believe hardships come because they’re deserved because then we feel in control of avoiding them.
Psalms – David’s complaints and defense of himself sound very similar to Job’s, the difference was David’s were said to God and Job’s to men.
Proverbs – seek wisdom. True wisdom only comes from God so in short: seek Him.
Ecclesiastes – all the world’s bounty cannot bring happiness. And the only things that really matter have to do with eternity.
Song of Solomon – this book is a map we’d do well to follow 🙂
Isaiah – there is no God like Him and truly He gives us chance after chance after chance to get right.
Jeremiah – we truly are spiritual whores. We have the most amazing, loving God and He practically begs us to love Him and shows unfailing patience toward us and still we choose unfeeling and even abusive gods above Him.
Lamentations – the weight of discipline can feel heavy, but the accompanying tears can bring cleansing and healing if we yield to it.
Ezekiel – we’ve taken blessings He gave us and used them to cheat on Him. Our whoredom knows no ends.
Daniel – wisdom, favor, and revelation come from God, use them with humility remembering they are a gift. We’re wise to honor Him with the gifts He gives.
Hosea – it’s amazing how much of scripture is dedicated to alerting us to our whoredom and God extending mercy to us even there. If we think because we don’t have little statue idols anymore that we aren’t making little gods, we deceive ourselves.
Joel – be sober and fix your eyes on Him!
Amos – we’ve done so much more to offend our God than we can begin to realize.
Obadiah – gloating and mocking are repulsive to God.
Jonah – I love the way this book ends. It’s a classic God move. He asks a question knowing the answer corners us intellectually into coming into agreement with something He wants us to see. He’s so smart 🙂
Micah – God hates false scales. I’ve always known that means He hates when we cheat others, but I suddenly realized it also means when we cheat ourselves.
Nahum – we can’t “miss” God. When we’re off He sends us warning after warning after warning…
Habakkuk – though He gets rightfully angry with us, still He has mercy.
Zephaniah – walk humbly and do what is right (2:3).
Haggai – when we hoard for ourselves (instead of give to the Lord and the things on His heart) we perpetuate a cycle of lack in our own lives.
Zechariah – though the Lord may allow the wicked to “try” His people, there will still be consequences for the wicked for touching His children.
Malachi – don’t cheat God!
Matthew – He doesn’t beg us to follow Him or make a case to win us over, He extends an invitation and we must make a choice.
Mark – we’re called to do greater things than Him.
Luke – the key to intercession: keep knocking until the door opens.
John – as much as we may dislike pruning, it is vital to our walk as is the nourishment received as we abide.
Acts – how beautiful to see God move in power and His people in boldness!
Romans – we are without excuse.
1 Corinthians – we would do well to be as intolerant of sin in the church as Paul instructs us to be. It truly is a cancer.
2 Corinthians – as a leader, it truly does hurt your heart to have to rebuke those under your authority. We should remember this and be gracious when we’re the ones receiving the rebuke. Also, as a leader, it feels horrible to have your authority marginalized. Again, we should be mindful not to do so to those God’s put in authority over us.
Galatians – you can’t earn salvation. You can’t earn the Holy Spirit. Receive the gifts and bear fruit!
Ephesians – be humble, righteous, forgiving, walk in love, and pray at all times.
Philippians – be unselfish and considerate, walk in joy and release all worry. Meditate on good things.
Colossians – let love guide your life (3:14).
1 Thessalonians – be pure, sober-minded, yielding to Holy Spirit, giving honor to whom it is due, and focusing on what God has given you to do.
2 Thessalonians – may God reward our faith with His power (1:11)!
1 Timothy – pray – especially for those in leadership. Honor your elders.
2 Timothy – we have to be intentional about keeping the flame of our passion for God stirred up.
Titus – mentorship (ie discipling) is essential.
Philemon – it is wise to use your influence for good.
Hebrews – don’t harden your heart against the voice of the Lord, and walk in faith!
James – thoughts lead to action so be vigilant guarding your thoughts.
1 Peter – if you want a happy life, control your tongue (3:10).
2 Peter – set aside your own desires and embrace God’s desires for you.
1 John – He loves us, and we know we are His if we do what He says.
2 John – know the word so you know false teaching when you hear it.
3 John – we can determine if someone else is of Him by their actions (judge the fruit).
Jude – don’t taunt the enemy; pray in the power and strength of Holy Spirit.
Revelation – regardless of how it all comes to pass, I’m just glad I know the Lord!
And in case you’re curious, it was about an average of 10-12 hours of reading a day (I’m not a particularly fast reader). This is how the reading ended up being done:
- Day 1: Genesis 1 – Numbers 16
- Day 2: Numbers 17 – 2 Kings 7
- Day 3: 2 Kings 8 – Ezra 8
- Day 4: Ezra 9 – Isaiah 66
- Day 5: Jeremiah 1 – Matthew 9
- Day 6: Matthew 10 – Romans 16
- Day 7: 1 Corinthians 1 – Revelation 22
(Kinda fun that all 4 gospel accounts of the resurrection “happened” to fall on the Feast of First Fruits aka resurrection day!)
And as I said in my blog post from the last read-through, this is possible for me because I have no job, no kids, and at present very few commitments because of where God has me… in other words I’m in no way trying to make anyone feel bad that they haven’t done this. Just showing that it’s not impossible and it is worthwhile. 🙂