I mentioned in my last goal update that I wanted to write about my decision to read the Bible cover to cover in a year. I am two months into my goal, but I am very much loving it. And, I wish I would have sooner. Yet, God knows when the time is right and when we will be more receptive for the will He has for our lives.
If you have done this before. Kudos to you!!! Why didn’t you tell me about this life-changing habit sooner, lol? But, if you are reading this and have thought about reading the Bible cover to cover, then this post is for you. Even if you are just simply thinking about studying the Bible more in general, then I think you can glean something from this post.
So, I wanted to leave you with seven reasons I decided to read my Bible in a year in no particular order.
#1 – I Felt That I Didn’t Know The Word Enough
I have been a Christian since I was 10 years old. And, I have had many bumps and bruises along the way. I probably have only missed a Sunday service about 10 times in the last year. And, those 10 times were only due to pregnancy and then nursing.
I am great at church, if I do say so myself. I can coordinate a women’s ministry event or an outreach effort with my eyes closed. And, I love to do those things. So, why study the Bible more?
But, it is one thing to be great at church and it is another thing to have a great relationship with God. And, nearly 10 years ago, I became greatly burnt out from church work and knew my relationship was not where it needed to be.
I am not where I was nearly a decade ago, but I have battled with God over the past few years. I’m not gonna lie. I even tried to quit Him (You see how that worked out.)
Don’t get me wrong. There are a few Scriptures that I can quote. I have read plenty of scriptures, taken hundreds of sermon notes and completed numerous Bible studies. I know many biblical themes and several stories. But, I should know something if I have been around the church for 20+ years.
Yet, I still have to thumb through my concordance for certain topics. My husband is such a pro. If I ask him about a topic, he can give me the exact reference from memory on most days. He is my inspiration.
I also saw myself getting defeated by the enemy too frequently and easily. I knew that The Word of God was not in my heart enough. All the things I mentioned may not bother you. Or, maybe your mouth is dropping because this pastor’s wife doesn’t know the Bible from front to back. Still, I can admit my desire to understand and know the Word has increased. And, it has now come to a point that I am able to dedicate myself to the Word.
I was further rocked with my recent reading of Hebrews. Again, it is a probably a familiar passage to some.
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! (Hebrews 5:11-12 NIV)
For me, I do feel that I should be further along then what I am. And, it’s not that I just want to spew out Scriptures left and right. However, I want to consistently turn inward to the Word, when I have issues in my life.
#2 – I Have Faith Questions that Need to Be Answered
Have you ever did a spiritual gifts assessment? They are often used to identify skills or talents that you likely possess to help advance God’s mission. It can include teaching, administration, serving others and even faith. It doesn’t matter when I take a spiritual gifts assessment, I know that I am going to score low in the category of faith.
I have always admired those individuals, who score high. I know two people in my life that are total high scorers, when it comes to faith. Their crazy faith perplexes me at times. They do not react like a typical person or even Christian for that matter. My two inspirations seem to always operate with grace and faith-filled hope. I consider myself to be a realist or more logical. If you are a person of faith, you know logic and sight do not often mix well with faith.
But, I have questions. Lots of them. I am not only a realist, but I consider myself to be a critical thinker. I like to break things down and get to the nitty gritty. I was the inquisitive kid always asking the why. Honestly, I wish I could shut my brain off sometimes. I can go to never never land with my thoughts. But, I wanted this to be the year that I would truly turn to the Bible and to God to get my faith questions answered.
For me, faith questions arise in stressful situations or when things don’t go as “planned”. You may have faith questions, when you turn on the news. You may have issues with faith once you have experienced a traumatic event. They sound something like this:
Where are you, God?
Do you see me?
What is your purpose for me? “
Are you real?
Does any of those questions sound familiar to you?
I have allowed some of life circumstances to rock me. I don’t get up as quick as I used to. And, I have let fear and doubt creep in more than I care to admit. Yet, I have overwhelming hope that my faith can increase and that I can be at a better place than I have ever been before.
There are things and answers that I know I must and can only get from Him and His Word. I preface all of this knowing that God is not on a human time schedule. I don’t expect all of my questions to be answered. Or, let’s just say, they may not be answered the way I want them to.
And, if you have bouts with doubt and faith, you can see my post on how I try to fight doubt.
#3 -There Was a Prick to My Heart
There are plenty of things that I would like to focus on. And, I have read plenty of inspirational and devotional books. Yet, I felt a push in my heart and spirit to get into the Bible more.
But I honestly would have not chosen to try and complete the Bible in one year. It is no small task. I have to read at least 3 chapters a day in the Bible to stay on track. This doesn’t take into account any notes that I want to take or books that I want to look at for further understanding. So, I need at least two hours to study like I want to with my critical-thinking self.
But I am assuming that God has some things that I got to work on. Plus, He had already gave me two decades to read the Bible at my own pace. I won’t say that I always hear God clearly, but I felt that this assignment was transparent.
I hope to read the Bible cover to cover again after 2019 at a much slower pace. But, this year is about digesting the entire Word.
#4 – I Want to be More Aligned with the Holy Spirit and What God is Saying in My Life.
As I mentioned before, I have dived in many bible studies and inspirational readings. I have some go to authors and ministers, who are great teachers of the Word. Yet, I desire to hear God more directly. I believe that He does speak to us all in some form or fashion. I think it is wonderful to have Godly friends and even a Godly spouse. But, what do we do when we are all alone? And, we know that we must answer to God as individuals one day. So, we need to be able to decipher His words and purpose for us.
I am also trying to reduce a lot of clutter in my life —physically, mentally and spiritually. And, I feel that dedicated time in the Word, will help me do that. I am far beyond perfect. Bu, I feel that reading my Bible more consistently will help to reduce some of the background noise that comes with our everyday lives.
#5 – I Want to Encourage and Disciple Effectively
If our job is to go and make disciples, I want to make sure that I am doing it right. In Matthew 28: 16-20, you will find:
I must admit this reason is very important to me. Because there have been times that I have tried to minister to a fellow sister in Christ, and I wasn’t received very well. I MEAN NOT AT ALL.
Now, I know that there are just going to be times that people will reject our Christian beliefs. However, I know that there is also a time, place and way to do everything. And, I want to be decent and in order.
But, I do want to make sure that I take care with God’s people. And, as cliche as it may be, I want to always ask WWJD. What Would Jesus Do? There are so many issues in our society that are often debated. But, I want to be confident in knowing (and at peace) that I encouraged, corrected or discipled as Jesus would want me to. I want to give fellow and future disciples the Word and not my opinion.
#6 -I Am Trying to Break Cycles in My Life.
There are issues quite frankly, that I want to be removed in my life. There have been times, where I feel that I gave up too easy. These have included my goals surrounding my career and even weight loss. I was truly blessed by a recent sermon series by Bishop Walker titled Mortal Combat.
This sermon really helped me to get real with myself. And, I had to come to terms that some battles that I have are simply just spiritual. I believe we may all have some issues that Satan has attacked for years or maybe even generations.
Do you ask questions as to why you are dealing with the same issues year after year? Or, do you see problems that are truly generational? For instance, I see financial management as a generational curse. I don’t believe my mom or grandmother handled finances well. And, I know that I definitely have some financial regret. But, I want something different now and I want something different for my daughter.
So, what better way to start attacking the problem, but with the Word of God.
Ephesians 6:12 mentions the full armor of God. The Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, is part of the armor in Ephesians 6. So, I am reading the Bible through and through this year to use my sword better. I want to be able to slay some of these weights and demons in my life with my Sword and all weapons that God has given me.
#7 -It Was Always a Goal
Early on in my Christian walk and many New Year’s Resolutions ago, I wanted to complete the Bible in a year. However, you know how some New Year’s Resolutions are.
I can remember there were times that I tried to only fall asleep on the Word. Or, I would think of a million things to do and do them.
However, I have a different mindset towards goals. And, I know the birth of my daughter has really motivated me to step my game up in other areas in my life. So, I am at this goal again with a new attitude and determination. This reason for reading the Bible ties in to the prick in my heart as well.
Ready to Study The Bible More Often?
If you are considering reading the Bible in a year. I definitely say do it prayerfully. If you have some of the reasons I have, I hope you are encouraged. Because you are not alone.
There are a few tools that are helping me stay motivated. I am using a 5 day a week plan created by Mark Roberts. You can click here to get the free copy. I like it because it includes time for catch up, which I needed from the jump.
If you are like me, you love a good checklist and to see something that will help you reach your goal. I created a Bible Reading Tracker, which includes all 66 books of the bible in one page! Anytime that I complete a book (I’ve completed 7 thus far!), I simply color in the book that corresponds with it.
My Bible reading tracker is a great tool to see how much you have progressed. Whether you are reading the Bible on a slower or faster pace than me, you can use this sheet. Pair it with my free Let’s Goal Worksheet and you will be ready to get your Bible reading party started!
By His Saving Grace,
P.S. Update 5/2/21: I finished my Bible in a year challenge in March 2020. So, I have some tips for starting yourself in “How to Read the Bible in A Year” and Benefits of Bible Study. So, be sure to check those out for more inspiration!
Why Study the Bible More Often
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Shannon, I love how much thought you put into WHY you want to read the Bible. Knowing why we’re doing something can really help us to keep it up when our motivation starts to wane. You have excellent reasons! The rewards are so worth the effort!
Thank you so much, Jana. And, you are right, this is the furthest that I have ever gotten in reading the Bible in a year. I have a firm footing in my reasons why and I genuiinely want to see some things change in my life. I believe that the Word of God is key to changes that I want to see in my life. I encourage anyone to try to read the Bible in a year, because it has definitely inicreased my appetite for the word.