If you’re anything like me (i.e. a Christian), then reading The Word is part of your life. After all, it is the very foundation of which your faith is laid upon and knowing the Word is essential to knowing God. However, I know how it can seem daunting to get through certain books of the Bible (I’m looking at you Leviticus) and it’s….tempting to just skip through others (“ok but do I NEED to know this list of names here?”). But alas, we can’t avoid them forever so we try to do what our pastors have been egging us on to do for years: Read the entire Bible in one year.
I know many people who are successful in this endeavor but if this is your hundredth time even attempting to get through it, you might be having a hard time finding your groove. I, myself, have been struggling to and I think I’ve finally figured out a way to properly progress through the Book in a year. At this point, July has started and I can confidently say that I’m making very good progress in my year plan. So, I’d like to share my habits for doing so.
Now, if you’re already a pro at getting through the bible in 365 days then this might not be for you. This is a shout out to all the people who have a sincere passion to get through the Word but are just having a hard time doing it. I hope this helps.
How I’m Getting Through The Bible in a Year:
The One Year Bible Plan – First things first, you need to have a one year bible plan to track your progress through the year. Now, you might be thinking “but I’ve tried this and I just can’t do it”. Not all One Year plans are the same The one that was given at your church is probably tooootally different from the one you found on the internet. So what it comes down to is trying to find the one that fits your needs. Do you need a daily devotion? A summary? A weekend break? I, myself, have been having much success with the YouVersion app ‘Love This Book’ plan. The YouVersion app is perfect at tracking my progress for me and this particular plan includes videos every week that help me to understand the books I’m about to read for that week. It’s the best plan I’ve used to not just to read the bible but also understand what I’m reading. Getting through the Bible has been a lot less scary thanks to this plan.
Accessibility – No matter how busy we get, we should never let that get in the way of our daily devotions. One of the best ways to make sure I get my daily dose is ensuring I have access to scripture. Making the Bible as accessible as possible to you is even easier now with technology. Nowadays, you can whip out your phone and scroll through scripture during your lunch break. I have a number of methods of keeping the Word accessible: my YouVersion app, my kindle, purchasing a slim bible that’s easy to carry, and audio bibles. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that I can start listening to the Bible before. Now, it’s what I do during late-night car rides or during traffic to keep myself alert as well as immersed in the Word.
Take notes – This kinda goes for any kind of devotion that you might be doing. As they say, a Bible that’s falling apart shows your faith than a Bible that is well kept. Write in the margins of your Bible, jot down questions or facts to research in a journal. Just. Take. Notes. Remember that you’re reading to know Him. So remind yourself to be active while you’re getting through scripture.
Extra sources – Since you’re taking notes, it would behoove you to look at more sources. If you have a question, it’s possible that it was answered on the internet. Look at study bibles or Google sermons on passages you find interesting. You can even find books and websites for scientific evidence that biblical events happened. Contrary to what some might believe, external resources don’t always contribute to dwindling faith. It can actually strengthen your faith and then you’re like “Of course God created all of this. How else does this make sense?” Faith is not the opposite of reason.
Summaries – I think that the best thing about my current bible plan is the videos at the beginning of each week. These videos very briefly explain the content and context of the scripture of the week. It prepares me for what I’m about to expect and what I should be looking for in the text. It’s kind of like a course syllabus. Finding summaries of the books is not meant to replace reading scripture but is meant to help understand scripture better. Sometimes a chapter or even a translation (KJVlol) can be hard to read through because the times are just sooo different. Preparing beforehand gets you to a place where you can be “oh so what they mean by this verse is that…okay, cool, I get it”.
Get in the Mood – What if you’re not in the mood? Figure out how to curb it or work with it. Of course, there are days when I’m like “oh but can I just go back to sleep” or “oh I really don’t feel like reading what Jeroboam did”. There are a couple of things that take place when I’m not in the mood: 1. I get over it and just get through it (ha.) 2. I read only one chapter from the daily plan and save the rest for another day 3. I reread scripture I already know and then go back to the bible plan. Now, the last option does take a little bit more time than I plan for and since I usually read my Bible in the morning, it does delay my day. Of course, I take the hit if I don’t have anything pressing because otherwise, I do my best to prioritize my faith over my work.
Make it a habit – Supposedly, it takes 21 days to form a habit. That’s three weeks. Form. That. Habit. You need to make time and you need to do it every day. It’s like picking up any old habit. But for some reason the good ones are much more difficult than the bad ones (Binge watching Friends vs. binge reading Deuteronomy). The only way to get through it is to persevere and to do it. It’s not easy but that’s really what it comes down to.
Pray – Before I start, I pray that the Spirit guides me through each reading. When I finish, I thank God for His Word and pray that I am able to apply it to my life or see it in my day. This is how I get through my readings. Through prayer, it becomes less of a chore and more of a conversation with God. Prayer reminds me what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. This also helps me with getting in the mood.
It seems like there’s a lot of work that goes into reading the bible in a year and maybe there is, but at the same time there really isn’t. This is just a summary of how I helped shape this particular habit this year. Because I’ve been a lot more proactive in pursuing God’s Word, I’ve made so much more progress and have reached much more understanding than I have ever before. It doesn’t feel like I’m getting through it, which is kind of a good thing because I feel a yearning for more. So I’m going to keep wanting to know Him better which is what this is all about anyway. I just feel so blessed to be making so much headway and it’s inspiring me to do the One Year plan again so I can get into the word much deeper than this year.
Also, it’s never too late to start. Your year doesn’t even have to start in January. You can start in July and end in June of the next year. The idea here is that you need to get started and you should what whatever it takes for you to do so.