As homeschool teachers, we tend to focus most on the things our children need to learn. We ourselves regularly learn along the way, of course, but we don’t always take time to really dig into something primarily for our own sake.
I’m not sure I was necessarily thinking about this last January when I made it my goal to read through the whole Bible in a year. I was mostly thinking about how this goal would be good for me spiritually and was something I had never done before and would like to do.
But I would say it turned out to be educational for me in many ways, and I think this self-education experience will pass on benefits to my children as well.
What I Did
I am usually very much a fan of printed books vs. e-books. But when deciding how to approach my Bible-reading goal last year, I knew that one of the first things I do in the morning is reach for my smart phone. For good or ill, my phone is something consistent and constant in my life these days, and for someone who is not very good at routine, this was something I thought could be used to my advantage.
So, I downloaded a Bible app (specifically, this one) and chose a plan (specifically, a chronological start to finish). The readings included about 3-5 chapters each day, and generally took me around 20-30 minutes. (I tend to go slowly and try to take in the details, though, so it would likely go more quickly for someone else.) There were days where I missed my readings, as you’ll learn in a minute. But in the end, I made it through—not only for my very first time within a year, but for my very first time all the way through ever.
What I Learned: Notes on the Reading Process
Of course, I could never list all the things that I learned this year. I even tried listing just the highlights, and this post got too long. So for now, I’m only going to list the things I learned about the process of reading through the Bible in a year, rather than what I learned from the content.
1. The Bible app was a lifesaver. I’ve attempted to read through the Bible multiple times, even without the goal of finishing in a year, and it has never worked before. As mentioned above, the consistency of having the readings on my phone definitely worked best for me. You can even set your app to give you a daily reminder (which is the only way my generation can remember anything these days, am I right?!).
2. The time needed to do the reading is quite manageable. Many of us probably spend at least that much time on our phones each day browsing far less important things on the internet. (Guilty here.) But this is no time-wasting habit. There are some things I regret having spent too much time on this past year, but reading the Bible was certainly not one of them.
3. To keep the daily reading manageable, however, I had to do three things. First, I set aside a specific time of day for my reading. For me, first thing in the morning worked best, as noted above. In the past, I always felt like I couldn’t find a specific time of day that worked for me, but once I incorporated the reading into my routine and got into the habit, it really wasn’t that difficult. (It definitely helps that I don’t currently have babies, though… Some seasons and walks of life make it harder to work in this time than others!)
Second, I needed to stay consistent. I confess, I did not do this as well as I’d like. Around the end of November, I was about a month and a half behind in my readings. It was not easy to catch up during the busy month of December, and I ended up spending hours on each of the last few days of the year trying to finish. It would have been much easier keeping it spread out as intended. (That’s the goal for this year!)
And third, I couldn’t get too stuck on the details. The Bible is extremely rich, down to the level of each individual word. I have always tended to do more in-depth studies, but if you want to read the whole Bible in a year, there isn’t time for that every day. Sometimes you have to be satisfied with the main gist of the day’s reading. You can always make a note to come back and study the details another time!
4. The Bible contains some difficult books, but with the goal of reading through in a year, you’re never stuck in any one place for too long. You know how some people complain about getting stuck in Numbers? Those are obviously the people who’ve never gotten to Ezekiel. 😉 And yet, with the plan I used, you can be done with Ezekiel in about two and a half weeks, versus about 3 times that if you read one chapter at a time!
And speaking of not having time to get into the details, in my next post I will explain what I learned content-wise from the Bible. For now, suffice it to say that the lessons learned were certainly worth the time spent. I feel more knowledgeable and able to teach my children from the Word than ever before, even though I’ve been in church and reading the Bible all my life. In fact, I enjoyed the plan so much that I’m trying a similar one for 2019. Most likely I’ll switch to something more detailed after that, but this was so out of the ordinary for me that I have to try it again!
I’m very thankful we have the opportunity and the freedom to read these Scriptures, to which many generations before us did not have such easy access. I wish I had taken better advantage of them sooner, but there’s no time like the present to begin! Anyone want to join me?
Photo Credit: iStock. Following image courtesy of author.