At the beginning of 2018 I made it may goal to reflect on at least one verse from each book of the Bible in the year. I also hoped I would be able to read or listen to each book in it’s entirety. As with any good goal, it’s most successful when you are reasonable vs legalistic. As the year went on for me, artistic Bible journaling (while fun) took too much energy. Due to some health struggles I had to adapt the goal. The goal was never there to be something to check off and say I did, but rather a framework for connecting with Jesus. For those of you who joined the challenge, I pray that you also were able to adapt and use it simply as a tool to grow rather than a prescription to follow precisely.
I thankfully was able to read all 66 books this year, which is actually the first time I’ve done that straight through. Here are a few things I learned (or relearned) about myself and Scripture along the way:
- “The same ol’ thing” gets old. I think one of the reasons past attempts to read straight through the Bible have failed has to do with pacing. Many of the other plans I’ve tried break it up to a few chapters a day. When you’re on your 2nd month in Leviticus or Isaiah it starts to turn into a chance to check the box. I found early on that this challenge fought against that. Because each week was a new book or books, it didn’t have time to get old. While it was a year-long challenge, it felt new again each week. I’m guessing for some it was annoying to have 50 chapters to read one week and 3 the next but personally I liked it.
- Do it with friends. To be honest, the accountability of having to post about this challenge each week was probably one of the only reasons I actually made it through. I’ve heard from others that did it with friends or family members who said the encouragement from others and the chance to talk about what they were learning was the extra boost they needed to stick with it. While our personal relationship with God is just that… personal, having chances to share what we’re learning with others helps it sink even deeper into our souls.
- Give yourself grace. I said this before, but when we get legalistic about reading Scripture, it takes away from the purpose of it. Reading God’s Word is designed to breath life into us. If the way we’re going about that feels like it’s sucking life out of us, we need to try something new. This challenge wouldn’t work for some people in the sense that it’s too structured and for others it doesn’t feel structured enough. Find what works for you but even within that, give yourself grace. Are you connecting with God and His word? Awesome. That’s what matters. So what if you’re two months “behind”?!? More than once when I was “behind” this year the words I ended up reading were EXACTLY what God knew I needed to hear in that week. His Word is alive and active and doesn’t have to fit within a weekly structure.
- Every single word is important. I already knew this, but I found so much value in reading every word of every verse of every chapter of every book. It challenged my view of myself, God, humanity, and more… in all the best ways. I was able to see things more clearly than I had before, and other things I walked away more confused. It’s easy for me to pick and choose what to read and form a picture of God and life that may not be so close to accurate. Reading it all helps give context and meaning to harder to understand passages.
For those of you who joined me on this journey, share below in the comments… what were somethings you learned along the way?
ALSO, whether you technically “finished” the challenge or not, if you stuck with us throughout the last year and are still actively connecting with God each day, be sure to fill out the form here to get the personalized verse cards I promised at the beginning of the year!
Praying blessings over you all in the year to come that you would continue to find ways to connect with Jesus and His Word each day!