Several of us committed to read the Bible all the way through in 2015. If you are in that group, did you make it? If you are not in that group, is there someone you know who participated? We used the “Chronological Bible,” a reorganization of every verse of scripture according to the order of biblical events. It has been a fascinating journey through scripture, and now that it’s complete, I’d like to offer a couple of reflections on the process.
The difficulty of the discipline. Reading scripture every day is a challenge! I completed my reading on January 1, just one day behind schedule. For some reason my New Year’s Eve was full of other activities and family gatherings. But that day was not unusual for me; like many other days through the year, my Bible reading time slipped through my fingers. It is a challenge to keep the Bible front and center in my daily routine! It truly is a discipline – but if I am to be a disciple of Jesus, disciplines are to be expected. What does your Bible reading routine look like?
The connectedness of the journey. This path through the scriptures was amazing, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Seeing stories from different books of the Bible lined up right next to each other gave me new insights into the stories themselves and the progression of the biblical narrative. Many of the Psalms were sprinkled in among the stories which prompted their creation; this added depth and meaning to my experience of scripture. I was able to see the Bible as one grand narrative, from beginning to end. What is your mental picture of the Bible like?
The persistence of God in his mission. From beginning to end, the Bible always reveals God as one who is on a mission, who is always pursuing humanity, who is always calling people to follow him and to bring about his peaceful kingdom in this world. Individual stories sometimes have a more violent side to them, but the overall thrust of the Bible is God’s desire for reconciliation with humanity. God wants to be in relationship with the people whom he created. And he has been up to that work for several thousand years – from Adam and Abraham through Jesus and John – and even beyond the chronological boundaries of the Bible. How is God working toward reconciliation and restoration in your life?
The need for repetition. I have read the scriptures through several times now, but each reading gives me new insights and calls me to deeper relationship with God. Finishing the Chronological Bible is a fine accomplishment, but it points me forward to the next question: what will I do next?
What’s next? My next Bible reading adventure is to take a journey with the good people at The Bible Project (www.jointhebibleproject.com). Over the past couple of years, they have developed amazing videos that illustrate the books and themes of the Bible. Recently, they have released a daily Bible-reading plan (thebibleproject.tumblr.com/readscripture) that breaks the Bible into sixteen chapters, each exploring one part of the overarching theme of scripture: God’s desire to lead people to Jesus, the source of wisdom, life, and love.
If you are looking for a new Bible reading plan to keep you going through 2016, I highly recommend The Bible Project! But whether you use their resources or not, I encourage you – I urge you – to immerse yourself in scripture in this new year. Read, pray, explore, question, breathe, center yourself in the Bible!