Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution to read through the entire Bible in one year? If so, you’re not alone. It’s a popular resolution. Countless websites promote it. You can even buy one-year Bibles divided into 365 daily readings to help us.
Reading through the Bible is a goal every believer should make. It helps us to grasp the big picture of Scripture and its supernatural character. It reveals the interconnectivity of the Old and New Testaments, and how the individual books of the Bible fit within the overall framework. Reading through the whole Bible will have a positive impact on your faith.
The quest to read the whole Bible in one year can be intimidating, especially if you are new to reading it. So is this New Year’s resolution right for you? Keep reading to find out.
What’s More Important?
The goal of reading the Bible in a year is an admirable goal, but if we are not careful, it can lead us into the trap of prioritizing the number of verses read rather than actual understanding. What’s the point of reading the Bible in one year if we don’t understand and apply its life-changing spiritual truths?
A wise man once said, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). God wants us to understand His Word, not speed through it! So, whether you are a veteran or rooky at navigating Scripture, here are a few Bible-reading strategies that are best prioritized over speed.
Build a Daily Habit
Instead of focusing on the amount of material you cover, commit to reading for a specific time period every day. This could be 10, 30, or even 60 minutes. Not everyone has the same available time or is able to digest the same amount of content at once. The key here is to choose what works best for you and then consistently show up for that special time with God.
You won’t always cover the same amount of ground or have a spiritual epiphany every time you read. That’s ok. Just enjoy the goodness of God as you journey through His Word. It’s a very personal experience in which you’ll soon be saying, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jeremiah 15:16).
Make Your Mark
“The word of God is alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV), and we are meant to interact with it. One way we can do this is by marking our Bibles. Highlight, underline, and circle keywords and concepts in your Bible. Write notes in the margin or take the time to summarize what you read in a journal. These activities help to solidify biblical truths in our minds. We might compare this process to chewing our food well before swallowing. It aids in digesting the food so that it can nurture and become a part of us.
Make Memorization Part of Your Plan
Spend time memorizing key verses and concepts. This doesn’t have to be boring. Choose a verse that speaks to you that day. Contemplate the outline and themes of the chapter or book you’ve been studying. Or try committing to memory a verse that’s particularly special to you. Think about it and reread it when you have a moment during the day. Practice recalling what you’ve learned by sharing it with others. Doing these things will help you to hide the word of God in your heart (Psalm 119:11) so that it can be easily recalled later.
Make Jesus Your Focus
Rather than focusing on reading the whole Bible in a year, focus on finding Jesus in all the Bible. The ever-pressing question should be, “What does this teach me about the love of God as revealed in Jesus?”
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought they knew a lot about the Scriptures, but Jesus said to them, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39, 40). They had missed the point of the Bible—a revelation of God’s love to humanity through Jesus Christ.
Jesus must be front and center when we read the Bible. Otherwise, we’ll end up with a dry, formal religious experience instead of a transformative relationship with our Savior. Remember that the words we read in the Bible are Christ’s “words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
Whatever your individual pace is, the ultimate reason to read the Bible is to spend time with Jesus. Showing up consistently, taking notes on what you read, and committing Scripture to memory are all ways to know Him better.
Make knowing Jesus through the Bible your New Year’s resolution for 2023!
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