Last year I read 64 books. The year before that, 66. This doesn’t include the multitude of books I’ve read to the kids. But this year? This year, I’m at a mere 10 books. At this rate, I’ll be lucky to read 30. Why?
Well, because of one other book I’ve been reading. A book that took me exactly 90 days to finish: the Bible! I read the Bible in 90 days! The entire Bible from cover to cover in 90 days! It’s basically only 12 pages a day and I DID IT!
Now, it’s not that I’ve never read the Bible. I’ve read it at church, for devotionals, in Bible College and followed Bible plans but I’ve never read the Bible straight though and so quickly.
Do you wanna know what I walked away with? Two things.
1. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THE BIBLE.
OK, you knew I was going to say that, right? Well, it’s not for the reasons you might think.
If you identify as a Christian, you need to read the Bible because the it is the who-what-where-when-how of our faith. As you read the Bible straight-through, you’ll begin to see not verses you’ve heard sermons on, or passages you’ve done a word-study, stories you’ve read a fictional novel about but an actual full, big, spanning-the-millenia story that is still going on today.
If you’re not a Christian, you think the Bible is just an old book (especially if you’ve ever adamantly disagreed with something in the Bible), you need to know what your disagreement is all about.
The Bible is not a graphic on Pinterest or a saying on a church sign. The Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, letters and histories. If you haven’t read it, you have no idea what those snippets of feel-good sayings, proverbs and stories are really about.
My father-in-law has read the Bible in its entirety almost two times a year for his entire adult life. (WHAT?!!) He says the more he reads it, the more he begins to see where all the verses fit. All those “things” we know in the Bible begin to line up chronologically and in their right context.
Bible scholars (and wannabes) are always harping on taking a verse “out of context” and for good reason. We get so excited about the way a phrase or verse makes us feel, but we have no idea what it actually meant at the time of writing or what it means now. Well, read the Bible all the way through and it will be a lot harder to take things out of context.
2. WHAT DO I REALLY BELIEVE?
I’m going to be really honest here. As I was reading the Bible I said to my husband, “I want to go back and read this and mark all the things I disagree with.”
Yes, I said DISAGREE.
But hear me out: I do believe God’s Word is inspired and living and active. Growing up in the church, surrounded by the Bible, Christian culture, sermons, podcasts and blog posts, I have been overwhelmed with “this is what this verse means to me…” and “here’s what the Bible really says…” and “God spoke to me through this verse…”. And I’m not saying those things aren’t true. They might be.
BUT. The question I began to ask myself as I was reading was this:
Do I believe the Bible OR do I believe the form of the Bible I’ve been taught by humans? AND am I willing to not believe something I’m passionate about? Am I willing to stop believing something I’ve thought to be true my whole life in order to believe what the Bible actually says?
I don’t have a specific example for you. It’s not like I had a revelation. I just got this feeling that people who are adamant about what “the Bible says”, probably are more adamant about what they THINK and FEEL the Bible says.
It was a big wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee-Amanda to remind me that just because I admire a blogger, buy a book from a Christian publishing company, read an article from someone I respect on Facebook or listen to an articulate podcaster, doesn’t mean it’s actually God-breathed inspiration. If I do feel like maybe God is speaking to me through an article or sermon, it’s up to me to go to the Bible, to go to God and say, “Keep talking, Lord. I’m listening.”
So, yeah. Reading the Bible in 90 days was a big thing for me. I’m pumped to do it again, buuuuut probably not for another year! If you attempt to read the Bible in 90 days, here are my four little tips:
1. Stick with it. Reading 12 pages a day really isn’t that much–reading 48 pages in one day because you’re four days behind? ROUGH.
2. Use an e-reader. I can just read so much faster on my Kindle! Plus, the Kindle version of the Bible in 90 Days tells you exactly where to start/stop right in the text.
3. Get into it. I got to the point where it was like turning on a TV show or getting back into a favorite novel. It was like going to a PLACE when I opened up the Bible. Not necessarily because I was so engrossed or it was so interesting but because I was in the middle of this BIG story.
4. Read normally. Don’t read devotionally or take notes on every word. Just read the way you would read a magazine or novel. You’ll get a fuller understanding of each book or storyline.
So, tell me: have you ever read the Bible straight through? Especially in a short amount of time? I’d love to hear your experience!