January 1st: Resolved to read through the Bible in a year. To pick a program and simply stick with it.
I know I’ve tried this before and failed (the lure of winning that Sunday School Certificate just wasn’t compelling enough), but this time I am really going to do it. Sheer will power will take me there. No excuses. It doesn’t matter that I work, have children, am sick, travel, celebrate holidays, or am just a lazy slob, this year I WILL do it.
I skip the plan that suggests you read straight through the boring. And the one that has you read twenty verses from five different books every day (too annoying). I go for the historical one. It looks interesting. This one has you read the Bible chronologically and you get to see the flow of Biblical history. I like the idea. You start with Genesis and end with Revelations, but, for example, when you get to the life of Moses you get to throw in the Psalms he wrote and hear his poetry through his troubles and triumphs. And when you get to the kings of Israel you get to read what the prophets were saying while their kingdoms crashed. This desire is more than just wanting to congratulate myself on having done a good thing.
Reading through the entire Bible would keep me from going the same old route which takes me to familiar places. Like Luke when I want to be jazzed by Jesus’ life. To the Psalms when I am depressed and doubting. I avoid Ecclesiastes; it is very dark. I am not fond of Leviticus either, too many sacrifices. And the minor prophets do rant so. However, I want to hear God’s voice in all its ways during all the times he spoke to and through men. I want to know Him. I want to know the hard parts where babies’ heads are dashed against stones. And I want to know why we must endure page after page of numbers and names of people we know nothing about.
I have read and I respect men like John Stott who say,
Christians who neglect the Bible simply do not mature. When Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy to the effect that human beings do not live by bread only but by God’s Word, he was asserting that the Word of God is just as necessary for spiritual health as food is for bodily health. I am not now thinking of remote Christian tribes people into whose language the Bible has not yet been translated, nor of illiterate people... I am thinking rather about ourselves. Our problem is not that the Bible is unavailable to us, but that we do not take advantage of its availability. We need to read and meditate on it daily, to study it in a fellowship group and to hear it expounded during Sunday Worship. Otherwise we shall not grow. Growth into maturity in Christ depends upon a close acquaintance with, and a believing response to, the Bible.
[Source: God’s Book For God’s People, John Stott, IVP p. 76]
So, even though I am tired from celebrating until midnight on the 31st of December, I prop myself up in bed. Denis brings me a cup of tea and I plunge in, reading Genesis 1-4. Creation accomplished! It feels so good to check off the square.
Part one of a three part drop from Bible Reading for Slackers and Shirkers by Margie Haack. Come back tomorrow to follow Margie as she valiantly endeavors to accomplish her resolution. Margie with her husband Denis are co-directors of Ransom Fellowship, a ministry helping Christians engage in postmodern culture in ways that are both authentic to the Christian faith and winsome in expression. She blogs at toadsdrinkcoffee.blogspot.com.