***edit*** I’ve had some excellent suggestions from Paul R, one of the worship leaders in St Silas’. He’s proposed editing my comments to better communicate the ideas behind this plan, and take out some ambiguity so I’ve done that now! ***edit***
By 31st of December this year I will be able to say that I’ve read the whole bible from cover to cover.
Let’s be honest here. The bible is a BIG collection of books, lots of pages, lots of writing, and is not always easy to read. It’s not written like a novel, designed to entertain the reader. So reading it is, in one sense, quite an achievement to be proud of.
But this is not about being smug.
The reason for trying to read the whole bible is that we human beings need God. We need to understand him and know him. We were made to revel in the unspeakable beauty of his glorious character, to enjoy him and glorify him forever.
God has communicated himself, and his glorious nature to us through the words written down in the bible. How do you go about communicating the character of the creator of the universe? How do we really learn to “know” him, not just witness certain facts about him?
The bible is one of God’s most explicit ways of communicating himself to us. If we ask for his help, he will enable us to understand the “Scriptures”. He will educate us as to his true character, and in knowing the truth about God, (and also putting those truths into practice) we will become transformed into the people God intended us to be. Knowing the scriptures gives us something by which we can measure and test anything else, to know whether it comes from God or not.
Jesus said “the truth will set you free”. Reading the bible over these past two years has opened my dull eyes to incredible truths about God. I feel the process of transformation that his holy spirit is working in me. God has given me perseverance, even though I’m lazy and undisciplined. I am being transformed. I feel that freedom taking hold. I have tasted the “living water” of Jesus Christ, God’s son, and there is nothing more satisfying in the universe. I feel like the proverbial beggar telling other beggars a way to find the most amazing, satisfying food.
The reason reading the “whole” bible has been beneficial is because it helps you to get a balanced perspective. Some people say “the NT is mostly about x and the OT is mostly about y”. Terms like “the God of the Old Testament” get thrown around by people who often have only read sections. Reading it all has helped me to understand that it is indeed the same God, that it fits together, and you really benefit from having all the pieces of the jigsaw in front of you!
There are pitfalls and challenges which we should explore over the next couple of weeks. We’ll outline the practical aspects of what will be expected of us as we begin this undertaking.We’ll hopefully talk about motivation and guiding principles as well as useful techniques.
But I pray that as you read this initially, you will get excited about the prospect of reading the bible with us. If you are unsure whether daily, methodical bible reading is of value to you, pray to God and ask his spirit to reveal the truth in this matter. If you’re worried that you just won’t be able to commit, then don’t rule it out just yet. We’ll be looking at ways to make this an achievable target in the next few days.
Thanks for reading
***and thanks to Paul for his comments! I love being part of a community of wise, helpful people***