Read Through the
Bible This Year
By Jeff Fry
How careful have I been in the past to take the time to allow God to speak to me? James 1:19, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." Whom should we be most willing to hear? Ephesians 3:4, "Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ". How often do I not understand what I should do? What Book has all the answers?
Is it possible to read the Bible thru in a year? Herein, lies the problem. Do I WANT to read the Bible? Time... I have time to play. I have time to work. I have time to sleep. I have time to eat. I have time to do just about whatever I want to do. How often I have told myself that I'm going to read the Bible more and then don't? In Eph 4:20-24, 5:16; as we learn about putting on the new man, we must put off the old man. This requires MAKING time for good (or better) things that will help us grow spiritually.
I decided last year that I was going to read the Bible thru twice this year (1998). I made it thru the first time June 18th. But then I got lazy. I started telling myself: "Self, you've read it thru once. That's more than a lot of Christians. Let's forget about reading it again." I was glad I had told some that my goal was to read it thru twice because they'd ask me where I was in my reading. I'd tell some where I was, not to be bragging, but to encourage myself to keep reading. I'm not writing this to brag, but rather to let you know what it took to accomplish this. It seems like this is something spectacular to have done but how ashamed I am of myself when I realize "what it is" that I'm reading, the time it actually takes to read it, and how much time I spend in READING other magazines, books and papers.
This is what it took for me to make it. I'm not saying these other things are wrong, but we need to keep God first in our lives (Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.") Set spiritual reading times before "unnispired" reading (I include any reading other than God's word in this). Don't start "cheating" right off saying I do read "spiritual" papers and articles. Nothing is better than God's Word.
1) Set your mind on your goal (Col 3:2). Realize just how little time it takes each day to read the number of chapters it takes to accomplish that goal. Try to stay ahead of the reading schedule, not behind.
2) I stopped (slowed down considerably) reading the newspaper. I liked reading the paper. Especially, the sports and comics. I have never been one to read the paper cover-to-cover, but I read quite a bit of it. It seemed like I was reading the same thing over and over, but that didn't stop me from coming back the next day and doing it again.
3) I stopped (slowed down considerably) reading sport and car magazines. I have found myself a little on the disgusted side with sports anyway, but I still was reading them.
4) Keep God's word handy (if you don't already). Waiting at the doctor's office (we all enjoy that!). At the grocery. Children's practices. For supper. Meeting with someone. At the restaurant. Traveling. You don't know how impatient I get waiting in lines or waiting for people. Pulling out my Bible and reading seems to make the time go much faster. It also may open up some studies (Little has someone realized what they opened themselves up for when they say "Understandest what thou readest?"). Keeping a small Bible in your pocket makes this a lot easier and dividing your reading also may help. Don't "lose the book" like what took place recorded in 2 Kings 22.
5) Tell others your goal and tell them to keep asking you about where you're at. It's encouraging. It'll provoke you to keep on. Remember the Scriptures are what testifies of Jesus (John 5:39). It takes encouragement to change habits and get them established.
6) Talk about what you have read. Bible stories are interesting conversational topics. Every time I read the Bible thru it is amazing how much I didn't catch the last time thru. When you "hear" the word, go and get your brother, and tell him (John 1:40-50). Being more familiar with God's Word may help to establish the truth with others. Also, it will probably help you to recognize a misuse of a passage.
Finally, another thing that has helped me to continue to read is to think of the number of times Jesus said to people "Have ye not read?" It is a talent (reading) most everyone of us has and need to use, not hide (Mat 25:14-30). Ignorance will not get us out of trouble (Acts 17:30). Fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7). The way to escape a lot of sin is having a knowledge of it, and its results (1 Cor. 10:13).
Do you realize the time it took you to read this article you could have read another chapter of God's Word? Thanks for listening to me. But, let's both listen to God more.
[EDITOR's NOTE: Thanks to Jeff Fry for this thought provoking article! Some people live an entire lifetime and never read through the Bible! If you would like to write Jeff, he can be reached at 2019 Homesite Drive, Dayton, OH 45414, or Email him at JEFRY74@aol.com.]
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