Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reading through the Bible

I am working on reading through the Bible again.

I started on January 1, and I am not behind yet! Although being behind, or ahead, or "right on track" is not what matters. What matters is whether you stick to it and finish.

Last time I tried to read through the Bible, I stalled out in Leviticus. This is odd for me--not that I stalled out, but that I stalled out in Leviticus--because usually I find Leviticus fascinating. But there you have it, that's what happened.

I first read through the Bible in 1993-1994 (I think; this is as close a guess as I can make). That time, I read straight through from cover to cover. It was a good experience, but there was a lot that I just glossed over and did not begin to understand.

In around 1996 or 1997, I did it again. For the New Year, our church had handed out a chronological guide to reading through the Bible, and I used it. It was interesting to do it that way, but I noticed some mistakes in the guide. It actually skipped one of the minor prophets, and it had you read a number of things twice (which is not a huge problem, but it does take away from forward progress if your goal is to finish reading all of the Bible). After that experience, I had the feeling that was good, but it could have been so much better. In response, I spent a year or so designing my own plan for reading through the Bible chronologically.

I'm not sure of the timing of when I actually finished designing my own road-map for going through the Bible, but after I had written it, I tried it out, and gave it to my husband and a few other relatives, asking them to try it out as well. I believe it took me 18 months to go through the Bible using the plan I designed. I enjoyed it quite a lot, and I got good feedback from others who used it as well.

So I read through the Bible three times. And then I failed. I started trying to do it again two or three years ago, and as I mentioned already, I stalled out in Leviticus. I had the feeling that God was leading me to read in smaller doses, to study more carefully and progress more slowly. I spent time reading through particular books of the Bible, but failed to keep records, so I'm not even sure which books I studied on my own. I was teaching a Bible study and did a lot of work on Job, 1 and 2 Peter, 1 and 2 Kings (and 1 and 2 Chronicles beside them), Colossians and Philippians.

But now I am back in the saddle, as they say. I'm reading through again. I've finished a month and stayed on track, so I should be 1/12 of the way done!

It's hard for me to read every day and write every day (and cook, grocery shop, wash dishes, wash clothes, make beds, clean toilets and drive Jonathan to music lessons), so posts here will be sporadic and probably short. We will see what happens. I have not gotten to Leviticus yet.

Here are some verses I read yesterday:

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent.
Oh Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!
Psalm 30:11-12 ESV