COLUMN: Read through the Bible in the coming year

Published 7:30 am Sunday, January 7, 2024

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Many years ago, my father gave me a special Bible with a black, leather cover. The pages were falling out of the book’s binding and the cover was coming off the Bible.

When he placed it in my hands, I could hear the emotion in his voice. “If this Bible could talk…” he began reliving his memories as a young minister. He told me this was the first Bible he used for preaching. The loose, well-worn pages spoke of the book’s frequent use. Underlined verses and notes in the margins represented hours of Bible study for sermons.

Although some people feel such respect for the Word of God they wouldn’t write on its pages, many others feel they should mark significant passages that “speak” to them. That’s what made my dad’s Bible special to me – being able to read the verses that meant the most to him.

Has the Bible ever talked to you? Have you ever been reading one of its 1,189 chapters when suddenly a particular passage of Scripture leaped off the page into your heart? Dwight L. Moody once remarked, “We ought to open the Holy Book as we would go into a sanctuary where we were sure of meeting our Heavenly Father face to face, of hearing His voice.”

At first glance, the 1,500 plus pages of the Bible can appear a challenge for even an avid reader. Though you may find it difficult to believe, there are people who read the entire Bible every year, averaging three chapters a day. An article by Crossway Publishing states, “In just 12 minutes per day, you could read the whole Bible in a year…In just six minutes per day, you could read the entire New Testament in six months.”

There are different methods for reading through the Bible. You can start in Genesis and go to Revelation. It’s easy for me to get bogged down in the long lists of the Old Testament “begats.” I’ve found it easier to start with the book of Matthew and finish the New Testament first, then go back to the beginning.

Bible-reading plans suggest a couple of chapters from the Old and New Testaments each day, along with one Psalm and a couple of verses from Proverbs. Some have suggested reading and reading Proverbs, with its 31 chapters, one for each day of the month.

Here’s some more advice. As you open your Bible to read, ask God to help you understand it. After all, He gave people the words to write. One of those writers said, “The word of God is living and active…and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).

“The Holy Scriptures tell us what we could never learn any other way: they tell us what we are, who we are, how we got here, why we are here, and what we are required to do while we remain here,” according to pastor and author A.W. Tozer. Billy Graham once said, “The Bible can change our lives as we read it and obey its teachings every day.”

Read the greatest book ever written at least once in your lifetime. The beginning of the new year would be a good time to start. Let the Bible speak to you each day.

— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”