Pastor Bob O'Bannon
As we close in on the beginning of another new year, it’s time to start putting together a plan for reading through the entire Bible in 2015. This is a very worthy but daunting task. It’s easy to have high aspirations in January, but before long, as our schedules get busy and as we wade through more difficult portions of the Bible, we get tempted to give up.
With this very common occurrence in mind, I offer five tips to help you get from Genesis to Revelation this coming year:
1. Don’t get hung up on details.
Of course we want to pay attention to the details of the Biblical text, since we believe that even the small nuances of the Bible are inspired by God’s Spirit and profitable. But if you want to get through the Bible in a year, you can’t hover over tiny grammatical or historical details. Instead, write down the particular issue of concern so you can return to it later, and keep reading.
2. Put your smart phone in another room.
If your smart phone is next to you while reading, it will demand your attention before long, and you probably will not be able to resist looking at it. Looking at your phone often leads to picking it up, and picking it up often leads to sending a text or email, and next thing you know, your Bible reading time is up, and you’re now a day behind. Put your phone somewhere where it can not bother you.
3. Don’t despair if you fall behind.
Let me tell you one thing that will absolutely happen when you read through the Bible in a year — you will fall behind. It is about as sure as the sun coming up tomorrow morning. If this happens, don’t give up, and don’t try to make up all of your reading at once. Just double up your reading on days when you’re able, and catch up slowly. Most reading plans feature assignments that are shorter than normal, so these provide good opportunity to close the gap.
4. Catch the vision.
Next year, I will be starting my eighth year in a row of reading through the Bible in a year. That means that on my 60th birthday, I will have read through the Bible at least 17 times. If you’re 20 years old, and you start now to read through the Bible every year, you will have read through the Bible 40 times by the time you’re 60! The vision of such a worthy accomplishment can go a long way in keeping you going.
5. Believe the Gospel.
Thanks be to God that we are not saved by reading through the Bible in a year! The good news is that God does not love the Christian any less if you don’t get this done. So rest in this promise, no matter how many times you’ve failed at this, and try again on Jan. 1, 2015.