“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17 ).
A few years ago, my sweet, long time friend Wendy Pope inspired me to read through the entire Bible—a feat at which I had failed more times than I want to admit. Although I had participated in many Bible studies, I had to admit that I only knew bits and pieces of stories, passages, biblical characters, and specific verses, and I was tired of not fully understanding the whole picture, making excuses for things I didn’t know, or simply researching specific topics that confused me. I knew I wanted to grow closer to God and experience a deepened relationship, and honestly, I wanted to know HIS story so I could let it become a part of mine.
So I made a commitment to myself and to God, and purchased a Chronological Bible which includes the entire Bible, every word, but in the order of events as they actually occurred. This Bible read like an amazing novel that I couldn’t put down, and brought the Word to life in a whole new way for me. I passionately dug into His Word every day, and read Wendy’s inspiring and insightful blog posts each day as she walked her blog readers through the Word and helped make scripture applicable to real life.
I had a list of questions I answered each day regarding the passages I read, such as “Is there a promise to believe?” “Is there a sin to avoid?” and “Is there something new about God to learn?” I also answered questions like, “How can I practically apply this scripture in my life?” “Does this Scripture speak to something I am dealing with?” and “How do I feel led to pray about what I’ve read?” I journaled my thoughts and answers every single day, including the new things I had learned or that had stood out to me, and sometimes wrote out my deepest heartfelt prayers to God.
At first it was difficult and required discipline, and I didn’t always feel spiritually moved. But after a few months, my reading became such a big part of my faith walk that I couldn’t start my day without it.
This experience of working through the Bible during that one year transformed my faith completely. For the first time ever, God’s Word became alive to me. There were days when a certain passage would jump off the page, speaking directly to a burden I was carrying. On some days I would learn something amazing I hadn’t known before and be blown away by it. And on other days, I was moved to tears by what I read, recognizing how His Word was applicable to the very circumstances I was facing. Gratitude and thankfulness for the Lord were overwhelming. And now, when I look back through that red spiral notebook where 365 days worth of thoughts and prayers are recorded, I can see the bigger picture that was playing out and how God answered prayers. I am reminded how alive His word really is.
If you have never read through the Bible or never made Bible reading a priority in your life, don’t feel guilty about it, but also don’t procrastinate on making a change! Sometimes the hardest part of studying the Bible and meditating on it is simply getting started! Maybe think of it like an email from God every day. What do we do when we see an email in our inbox? We open it! And no message is more important than a daily dose of living water through the Word.
Reading the whole Bible – yes, the whole thing – might seem overwhelming, but all you have to do right now, is get started and ask God to speak to you through the crisp white pages, and to breathe life into the Scriptures He wants to speak through. If your eyes divert back to one Scripture over and over, that may be God speaking. If a Scripture seems to be completely relevant to a situation you are facing, that may be God speaking. If a story brings you to tears, that may be God speaking. There will be days when you feel you haven’t heard anything significant at all, or felt any spiritually moving emotions. But trust that God is still close by and when He is ready to speak something of significance into your life, He will.
If you’re ready to jump in and read through the Bible in 2015, I want to invite you to check out Wendy’s blog as she is kicking off a brand new year of Reading Through The Word. Through her incredible insight and personal videos, the Bible can come to life in your heart too.
Click here to find out how you can become a part of the 2015 Read Through The Word Bible Study, and make 2015 the year that takes your faith walk to a whole new level.