I’ve been an avid Bible reader for a long time and I believe that it is the inspired word of God, useful for teaching and correcting (2 Timothy 3:16-17). While I’ve read the New Testament many times over I can’t say that I’ve read the Bible in it’s entirety. I think I’ve missed some Old Testament stuff and I know for sure that I haven’t read any of the “begats” the lineage found in chapters upon chapters of some books of the Bible. Since I believe that the whole of Scripture is worth while I decided that I should try to read the whole Bible.
My husband for Christmas gave me this beautiful olive green Bible with my name engraved in the bottom right in gold script. It’s an ESV Study Bible and is about 2-3 inches thick, chock full of notes, commentaries, full-color maps, and in the last few pages, a year-long reading plan. This reading plan is different than the others I’ve seen because it gives four sections of reading for each day: the Psalms and Wisdom Literature, the Pentateuch and history of Israel, the Chronicles and Prophets, and the Gospels and Epistles. The fact that there’s a sampling of four different types of books in the Bible appealed to my dynamic personality. I like to change things up: my nail polish is changed weekly, I like different hand soaps at my sinks, and I enjoy wearing diverse kinds of earrings. Plugging through the Bible a book at a time, is dreary to me, and I’ve tried it, never making it past Exodus. By the time I’ve made it through Genesis I’m exhausted. I’m hoping this new reading plan will help with that.
I know that I will likely not make it to reading the four sections every day and so I will give myself grace when (not if) I miss a day. I bought a spiral notebook and wrote down, in advance, the week’s readings in a section, undated. The reading plan in the Bible broke the readings into days and has everything laid out from January to December. I’ve taken liberties with the plan as I’ve started it on July 1. I figure the first of July is a reasonable alternative to the first of the year. The year begins for me in August since I’m a high school teacher, what’s one more month back for the beginning of the school year?
I’ve made it through the first week and have already got a lot out of it. The introduction to the Daily Bible Study Reading Plan in my ESV Study Bible says that I ought to “…Pray(ing) to the Father that the Spirit will take what all the Scriptures teach about Christ and apply it to your mind and heart and life.” I have been doing that and I’ve found throughout this week for it to be the case. I’ve read scriptures this week that my spirit found comfort in and reassurance. “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:3).
I did make it through the first seven chapter of Chronicles without my eyes glazing over too much. This is one of the books with all the “begats” and lists all the descendants of many, many, people, most of them men. I perked up whenever the Chronicler mentioned the sister of so-and-so, and I wonder why she was mentioned. What special thing did she do? In exasperation on the first day after reading 1 Chronicles 1, I looked in my ESV’s “Introduction to I Chronicles” to find out what the point was for these lists upon lists of descendants. I counted 23 names in a list of descendants one time and thought how impressive that is. I don’t know 23 of my ancestors! Why would this be in the Bible? According to the ESV’s “Introduction of I Chronicles” the point of all those lists of ancestors is to remind the newly-returned exiled Jews that they are still people of God. It was to remind them of where they came from as I’m sure they had trouble remembering, being in captivity for all those years.
I’m excited to continue this reading plan and see where the Holy Spirit takes me. This year-long plan may take me a year and a half but I’ll get through it. The key is to do my reading the same time everyday: in the morning before I start my day.
Here is a link to the ESV Daily Bible Reading Plan that I’m following. It is meant to be cut into four bookmarks and each reading checked off of as you go and starts on January 1. I’ve started only a week ago and chose to write down the day’s listing in an undated notebook so I can read the selection and not get confused about the dates or give myself grace when I miss a day.