I haven't always wanted to read the entire Bible. There was a time where I was extremely content with seeing one or two verses in my Youversion app. I was happy to snack on the short paragraph at the top of my morning devotional. But then came a day where my confusion of the word became rooted in my lack of knowledge and application of the context in which it was being written. I learned that God can seem like a different kind of God when you don't truly understand when or why He was saying something or if He was even saying it to begin with. It was around this time that I felt led to read the entire Bible.
This task is much easier said than done.
The Bible is not a novel, it's not a textbook, but it is a collection of letters and stories telling of the coming of the Messiah and His finished work that is salvation, offered to all of humanity. I consider this to be the simplistic beauty of the Word. On the other hand, the complexities of digesting the Word lie in the understanding of the different translations, keywords, geography and key cultures. You have to understand who is talking: God, a disciple, a prophet, Jesus etc. It helps significantly when you understand the cultural significance of certain practices, or the meaning of a certain word in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic.
When considering these things, you may be able to see where reading a random verse in the middle of a letter, in the middle of one long story could be a bit confusing. After having this revelation, I decided to read the entire Bible. I started a 90-day plan with the intentions of reading straight through without any digestion, studying etc. Just reading and note-taking.
That was a fail.
The second time around, I decided to read the bible in one year, chronologically.
This has gone a lot better for me, but I've learned a few things along the way that I believe will be helpful for anyone who wants to do the same.
1. Throw the time constraint out the window, especially if you don't plan on simply reading straight through. In my opinion, the only way to do it in a year, three months, whatever amount of time there is, is just to read and nothing but read. Read it like a book and take notes where you have questions along the way. This allows you to refer back to your questions when you're ready to study it at a later date. I tried this but it didn't work for me. I have to study, I need a deeper understanding of certain themes and time to meditate and digest. Now, I look at the time as more of a guideline, a marker for me to know where I left off.
2. Find some kind of breakdown, summary or recap that you find engaging and informative. For me, it's The Bible Project, which I watch after I finish each book. They have animated breakdowns of almost the entire old testament but there are also other resources available. For you, it could be a life application study bible which may slow you down in your reading. I personally, had a lot of questions while reading the Old Testament that I felt were vital to my understanding and moving forward. Taking a moment to digest made reading a lot more rich and enjoyable. I used The Bible Project and took notes on the videos, many times they would answer questions that I had through the chapter or provide information that gave me peace about my unanswered questions.
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Proverbs 4:7
3. Take short breaks to read other parts of the Bible, especially when you are in the part of the Old Testament that is outlining the law. This space can get repetitive and shall we say; boring. It helps to have a New Testament perspective to fall back on and remind yourself of the point of the story, which is Christ.
4. Look for Jesus. He is in the INS and OUTS of every story. One thing I've learned is that the bible is a story, a journey, telling us about the love and sacrifice of Christ. You can see Him on every page if you know who it is you are looking for.
5. Find a friend to read with. Sometimes the journey can be difficult, sometimes you feel like the questions you have are ridiculous etc. It's nice to have someone to discuss these things with, who will encourage you along the way.
I hope these tips helped! Feel free to comment below any other tips that you may have. Share the wealth!