First, I have a confession to make: I didn’t quite complete the ‘challenge’ within 90 days, it was more like 100 days but I think that’s close enough. I wasn’t being sponsored to do this!
As I posted a while back at the beginning of September, a group of us agreed to read the Bible from cover to cover over a 90 day period. When we could we met with each other each Sunday to have a chat about how we’d found things, insights, frustrations and questions.
I know quite a few people were intrigued that I joined in this challenge so I thought I would outline here the main things I learnt:
Reading the Bible every day – whether you are taking it in or not, or whether it leaves you cold or you have a major insight – is good for you. Full stop.
It’s a great discipline. Just as sometimes you can go to the gym and not notice any improvement at all – indeed, sometimes you feel worse – over time it has an impact. The Bible is no different. It truly is ‘living and active and sharper than a two-edged sword’
It is of benefit with most of the books of the Bible to read a whole book through in one sitting every so often.
This is particularly true of the Gospels and the Epistles, they are full narratives from beginning to end and it is helpful to read them in one go, otherwise you can miss things. Books this is not especially good for are the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) – because they are almost too long for this! And Psalms and Proverbs, because each section is purposely written as a stand-alone piece.
Reading the Bible for up to an hour each day made me realise that I CAN make time for spiritual disciplines.
I was helped by having a long commute, but doing this did make me realise that with effort (discipline comes along with sacrifice), it is possible to make time to nurture yourself spiritually).
Reading the Old Testament law and prophets helps you to understand some of the words and images Jesus uses.
You can’t fully understand the Gospels and their religious context without reading the Old Testament.
Reading the Bible all the way through provides an affirmation of the fundamentals of Christian belief, that Christ died for our sins, was raised on the third day and that He will come again.
Although there were challenges along the way, and I still have a lot of unanswered questions, I found the experience largely spiritually uplifting.
My favourite bit:
My favourite book of the Bible remains the book of Ruth. However, this time, I really enjoyed Genesis.
My least favourite bit:
I really struggled with the book of Jeremiah. I found it so bleak and quite discouraging. However, one of the strengths of the way we did this was meeting together each week to discuss how we were doing. Invariably, where one person found it hard, someone else really enjoyed it. This just showed me how the Bible really is a ‘gift that keeps on giving’. When I read Jeremiah again, maybe I’ll feel differently.
Let me know if you would like the plan which we used. I would really recommend, if you are wanting to do this too, undertaking it with at least one other person so that you can encourage each other along the way.