One popular and worthwhile goal is to read the Bible in a new year. This often gets derailed around February as Bible readers find themselves slogging through Leviticus and Numbers. As the Israelites wander aimlessly in the wilderness, so, too, do many Bible reading goals. If you want to keep to the resolution and finish the entirety of the Bible in a year, here are a few tips that will hopefully propel you through any difficult sections.
1. Listen to an audio version.
There are numerous free audio Bibles available through websites and apps. Search your preferred language and translation of the Bible and pick the narrator you like best. Listening to the Scriptures has long been how God’s people have digested them. For many of God’s people, listening is the only way they encountered the Scriptures because they could not read. Still today, in churches throughout the world, the Scriptures are read aloud for all to hear. Reading allows us to process at our own speed, which is good. But listening will often propel us through difficult sections.
2. Cover more ground.
Many Bible reading plans will assign three or four chapters a day for every day of the year. This discipline of daily reading is worth developing, but for some people, the daily grind is not the most fruitful way to approach the task at hand. For some of us (raises hand), reading large chunks of Scripture followed by a few days of little to no progress works better. I am the same way with writing. Five hundred words a day for one hundred days to create a fifty-thousand-word book is not my style. I prefer to have writing days where I put down five to ten thousand words in a single day. The momentum works for me.
I find some of the more difficult books to get through are some of the longer books. I find it is easier to use that momentum to read all of 1 and 2 Chronicles in a single day than to spend three weeks in those books. It is not that those books are not important, but there are a lot of names and repetition as these books record the history of the cycle of kings in a particular way. Move quickly through books you are having difficulty with so that you can savor other books later in the process, or give yourself a day off once in a while.
Furthermore, there is something about reading an entire book in one sitting that is helpful. We tend to segment the Bible into chunks, reading a chapter here or a few verses there. If you read or listen to an entire Gospel or one of the longer Epistles, you may begin to see that these books of the Bible are masterful works of literature.
3. Read out of order.
The Bible is a library ordered according to genre. It begins with narratives, moves to poetry and wisdom literature, then prophecies, followed by more narratives, and closes out with letters. Any one of these genres can be difficult to read all together. Moving from genre to genre makes the experience of reading the Bible more interesting, but it also allows you to make connections between books. The prophecies connect to the New Testament narratives. The poetry is written mainly by David and Solomon—two major characters in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. The letters of the New Testament refer back to the characters of the narratives. The Bible is an interconnected library. Reading out of order allows those connections to become more visible.
4. Write down your questions.
My favorite Bible is a journaling Bible with margins on every page where I can jot down thoughts or questions I have as I read. If you have set the goal of reading the Bible in a year, I am guessing you are interested in understanding the Bible better and gaining biblical fluency. Writing down your questions will allow you to return to them later, find the answers, and thereby gain fluency. Moreover, the process of writing things down aids our memories. If the goal behind the goal of reading the Bible in a year is increased biblical fluency, writing down questions will be helpful.
All in all, remember, if the goal is to read the Bible in a year, how one goes about reaching such a goal can have flexibility. Perfectly following whatever Bible reading plan you have chosen is not necessary for a successful journey in reading the Bible.
Download free Bible reading plans that you can adapt to your needs this year by clicking the button below.