I posted on my FB page about how reading the Bible regularly has changed my life, and before I start another “Year in the Bible” plan I wanted to invite anyone else that’s interested to join me.
I didn’t think anyone would be interested. I’m not a pastor so it isn’t like I have any extra knowledge about the Bible. I haven’t even taken a religious class outside of a couple of Sunday School lessons and Priscilla Shirer Bible studies. And how, exactly, would people ‘join me’ in reading? And, again, why would invite people to join me on something I don’t know anything about?
But some of yall were interested in this idea! And you clicked the invite.
So now I’m fretting a bit because, crap. Yall clicked the invite and now there’s maybe some kind of expectation? But I’m doing this one step at a time, and I haven’t heard much else on what’s next so I’m just going to share a few thoughts I have on reading the Bible before we start…
Because we’re starting this on New Year’s it feels and looks and quacks like a New Year’s Resolution. “I’m going to read my Bible in a year!” you whisper confidently to the mirror. Great! If you respond well to New Year’s Resolutions then yes! It’s a New Year’s Resolution!
But if you’re even a little like me, and you go into something with big dreams and then reality creeps in and you miss a workout or you eat that
bag normal portion of potato chips and you’re like, “Forget it. This life isn’t for me” and you quit, can I beg you to not see this as a New Year’s Resolution? Approach this thing we’re doing with as much grace for yourself as your little brain and heart can muster.
You are going to ‘miss’ days.
You are going to not get all of the day’s reading done.
You are going to not feel like it.
The point of this isn’t to feel like you’ve added homework to your life. The point of this is to use the Word to get to know a God that desires a relationship with us. You’re going to hear a voice that wants you to feel shame for messing up or for not feeling like reading and that voice is NOT from the Holy Spirit. It’s a great time to get in the habit of telling that voice, “Not today, Satan.”
This past year I was able to read every day, but I wasn’t getting the entire day’s reading done, and the app will tell you how many days you’ve missed. And I ended up, like, 3 months behind and I’d kinda sit in this space of, “Ok, I’ll read 2 days worth today and I’ll be caught up.” But then it became this desire to ‘catch up’ and not a desire to know God. So the Holy Spirit reminded me what the point was and there was this little button on the app that lets you ‘catch up’ and basically resets the plan so that you don’t have any more ‘missed days.’ This was grace in action, and I loved it.
If you’re new to reading the Bible it’s going to be really easy to feel like it’s irrelevant to your life. How can reading about a miracle done in the middle east a billion years ago matter to me? What on earth am I supposed to do with a story about a guy who kills his brother? NONE OF THIS MATTERS!!!
I’m gonna say that whatever prompted you to join me wasn’t an accident. I believe with everything in me it’s the Holy Spirit moving and nudging you here. So, in the same way I suggest you say, “Not today, Satan” when you’re feeling crappy, I’m going to suggest you literally talk to the Holy Spirit as if He’s a person (because He is) and ask, “What are you trying to teach me, Holy Spirit? Please make me sensitive to what you’re showing me in the Word.” These questions to the Holy Spirit are commonly known as prayer. Simple, right?
I really believe that if you open your heart this way before you read the Word you’ll get a tingle to something. It might be one sentence or even one word. But something will jump out at you. Underline it. Highlight it. Text it to yourself.
Also, lots of things you’ll read will probably leave you with more questions than answers. Write those questions down! They are some of my best conversation starters with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make sense of it and then listen to where He guides you. Sometimes He just tells you and gives you clarity. Sometimes He tells you to talk to someone about it. Most of my google chats with Mark are me saying, “I just read this and that is not how I’ve understood it before…” and we end up having really fun conversations that give me new and deeper understandings about God.
I have never been too strict about when I read my Bible, but I have found that it being part of my routine has made me more consistent. When I was pregnant and waking up every night at 3 in the morning, that was when I’d do my readings. Then Wren was born and I was on maternity leave for a couple of months and I found that the early morning feeding was the best time to do it. Then I went back to work and found that during the 10am pumping session was the best time to do it. Today I usually get it done while I’m laying in bed and everyone is asleep, and I have an imaginary ‘rule’ that I can’t check anything else until I do my readings. Find a part of your day that happens pretty consistently and see if you can’t tag the Bible in there. The Bible app also has an audio thing so you could listen to the day’s reading on your drive to work, too!
I was in a Sunday School class last year and someone mocked the idea of reading the New Living Translation like it wasn’t real. This made my blood boil because that’s what I read! It’s an easy to read translation that doesn’t get me stuck feeling like I’m reading Shakespeare. I am gonna suggest finding a translation that you enjoy reading, and not get too caught up in it being the most scholarly translation. My two cents: You can quickly and easily change the translation you’re using in the Bible app so feel free to find a version that makes it as easy as possible to digest the Word.
Ok, I think that’s all I’ve got. I’m so excited to see what God does here!