In the last few blog posts I shared the reasons why I want to read the entire Bible this year and another article that revealed how doable it is. I'm just about 50% through the entire book and I have been picking up on a few tips that I think may help anyone else who has the goal.
Here are 5 quick tips:
1. You have to Make Time.
As with most things, you cannot wait for the opportune time or conditions to be perfect. If you are to see anything through, you have to be intentional about how and where you spend your time. If your have made the commitment to reading through the entire Bible, then you have to set the time in your schedule for when and where you're going to do it. Otherwise, it just sounds nice and the Christian thing to do, but you also gotta be about it!
No more are we allowed to be passive about what we believe and why. No longer can we live off of regurgitated information about what God is like and what He is for, and not know His Word. I'm sorry to say, but a time is coming, and is technically already here, that is going to separate those who say they believe and those who do. This requires carved out spots in your schedule.
For me, I actually write into my planner, "Read the Bible" and stick to the time I allot to it.
I wish I was the person who woke up and did it in the morning, but I'm not consistently a morning person... yet. Lol! Trying to wake up at 5:30am every morning to read is not realistic for me. I barely have one eye open and do not even ask me to comprehend something before coffee. So, I like to read in the afternoon, when I'm fully present and caffeinated. That's what works best for me. That's what I schedule in and what I know I can stick to.
Do what works for you!
God is rejoicing that you're desiring to draw near to Him through His word and He is not upset if you don't do it at the crack of dawn. The main thing is that you do it!
OT vs. NT
2. Weed out Distractions.
I made a commitment to pull off of social media until I finish. That may be a bit extreme for some, but it is a huge time zapper and distractor for me. If I don't put that boundary in place, I easily drift away from whatever I'm reading and instead play the slot machine of refreshing my Instagram feed.
For you, weeding out distractions may be setting a limit to how long you watch Netflix. It may be deciding to wake up earlier in the morning before everyone else in your household. It could be finding a quite place on your lunch to read for 15 minutes, instead of chatting with your coworkers. Whatever it is, if you want to know more of what the Word of God says, you need to make an effort to know a less of what's happening in the trivial things around you.
3. Don't Try to Multitask
One of the best advice given to me before I started to read the Bible was from my friend who encouraged me not to pick up another book until I was finished.
Oh! It's sooooo tempting to want to order more books. There is an endless list of books that I want to read this year and my amazon list is pining with purchases! However, I know that is solid advice and a good piece of wisdom because if I start another, before I know it, I will have drifted away from the main book I've committed too.
One book + Singular Focus = Reading Plan Completed!
4. Take short breaks, but not for too long.
I will be honest, I was not expecting the Old Testament to be this intense. I recognize that I have had a very one-sided view of God and a limited understanding as to the bigger picture of why Jesus came to die for our sins. If you read the OT, you will quickly see why we needed Jesus to atone for our sins!
By reading the whole Bible, it has revealed God's character and that purpose in greater depth. In all honesty, some of the details in the old testament events are hard to swallow. Not in that they are hard to comprehend, but that they exposed the deepest parts of our human depravity and rebellion away from God's original purpose and desires. Historical events written about with such emotion from those who lived it, and from those who He gave prophetic revelation before they happened are raw!
Imagine for years someone warning people that what their doing is going to bring about famine and oppression. Imagine this person crying out for people to repent and turn back to God, and that if they do, His mercy and compassion will meet them. BUT, imagine people being so stubborn, prideful, complicit and hard hearted that they don't even care... until the destruction happens.
After reading the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel), I had to take a 3 day break from reading. There was so much to digest and while I was reading them, the content took me on quite an emotional rollercoaster. That was because as you read, you understand God's heart for people to turn to Him, but instead they decide to worship idols and treat Him with contempt.
So, with that said, make a decision to pace yourself as your reading, and maybe set a limit on how long you'll take a quick breather before getting back to your commitment to moving forward. I will also say that in every book, God's mercy and promise to restore is threaded throughout, and that balances out the intensity.
5. Sticky Notes and Book Summaries
One of the temptations I have right now is to do full studies on what I'm reading. There are some books that I am itching to get back to and marinate in for a little longer (I loved Amos, Daniel and Haggai). They are so packed with wisdom and tips for our lives that I cannot wait to sit with God and get deeper understanding on them. However, if I try to do that right now, I will slow up and risk potentially not finishing. My goal is to get the full picture of what the Bible is comprised of and then to go back and to study.
Sticky notes and writing summaries at the end of each book is a wonderful tool for capturing those ah-ha moments that you want to circle back to. I write summaries at the end of each book because, although the task to read the entire Bible is awesome and I love a good challenge, it is in vain if I reach the end and find myself with very little comprehension. Therefore, like we used to do in school, having to write book summaries and reports are helping me to remember what I've read, to make quick notes of the takeaways, and nuggets to look back at when I circle back for deeper study.
Those are my 5 tips thus far! My goal is to finish by April 30th, so you can hold me accountable over on IG (@theinspiredinfluencer). Let me know if you're reading through the entire Bible in 2021 in the comments!
What are some of the tips and tools you've used that are helpful?
Until next time,