Welcome back! Gretchen has returned, as promised, to share some of her tips in getting through your Bible cover to cover without giving up.
Yesterday, I gave you a little background on how I got started reading my Bible cover-to-cover. Today, I promised to share some tips that helped me along the way.
- I say a quick prayer right before I begin reading. It goes something like, “God, speak to me through your word today. Help me glorify you, even if I don’t understand everything you say. Thank you for your incredible word.”
- I use the New Living Translation Study Bible. It’s a big ol’ brick, but I love it. Actually, I picked it out and my husband gave it to me for Christmas before I started my read-through. I recommend this translation because of its readability. The NIV is also a great translation, in my humble opinion. Find one which suits you, and which you will read.
- I told myself that I was reading to glean … not for any quiz or even for any sizable bit of comprehension.
- Even reading to simply immerse myself in the word was so much richer an experience with the study notes in my Bible. I highly recommend a Bible with study notes. If you don’t have one, perhaps a Bible dictionary, concordance, or other study helps would be a smart purchase. I didn’t want to read through with huge, burning questions left unanswered. Ninety percent of my questions were answered in the study notes. Five percent I asked my pastor (who was always so generous in helping me), and the remaining five percent were left to “his ways are not my ways…I don’t have to understand all of it to believe or obey”.
- I used Piper’s Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan for my first 2 read-throughs (as Tanya advised), because I love its structure and built-in grace days. I also love the fact that this program gives you two Old Testament readings and two New Testament readings each day. Not only is the variety nice if you’re not in your favorite chapter here or there, but it highlights that the OT and NT are truly ONE story. This year, simply to change it up for myself, I’m doing a chronological read-through, available on the YouVersion Bible app. I do the checklist on my phone, and can even read the bible that way, but I prefer using my paper version to be able to underline/take notes on passages, as I feel so inclined. I also date each passage, so I can see in years to come when I’ve read it. I will say, I’m itching to get to the NT, but having fun this way, too. 😉
- I forgave myself when I messed up, and read ahead when I could. Life happens.
- When I lacked motivation, I spurred myself on by the questions my pastor had asked all those years ago: If I’m a Christian, why don’t I read my Bible? Why do I believe what I believe? If someone asked me what it meant to be a follower of Jesus, what would I tell them?
Praise God that you might even be thinking of completing this challenge! BTW, if you start with Piper’s, and many others, you DON’T HAVE TO START IN JANUARY. Ahem. 😉 I would love to hear from you if you have any questions or suggestions in helping others be obedient in knowing what our Father wants us to know and growing in His abundant grace.