Last year, I set myself a challenge. I wanted to read the bible. The whole bible, from start to finish to make sure I didn’t miss anything. After years of being a Christian, attending Sunday school, attending church, going to a Christian high school, I’m pretty familiar with bits the bible. But I haven’t read it all.
As a person who believes in God and Jesus, and ascribes to the Christian faith, I figured I should know all about it that I can. And where better to start than the bible?
Why read it in order?
Genesis isn’t exactly the book most recommend to start with. But I intend to read from page 1 all the way to the end of Revelations. Why? The bible is one book. Made up of many books, yes, but they all interrelate to tell part of a larger story. And like any good story, if you start in the middle or jump around a bit, you risk missing out on context and references.
Prophets often refer to past prophets; Jesus quotes scripture several times and makes reference to past events. I want to know, like His first audience did, the history behind the words.
The books in the bible aren’t entirely chronological, and I may reach a point where I’ll read more in chronological order rather than they way books are ordered in the bible. I haven’t decided yet which way I’ll go.
The Old Testament
I’ve heard many call the Old Testament boring, or even irrelevant. I tend to disagree. Of course, when I started I didn’t know whether I would find it interesting or not (at the time of writing this, I’ve almost finished Leviticus). But I wasn’t reading it to be entertained, I was reading it to learn.
And irrelevant? Our God is a constant. Yesterday, today and forever. He exists and works in the Old Testament. The same God who exists and works in the New Testament. And I want to know more about that God. I already knew from what I’d been taught (mainly from the New Testament) that He is amazing, merciful, patient, abounding in kindness and powerful. And I wanted to know more about this God. I wanted to know more sides of Him.
The Old Testament shows God over the generations, over several situations. And I’m excited to learn more about Him. Thus the title of the challenge, “The God of”. The main purpose of my task is to discover more and more facets of God.
My aim is to read a chapter (or half a chapter, if it’s a long one) every day. So far, I haven’t quite managed it. I’m sure we all have days we slip and forget, particularly around study due dates. But I’ve read a chapter more days than not.
To me, reading the whole bible isn’t the goal, just the method to reach my goal. So I don’t ready chapter 1 the first day, then chapter 2 the second day. I want to really understand and find revelation in what I read. So I will read one chapter at least twice, over two days, and up to a seven. I read for however long I feel I need to take to appreciate that chapter, without going into serious research or theological delving.
This is an exciting journey I’m be embarking on, and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you. As I’m re-reading some chapters more than others, and some books are longer than others, I don’t know how regular these posts will be. But I’ll be categorising them all as “The God of Challenge” to make it easier to keep track of.
Have any of you taken up a bible reading challenge recently, or in the past? What sort of structure did you follow? And are there any structures you’d like to try out in the future?