For the last several years I have really wanted to read the entire Bible. I was just never disciplined enough to actually do it. I had super great intentions in January of every year but come March I just lost interest.
I think my wanting to read the Bible can be equated to the same way the majority of the population makes New Years resolutions to go to the gym and eat healthier. We start out strong but without a realistic plan and a strong why behind the motive even our best intentions will fall short of our goal.
My reason for wanting to read the Bible before was simply to be able to say I had read the Bible. When I began to really want to know God more and his character my why changed.
This year when I started reading the Bible in January I didn’t follow any plan. I decided I would start in the New Testament before I even attempted the Old Testament. And it totally worked! The New Testament was familiar and full of rich lessons and teachings. When I made my way to Genesis I had already been reading my Bible consistently for several months and was really enjoying my daily time in the Word.
Below are just a few of the things I learned while reading the entire Bible.
Pain is often compared to childbirth. I can’t tell you how many times this is mentioned in the Bible but it is quite a few. It could also be that because I am pregnant with our third baby this comparison jumped out at me more.
The Old Testament doesn’t intimidate me anymore. When it came to reading the Old Testament I felt very overwhelmed. Which is probably one of the reasons I never made it past March in the previous Bible reading plans I started. Once I got into Leviticus and Numbers my eyes would start to gloss over and I had a very hard time concentrating. I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Please someone tell me I am not alone.
I will be honest and say that Leviticus and Numbers were still hard for me to read but I pressed on and when I did I discovered that I really enjoyed the Old Testament. Like, I am sorta geeked out on it. I love the prophets and story of Samuel, Saul, and David is seriously a page turner!
Christ’s family tree has some really messed up people in it. Just look at Matthew 1:1-6. Obviously these names won’t mean anything if you don’t know the back story but I promise you these people are worth reading about! Just to pique your interest…
Jacob – He stole his brother Esau’s birthright and blessing and flees his home because he is afraid his brother will kill him. Even after this God promises to bless him (Genesis 28:10-15). He then goes to work for his Uncle under the condition that he will be able to marry his younger cousin Rachel. The morning after the wedding he wakes up to find out that he has married the wrong sister! So he works even longer for his Uncle so he can marry Rachel. The twists in this story are epic. One of Jacob’s son, Judah, would eventually become the father of many generations of great men including the greatest man of all, Jesus!
Tamar – Jacob’s son Judah is Tamar’s father-in-law. She was married to one of his sons who was killed. In that time it was customary for another family member to marry the widow to continue the bloodline. In this case no one wanted to marry Tamar or the next in line was not yet old enough. Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute and covers her face with a veil and waits for Judah on the side of the road. Not knowing who she is Judah hires her and in lieu of payment she asks for a goat with a security deposit of his staff, seal, and cord. When Judah returns with the goat he cannot find the woman. When Tamar winds up pregnant and Judah learns that she has been accused of prostitution he orders her to be put to death. Tamar then proceeds to send the staff, seal, and cord to Judah with a message declaring that the owner of these items was the man who had made her pregnant. When he recognizes the items are his he realizes what has happened. Tamara gives birth to twins, Perez and Zerah. Perez is later identified in the Book of Ruth as the ancestor of King David.
Rahab – Joshua has taken over for Moses and is preparing to lead the Israelites into the promised land. He sends spies into the land and they come to the home of a prostitute named Rahab. She agrees to hide the spies on the roof of her house and lies for them because she knows that God has sent them. The spies promise that when they return to take the land they will let her and her family live. Rahab goes on to become the mother to Boaz who you meet in the book of Ruth. It is pretty amazing that Jesus came to this world to save us and was born into a family that had quite the past!
These names now have meaning to me.
Before I would skip over these sections because I didn’t grasp the full story these names were telling.
God can use messed up people. Which means that God can use me. I am such a mess and it is reassuring to know that I don’t have to have everything together in order for God to still use me for His purpose.
The significance of the veil being torn in the temple upon Christ’s death on the cross now brings me to tears. In the Old Testament and up until Christ death you read about the temple and how this huge veil was hung in order to divide God from the outside world. Very few people had access to God in the temple. When Christ died the need for the curtain was no longer necessary because Christ himself was the ultimate sacrifice. Sin offerings were no longer needed because Christ covered us with his blood.
In the last 9 months I have read the Bible cover to cover and I can’t get enough. I now have even more questions than I did before I started reading and crave to know more. I have started back in Genesis again and look forward to continuing reading my bible and knowing God more.
Discipline takes effort. It isn’t something we are born with, it is something that we must work at. If we don’t read our Bible it is because we don’t want to read our Bible. It is that simple.
When we read the Bible honestly and are engaged in God’s Word it can destroy our pride and leave us feeling uncomfortable. God wants to be our Savior and for us to stop believing the lie that by living under the idol of control we can happy and prosperous. Friends, take it from someone who knows, when you have a control idol the only thing it will leave you with is either anger or anxiety.
Reading the Bible requires discipline, it teaches us truth, reproves us, corrects us, and trains us. The Bible is life-giving and shows over and over that God is truly good and we are not. The gospel message is powerful.
If you are wanting to start reading the bible but aren’t sure where to start check out The Bible Project. My husband recently discovered this website and app. Each day you read several chapters and a Psalm. There are also corresponding videos on certain days that introduce the book you are reading or a topic. I am really enjoying this reading plan and think you will too!