I often read the Bible and pray the scriptures. Sometimes I even go down theological rabbit holes and spend an entire afternoon in different commentaries discovering what a certain passage means and how that certain passage fits into the historical-redemptive narrative of the Bible. When I write content for women’s retreats and conferences, it is always too much content. My husband is always reminding me, I can’t teach everything about a certain passage in a forty-five-minute session.
I love to soak deeply in the scriptures, but I have never read through the entire Bible in a year. I usually start out strong in the New Year, but by the time spring break rolls around—the book of Leviticus and the boils and sores—I get stuck somewhere in Leviticus. AND because I am human and easily hindered, I quit reading the Bible in its entirety and simply return to my old patterns of reading what I want to read and when I want to read it.
So—as I have toiled over planning out how I want to draw near to the Lord this year—I have decided to go with my own way of tackling the Bible in its entirety in a year. I am making up my own rules and my rules are basic, measurable, and achievable because I am a busy lady.
- I am committing month by month to read 3-5 chapters of scriptures a day.
- I am going to choose the order of how I want to read the Bible. (Maybe hitting Leviticus a little sooner than usual or later than usual—who knows—but certainly sandwiching Leviticus between two books of the Bible I am more familiar with.)
- I am giving myself the freedom to skip a day and the grace to catch up later. The goal is finishing even if it takes a little longer than 365 days and I want to be careful not to slide into legalistic or moralistic Bible reading. I want to have the attitude of grace and freedom as I approach this basic Bible reading plan.
- I am going to make simple observations and applications because I am reading large chunks of scripture.
- I am going to try to briefly write about my basic Bible reading as I go, here, on my blog. I need to stretch my writing muscles and this will be a good exercise for me. I may not write every day, I am going to give myself grace and freedom in that as well.
- I am starting today, January 3rd. It makes more sense to me to start on a Monday so I am giving myself the grace and freedom to start today, Monday, January 3rd.
- Because I tend to be an over-achiever, I am going to keep reminding myself of the word basic. Basic because the Word of God is rich all by itself. I will not get caught up in lengthy blog posts, fancy images, or go down major theological rabbit holes when I am reading through my basic Bible reading plan—I will save the deep dives for when I am writing content.
- I am going to write about my basic Bible reading here, but these entries are simply for me. I invite you to follow along if it encourages you to do so, but these entries are mainly for me. So no bells and no whistles. Simply basic entries so I can look back for myself.
- I am going to pray for the eyes of my heart to be enlightened and for the Spirit to change my heart as I read.
- I am only going to have ten rules and boundaries. (Ha!)
Day One: January 3, 2022
I want to start in John’s gospel.
It was one of the first books of the Bible I read through as a new believer and coming off of Christmas, I want to meditate on who Emmanuel, God with Us, is and what His ministry on earth was about.
Basic and simple—even though John the gospel of John is more abstract, as I prayed, the Lord led me to begin in John this week.
Who is Jesus? Jesus is the Word, all things were a made through Him, He is light, light shines in the darkness, He enlightens everyone, in Him glory is displayed, in Him, we received God’s unmerited grace upon grace, He is the Lamb of God, He knows all people, the world is saved through Him, He is living water, He heals, His authority comes from the Father and He does nothing apart from the Father.
What was His ministry on earth about? To display glory, to heal (the son of the official, the invalid), to perform miracles (water to wine), to teach others (Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman), to be zealous for the church (turning over tables), to bring those who believe from death to life, to overcome darkness.
What does this mean to me in the present day?
I am afraid of the dark. Even as an adult, having a light on at night gives me comfort and allows me to see my surroundings. Jesus is the light and darkness cannot overcome Him. When I remain in Him, darkness cannot overcome me. He is like that light I leave on above my kitchen sink. He illuminates the dark places. In Him, I can have the confidence to walk securely through difficult seasons. He enlightens me, He knows me through and through, He heals and restores me, in Him, I have already received God’s unmerited favor, grace upon grace, which is much more than I deserve. For Him to increase in my life, I need to walk in the light and decrease my own earthly desires, I must empty myself to be filled with Him.
And this is true for my household. I loved these reminders today from John 4, the Samaritan woman goes and tells others of all Jesus has done and the community believes. Then Jesus heals the official’s son. When the official believed, so did his household (4:53). This was a reminder that faith is not an individual event. Living faithfully in the light is a community project and God works through households and generations.
Prayer: Lord, you became flesh and dwelt among us so we could see glory. You are The Word, You are light, You are life, You are living water, You are the Lamb of God, You are a healer, You know every word before it is on my tongue, You came to save, not condemn and You are covenantal—Your promises are true to the generations including me and my household. Enlighten the eyes of my heart and transform me through the reading of your life-giving Word. Remind me that Your promises are true and You are faithful. Align my heart with Your will. Give me Your joy today and opportunities to serve You.