When’s the last time you read through the entire Bible?
This is how I feel when people ask me that question, even though I’m an avid-Bible reader:
It’s okay if your answer is “Never” or “A looooong time ago.” And for those of you answering, “I’ve already read through it twice this year!” I’m super impressed. Teach me your ways. 😉
There are all sorts of plans out there. There’s the “Read the Bible in a Year” plan and the “Read the Bible in Three Years” plan and the “If you read one chapter a day then you will read through the entire Bible in ten years” plan…
But what I want to know is…
Why is it so hard?
We’re bookworms. Booklovers. Book writers. We smell books and pet them and take photos of them. And yet we often need to have a reading checklist for the one book that can most change our life.
I know the Bible is different. It’s nonfiction. It’s super dense. And sometimes those “daily Bible reading lists” can take the joy out of reading, BUT…they also work for a lot of us. I’ve used them before and they help me know what to read (which is often my greatest hurdle when I sit down with God.)
But I also think that we’ve become a bit New-Testament-Dependent. Not only is the Old Testament sorely neglected (and frequently made fun of “I mean, who even reads Numbers…?”) but the majority of people I talk to aren’t even sure the Old Testament is important to read anymore. I mean, it’s not applicable because it’s old history…right?
That’s a blog post for a different day.
My Bible-Reading Story
Quick backstory: I was born to Christian parents, raised in a Christian home, my dad became a pastor, I became serious for the Lord at a Bible Camp, and then I attended a Christian university (followed by a Bible school) AND THROUGH ALL OF THAT I’D NEVER READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE BIBLE. At least, not that I’d kept track of.
My Bible was worn and cracked with scribbles so thick you could barely read the verses (mainly in the New Testament, mind you.) I’d made a Bible cover out of duct tape and I looked like a legit Believer. And I was. I legit loved Jesus, but it was a weak love.
One day when at college I got interviewed by the L. A. Times (I know that sounds really cool but, even now, I can’t remember why. LOL) And the interviewer came and took photos of me. Then she saw my worn duct-tape Bible on the bleachers and snapped some photos of that. As she was leaving, she turned and said, “I bet you’ve read through that thing a hundred times.”
I looked at my Bible and desperately wanted to let her walk away thinking she was right. But…”Actually…I haven’t even read through it once.” It killed me to admit that to her, but it felt too wrong to keep my mouth shut and let her think I was some super-godly Bible reader. She didn’t say anything after that. I was mortified. Humiliated. Ashamed that I hadn’t even given God the time to read His entire book.
That same year, my favorite professor commented that — in a survey he passed around one year — less than 20% of his graduating students had read through the entire Bible. This was a Christian University, mind you. And even then…graduates (graduates!) hadn’t read through it even once.
And I was well on my way to adding to that mortifying statistic.
So that day I hiked up my nickers and determined to be more diligent. I read. And I read. And I read.
It wasn’t easy. More often than not, I didn’t even want to read, but I did it anyway. Every day (mostly.) And–after three years–I not only completed my first full pass through the Bible, but I had grown to enjoy it more than before. To crave it, even.
And I haven’t stopped reading since then.
But it took me 23 years of my life to finally do it. How long did it (or will it) take you?
Some Interesting Facts
Raise your hand (or comment with an emoji) if you think you could read the entire Harry Potter Series in one year. Okay, how about in six months? What about one month? Some of you might even read through the series a couple times each year. (I’m guilty of that.) Well guess what I just learned the other day?
The Harry Potter series is almost 300,000 words longer than the entire Bible. (Tweet this.)
In fact, if you skipped the first and last book of the series, and just read the middle five books, even those are longer than the Bible.
Why can I read Harry Potter every year, but not the Bible? Why could I read the Harry Potter series in one focused week but can’t finish the Bible in a year?
Did you know that the average person reads about 250-300 words per minute? With the Bible being about 800,000 words, that means you could read the Bible in about 54 hours. (Tweet this.) Cut that into one hour a day and BOOM, you’ve read through it in less than two months. Two months!
Reading through the entire Bible is the equivalent of reading roughly 8 YA books. (Think Hunger Games — that was 99,000 words.) EIGHT. BOOKS.
Bible audiobooks are roughly 70 hours long. One hour a day and you’re done in just over two months.
You can bet your bookmarks that these statistics were very convicting when I found them.
All of these questions and thoughts and convictions built up in my mind until I finally let them all out on a blog post. I read the Bible every day, but I desire to read it more. Because this is the only book that will show you something new every time you read it.
This is the only book that breathes.
This is the only book written FOR YOU.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…” Luke 10:27
Doesn’t loving God mean seeking Him? Knowing Him? And doesn’t that come through reading the book that He wrote for us? I don’t know about you, but I’m going to determine to read through the Bible–the whole Bible–with as much focus and persistence as I read through my fiction books. And hopefully, someday soon, that means more than just once a year.
After all, this is truly the book that matters most.
What about you? Does any of this resonate?
What gets in the way of your Bible reading?