This is the third year in a row that I’ve chosen to read through the Bible in one year, and it has been the greatest blessing of my 30’s! As I’ve thought about it, there are three specific ways that this practice has impacted my life. I’m sharing them with you today, not to applaud myself, but to hopefully encourage you to consider reading through the Bible in 2020.
It has given me a new level of understanding of the Bible
I received a very thorough Christian education from Kindergarten through college, where I took classes like Bible Doctrines and Old Testament Messages. I’ve spent my life in church, hearing from dedicated preachers who taught the Scripture. I spent the four summers during college at camp where I heard preaching at least once a day.
All of those things are valuable and gave me a solid foundation from which to understand the Bible, but none of them compare to the experience I’ve had as I’ve read through the Bible for myself. Walking with God’s people from creation to captivity in Egypt, to the glorious reign of King David & Solomon, back into captivity and in and out of rebellion toward God many, many times – those stories have deeply impacted my life.
I’ve seen some of my favorite Bible characters like Daniel and Esther in a new light as I understand the context in which their stories happen, and I’ve gained new appreciation for others like Jeremiah, Hezekiah, Ezekiel and King Jotham. These stories are not random tales of various people – they are all part of the Gospel story which points to Jesus. It’s incredible! The plan I read takes you through both the Old and New Testaments each day, and it’s amazing how often the two passages correlate, giving light and better understanding to both passages.
It has helped me with the words I say each day
The thing I’ve noticed this year is what the heroes of the Bible have to say when they’re given a chance to speak. Joseph, Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Paul and many more, including Jesus, begin speaking with something like, “This is what the sovereign Lord says…” Instead of responding with their own wisdom or complaining about the way they’ve been treated, they take the chance to point the audience to God and His Word.
I’ve made it my goal this year to communicate God’s Word instead of my opinion. I’ve not accomplished this perfectly, but I’ve had so many opportunities to share the truth I read just that morning with someone who needed encouragement or direction. It’s so much better than my opinion.
This doesn’t mean that I’m walking around like a self-righteous prophet, spouting off words of wisdom to everyone around me. I believe it has taken my usual bossy approach and softened it with kindness, empathy and love (again – still a work in progress!).
It has increased my love and appreciation for Christmas
The entire Old Testament is the story of God’s people as they wait for their Messiah. They think He’s going to be someone like Moses who will physically lead them out of captivity, or someone like King David who will restore their beloved homeland to a place of honor and beauty. Jesus came to bring another type of freedom and a different kind of homeland.
It brings tears to my eyes even now as I feel empathy for them, and as I realize how often I miss God’s greater plan for my life. It also brings so much joy as I understand Christmas on a whole new level. The words Rejoice! Emmanuel has come to thee, oh Israel make me want to jump up and down with joy!
The anticipation of Christmas has an even greater excitement as I both relate to their longing for the Messiah and also realize the longing in my own heart for His return!
I hope this causes you to consider reading through the Bible in 2020! Here are the things that have helped me accomplish this goal:
- Using the YouVersion Bible In a Year Plan
- Listening to each day’s reading when I’m getting ready in the morning – I retain it so much better this way!
- Reading in the ESV or NLT versions – I highly recommend the NLT especially for the Old Testament. It makes the stories come alive!
Here are two other options if reading the whole Bible seems overwhelming to you:
- Read one chapter of Proverbs each day, corresponding to the date (chapter 1 on January 1), for all 12 months of 2020.
- Use the F-260 plan, which is a two hundred and sixty day reading plan that highlights the foundational passages of Scripture. I did this plan in 2018 and really enjoyed it!
You can join me in reading through the Bible in 2020 on the Bible app here. I would love to know if you’re joining me in my challenge to read the Bible this year!