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I am personally inviting you to join me in reading through the entire Bible in 2023! This will be my sixth trip through the Bible and I’m more excited than ever to begin the journey. At the end of this post I have all the details for how you can join me and my Mom as we read the Bible together in 2023.
2022 has been an amazing year for me as I’ve traveled through the Bible. Here are the main three things I learned as I read.
I learned a new way to approach Bible reading
This year (2022) I set out with a new approach to my daily Bible reading. As I listened the the passages each day, I asked questions like these:
- Where do I see God’s character in this chapter?
- What is God doing here?
- How does this passage point to Jesus?
I created a list on my phone and wrote my answer (my “God shot”) each day. I didn’t answer all three questions each day. Sometimes I found the answer to one or two of those questions. By the end of 2022, I will have a list of over 365 things I know to be true about God. Here’s a peek at my “God shot” list.
At first, I struggled with this practice. I found a list of names & attributes of God that I printed and referenced as I was listening to the Bible reading each morning. It wasn’t long before the Holy Spirit began to point those things out to me as I read, and I found that I didn’t need to reference the cheat sheet. God wants to be known.
Happy is the one whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them. He remains faithful forever, executing justice for the exploited and giving food to the hungry. The Lord frees prisoners. -Psalm 146:5-7
God isn’t after little robots who mechanically perform his bidding. He wants our hearts. He desires a love relationship with us. I love what The Bible Recap says about Joel 2:13: “We don’t know what God will do, but we know who he is!”
In a constantly changing and uncertain world filled with heartache and disappointment, we can rest in the knowledge of God’s character.
I learned that God has not changed.
All my life I’ve said things like, “I’m so glad I didn’t live in Old Testament times. They had it rough back then!” In my mind, those poor children of Israel didn’t get to know the loving and forgiving Jesus that came in the New Testament. They had to suffer under the hardship of God’s law (the 10 commandments and the book of Leviticus) and didn’t experience any grace that we have now.
Boy was I wrong. This year I’ve seen how overwhelmingly kind, merciful, and forgiving God is – not just in the New Testament, but from eternity past. God doesn’t change. He has always been the same. I learned that he gave the law, not to burden the Israelites, but to help them live in the special structure he set up for Israel and to show us our need for a Savior (Romans 7).
Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster. -Joel 2:13
He gave them his presence. He never left them. He sent prophet after prophet to warn them, to offer redemption, and to preach repentance to outsiders. God consistently welcomed those from other nations into his family. The only time he ever changed his mind or “relented” was to be more merciful. I love that Old Testament God so much! He’s the God I know today!
Hundreds of years passed between the time that Abraham followed God and went to an unknown land until the Israelites were settled in the land God promised to Abraham. Lots of hard things happened in between, but God was always at work revealing his love, mercy, goodness and power.
The Lord had his heart set on you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors, he brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. -Deuteronomy 7:7-8
I’m so thankful that God wants to work in my heart every day, revealing those same things to me, even on the days when nothing in my physical world changes. If you’re stuck or searching for direction in your life, get into God’s Word every day. You’ll find something even greater – the peace of God that passes understanding.
Because he has his heart set on me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name. -Psalm 91:14
I learned to love books of the Bible I thought weren’t “good ones”
This happens every year. I grit my teeth as we approach a book of the Bible that I think isn’t as “good” as some of the others. Reading the Bible in chronological order, understanding the context, knowing how the characters fit together and looking for God has radically changed that for me.
This year I dreaded Leviticus 15. It’s about all the things that come out of men and women’s bodies and how those things are considered unclean in the law. I have a weak stomach and this chapter always grossed me out.
Would you believe that this year I cried as I read Leviticus 15? I realized that while the blood of the people made them unclean, the blood of the sacrifice (in Leviticus 16) makes them clean.
Yet the Lord was pleased to crush him severely. When you make him a guilt offering, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and by his hand, the Lord’s pleasure will be accomplished. After his anguish, he will see light and be satisfied. By his knowledge, my righteous servant will justify many, and he will carry their iniquities. Therefore I will give him the many as a portion, and he will receive the mighty as spoil, because he willingly submitted to death, and was counted among the rebels; yet he bore the sin of many and interceded for the rebels. -Isaiah 53:10-12.
I was born a sinner, with uncleanness in my blood (my nature). But Jesus’ blood – the final sacrificial Lamb – makes me clean! As the hymn says, “His blood can make the foulest clean – His blood avails for me!”
Hosea is the other book that I was dreading but instead fell in love with this year. You can read my highlights from that book in the end of this post from July.
Want to join me in reading the Bible in 2023?
In 2023 I will be following The Bible Recap plan. This is a truly chronological plan, so we’ll read straight through the Old Testament from Creation to the years of silence, pick up in the Gospels and move through to Revelation.
My mom and I would love for you to read along with us in 2023! We read this plan together in 2022 and are excited to do The Bible Recap with you. We’ll be sharing things throughout the year on our platforms (blogs, social media, and mom’s Refresh Her podcast) as we read from Genesis to Revelation.
—> Click here to join our group in the Bible app. This is how you’ll know what to read each day. There’s no interaction in this group or things you have to do – but I’ve found that it’s good to have the accountability of being in a group as I read.
With the Bible app, I like to listen to the Scriptures being read audibly. You can also just read it through the app or use the daily guide as a reference for following along in your Bible. I personally prefer to read using either the ESV or CSB versions.
There are a few resources that I will be using to aid my understanding as I read:
- The Bible Recap podcast: a 7(ish) minute podcast that gives the context, historical background, and other details to help you understand what you read. This has been such a blessing to me this year – many times bringing me to tears by the end of the episode.
- The Bible Recap book: This is a condensed version of the podcast, with a 2-page spread for each day’s reading. It’s nice to have for reference or if you’re not a fan of podcasts. I like to transcribe my “God shots” from the note on my phone to the corresponding page of this book.
- The Bible Project YouTube videos: These are super helpful to watch before beginning a new book of the Bible. They kind of give the who, what, when and where for each book. I don’t agree with every aspect of their theology (particularly in reference to the end times), so keep that in mind as you listen.
Please don’t let this list overwhelm you! I’ve read the Bible in a year several times without any of these tools and was deeply enriched and helped. You’re not going to understand it all, but that is okay.
Who’s in? Leave a comment and let me know and then click here to join our group in the Bible app. Email me if you have a specific question about the Bible reading plan and I’ll do my best to help you.
I’m praying that at the end of 2023 we’ll all be able to gratefully say to God: “I had heard reports about you, but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5)