Cornerstone

“Many of the connecting threads that run throughout Scripture are easier to see when we take larger bites each day.”

In the previous post, I offered the not-so-revolutionary suggestion that you read through your Bible chronologically. In this post, I’d like to make a suggestion that will probably be met with some raised eyebrows (it certainly has in the past), but allow me to explain.

Suggestion #2: Read Faster

Almost every reading plan that takes you through the whole Bible is set up to take one year. The reason for this setup is noble enough. The Bible is a big book, and Bible-in-a-year plans are designed to break it down into very manageable daily portions so that readers don’t become overwhelmed. But I’d like to suggest that these plans offer as much hinderance to reading through the Bible as they do help. 

The first hinderance that yearlong plans create is the mental association of how long it takes to read through the Bible. The prevalence of Bible-in-a-year plans has convinced us that it takes a really long time to read through the Bible. If there’s a plan for taking a whole year to read it, then it really must take a whole year to read it!

Except, it doesn’t. The Bible isn’t any longer than the entire Harry Potter series, and I know people who have read all seven of those books in a matter of weeks. Granted, Harry Potter is much easier to read than Ezekiel! My point is that the Bible isn’t nearly as long as we think it is. But it feels like it is really long when you stretch it out over an entire year.

The problem is portion size. It only takes 5-10 minutes to read the daily selection of Scripture in a yearlong reading plan (I timed myself at 4 minutes, 34 seconds). It wouldn’t be too difficult to double or triple the amount of time you spend reading your Bible each day to 15-30 minutes, and at the expense of only one episode of your current binge-worthy show, you would read through the Bible in 4-6 months, instead of a whole year.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you consider reading your Bible at a faster pace just so you can get through it sooner. I’m suggesting a faster pace because I believe it will help you to grasp the story. Another hinderance of yearlong plans is that it becomes too easy to lose the plot. Can you remember anything that you read from one year ago? Since the Bible is a story, it contains a myriad of characters, settings, themes, subplots, and more. It is really hard to maintain a grasp on these things when we take so long to read through the whole story. 

Reading at a faster pace compresses the elements of the story so that they are easier to see. You still remember the specific blessings and curses that God gave through Moses on the edge of the Promise Land as the nation of Israel’s history unfolds. The detailed predictions of the Messiah are fresh in your mind as Jesus fulfills them one by one. And have you ever noticed how much of Jesus’ teaching sounds like what Moses taught in Deuteronomy? Many of the connecting threads that run throughout Scripture are easier to see when we take larger bites each day. 

Admittedly, there are some tradeoffs here. Reading at a faster pace may increase quantity at the expense of quality. You can’t dive deep with ten chapters a day like you can with a single passage. But my suggestions in this article are for your Bible reading, not your Bible study. I trust that one won’t take place at the expense of another, and I’m convinced that there is value in helping to expose you to the entirety of Scripture so that you can grasp the totality of its story. As an aid, we've developed a chronological reading plan that will take you through the Bible in 90 days, which can be found here.*

We hope that you have found this series of articles helpful, encouraging, inspiring, and challenging. Whether you adopt all or none of the suggestions provided, we pray that you will be fueled to deepening your understanding and grasp of the Bible in 2019 and sustained by these words of eternal life!

 

Originally published January 2019

*Note: The attached plan is a condensed version of the plan found in the One Year Chronological Bible from Tyndale.

Zach Nix

Zach is a member of Cornerstone and serves as a teacher and non-vocational elder.

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