Reading the Bible this Year

BibleHow many times have you started to read the Bible and only made it through a few chapters of Genesis? Years ago that was my situation. I had started any number of times, but the task seemed daunting. Reading 1000-1200 pages of fine printed material seemed to be an impossibility given the rush of my life. I wanted to read it. I knew it would do me good. Yet I just couldn’t get into the habit.

What I learned was there was help. First, I learned about Bible reading plans. There are a number of plans available, but I finally settled on one that allowed me to read selections from four parts of the Bible each day. That helped me get past some of the drier Old Testament material such as mildew laws, the long genealogies, and the like. It also allowed me to be reading the Gospel each day. The particular plan I chose only had readings for 25 days each month. That allowed me to miss a day occasionally without feeling like I was falling hopelessly behind.

Second, I learned there were many Bible translations available to me. I sought out a translation with a voice that fit my own. That way, the Bible did not seem so foreign to me. I have at least 15 translations in my own collection of the Bible and I have read most of them at least once. But I do have favorites for reading and other favorites for teaching, and other favorites for study. The point is, it is easier to read a Bible translation that works for you.

Third, I learned that some Bibles were just easier for me to use. I liked annotations and study aids that helped to answer many of my questions and give me historical and geographical context. I like a layout that had pictures, charts and maps. I liked a particular edition that was printed on glossy magazine paper. It suited my taste better than fine print on onion skin paper. Same words, but easier for me to pick up and read.

Fourth, it helped to know that others were reading as I was. That way, I had the comfort of knowing I had someone to talk to if I wanted. It also motivated me to keep reading because others were expecting me to. I want you to know that I plan to read the Bible through from cover to cover again this year. If you would like to join me in this commitment, please let me know. I will be available to help in any way I can.

So, I want you to know that it is possible. I have read the Bible 20+ times. (I’ve lost count.) Each time is an adventure with God filled with riches and blessings. I know it is a big project, but it is much like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. I promise that it will be more nourishing.

Fr. Clif