Well, here it is, I read it.
No, really, I just read the Bible. I start in January in the book of Genesis and I read through it each year.
Of course I know when people ask me about my Bible reading plan they want to know the specific plan I use. But I am serious when I say, “I read it.” Allow me to explain.
A few years ago I read where a pastor stated that he simply, “read as much of the Bible as he could until he finished it that year.” As a result, he usually finishes the entire Bible around April or May of each year. This approach got me thinking, I know I have often struggled with formal plans due to my hectic schedule, variance in motivation, and other factors. So I tried the “read as much as I can in one sitting” approach a few years ago and it has worked since.
My process began by committing myself to read at least one chapter each day. After all, one chapter a day is very attainable and usually I read much more. Sometimes I have read up to 20 chapters in one day. Plus, if I miss a day, one chapter does not put me that far behind. Therefore, I suggest to anyone the same approach. Read at least one chapter a day and then read as much as you can until you need to stop. Keep repeating this process and you will be amazed at how fast you read through the Bible.
Granted for some this approach may be intimidating. You may think, “Can I really read all the way through the Bible by April or May?” Who said it had to be by April or May? Maybe you will finish in July or October or even December. The point is not how fast you finish, but to be encouraged that you can read through the Bible each year. That you can read it faster than you think. Allow me to share another example.
In May of 2015 I had the chance to participate in a Bible reading marathon in Montgomery, Alabama. On Thursday morning around 9am a group of volunteers began publicly reading the Bible around the clock. Guess what? By 9am Sunday morning the entire Bible had been read out loud. ALL OF IT!!!! How cool is that?
Notice it only took 72 hours to read the entire Bible. Imagine if we committed to reading the whole Bible to ourselves for an hour a day it would only take about two and a half months. Or if we committed to only 30 minutes it would take around five months. Or if we only did 15 minutes a day it would be completely read in 10 whole months. Oh, and there’s one more encouragement too; Reading is always faster when we read to ourselves than out loud. So our personal devotional reading would probably go even faster than the Bible reading marathon. In other words, it is very possible for us to read the Bible in 10 months or less. Now that’s a goal that’s very attainable. So if it is 4 months or 10, even 12, we all can read the entire Bible each year.
Before we go it is fair I address some criticism people have given me with the “speed method.” Usually the concern centers around comprehension. This critique is fair because it is not enough to just read through the Bible, but people should be able to understand what they read. In response to this concern I believe that people do understand a lot of what they read, no matter how much time the spend reading each day. Also, the more one reads through the Bible the easier it is to comprehend. Repetition builds understanding so with a longterm commitment to reading the Bible each year I see no problem. Plus, when I finish reading the Bible each year I shift my remaining months to using my quiet time to go into more detail in specific areas of scripture.
For example, this year I am doing some historical background, language studies, and other inquiries into the book of Ephesians By doing this not only do I finish my scripture read through this year, but I will become very familiar with Ephesians, which will only help my read through next year. This is because often the study of one book in the Bible causes me to study other passages too. Though I will not remember every connection from this detailed level of study, I am sure to remember enough to better comprehend and retain what I read the next year. In other words, the “speed method” is the big picture approach, while the rest of the year is more detailed. Both of them build on another.
In closing, reading through the Bible is a real possibility, no matter the amount of time you choose. In fact, the basic commitment I’ve suggest is to simply read as much as you can each day, even if it is just one chapter. That said, this approach may not be for you. Perhaps you are the type of person who needs more structure or wants a more traditional reading plan. Those are great too. Either way, be encouraged that you can read through the Bible each year with 10 months or less.