In a land where there’s free access to the word of God, it’s easy to take it for granted. Yet Job said, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). What a thought!
Our pastor challenged us in June to read the Bible in six months; I accepted, and can’t imagine not having had this enriching experience. Normally, I’ll go through one book of the Bible slowly and carefully, reading only a passage at a time and really meditating on a verse and its cross-references, perhaps giving it 15-20 minutes. But to get through the Bible in six months required spending anywhere from 45-60 minutes daily in scripture, and in essence taking a ride through the Bible at roller coaster speed.
While it was a challenge to get up an hour earlier in order to have that quiet time, and while the temptation to fall into other tasks was often present, now that I’ve completed the goal, I find myself missing that intense saturation in God’s word. Here are some plans that I found very helpful from Delmar Full gospel Church in New York; what I like about their reading plans is that they incorporate five extra days each month in case you fall behind or miss a day – kind of like scriptural “snow days.”
I read both the Old Testament and New Testament at the same time, in chronological order, and I felt that God connected dots in ways I’d never noticed before. One thing that also stood out was how merciful, compassionate, and patient God’s character truly is revealed to be in the Old Testament – not the vengeful God of wrath we might imagine if we only dabble in the law and the prophets.
The Levitical sacrifices and the function of the priests gave new meaning both to Christ’s sacrifice and role as High Priest, but also to our designation as priests and kings under the New Covenant (see 1 Peter 2:9, Rev. 1:6, Rev. 5:10).
Reading the Bible in depth is like pulling the ribbon off of the most enormously wondrous gift mankind could ever conceive! I encourage you to take the six-month or one-year challenge if you haven’t done so, and promise you’ll never be disappointed or regretful about any time you invested in His word.