I did not read the Bible through in 2013

Bible reading fail.

Ugh.  I am just going to confess it.  Every single year of my life that I don’t get it read all the way through feels like a big, fat failure to me.   And I feel embarrassed and guilt-ridden.

I mean – you can read the Bible through start to finish in like 70 hours and 40 minutes at “pulpit rate” if you’re reading aloud.  So that’s like, what?  12 minutes a day.  Or about 5 pages a day just going at whatever the heck rate you want, depending on your version and print size.  But I somehow managed to not get it done.

I know where I was.  I spent an inordinate amount of time in Isaiah.  But not even the whole Book of Isaiah.  I zoned in on chapters 40-55 and may or may not have read them about 40 times over the course of the year.  I really felt like the Lord gave that to me for 2013.  That was needful.  That, I do not regret.  However, I STILL meant to read all of the rest of it.  Didn’t you, too?

But thank God from whom all blessings flow!

I just feel like He let me off the rigorous Bible-reading hook I had myself on yesterday when two different Tweet-ers posted these things:

james ryle tweet

I clicked on this link immediately and remembered that James Ryle  had shared a similar sentiment some time ago and I had actually loved it so much I wrote about it at this very blog {here}!  Good grief, it’s a good thing I write this stuff or I’d forget some may good things.

Among other wonderful things, James Ryle wrote,

“I want to talk today about how to get the most out of your Bible reading. And the simplest and most direct way to put it is to invite you into your Bible as though you are taking a slow walk in a beautiful park — one filled with God’s presence.”

I loved it!  What an incredible invitation – just as I had loved it last February when I mentioned it and had already forgotten.  Somebody – please help me NOT to forget that this year.

It was the perfect foil for me as sI was trying to figure out how to fit in “finishing” my Bible-2013 reading plan AND keep up on the Read-the-Bible-through-in-2014 plan all at once.    James also quoted his friend Buddy Owens:

“When you open the Bible do so determined to read for depth, not distance.”

Depth, not distance…”  I realize my “tribe,” the slice of ecclesia which beautifully instilled in me a love of the word of God, but also perhaps the seeds of condemnation that come from not being able to check off the squares next to the names of the books of the Bible within a very defined time frame, and I, well – we’ve gone some distance.  I’ve really loved the years I could say, “What a blessing – I was able to read the whole Bible through this year.  Got in under the wire, Praise the Lord.”  J/k…haven’t said it quite like that – close, but not actually.  Haha.  Do not egg me on by asking me which years, please save me from myself!

However, I continued to scroll through Tweets and came across this one from Howard Snyder:

howard snyder tweet

If I read the Bible slowly, to get more benefit, it may take longer than the 12 months or 52 weeks or 365 days…I do worry that me not holding the Bible-in-a-Year standard high will be the deterioration of the church as we know it.  I’m terrified to find out if that is perhaps the point?

Can I get another ‘amen!?’

Just in case I wasn’t loosening my tight grip on the guilt and condemnation that makes me hide from God because I didn’t do something on “the list,” (the compliant Christian dos and don’ts), my son-in-law, Ryan, came home from a Graham Cooke conference last night and told Tredessa, with whom I’d shared my conflicted, yucky, Bible-reading-fail feelings, that he wasn’t in to Bible-in-a-Year plans and felt they often were part of a religious spirit.

Who?  What?   Really?  Oh, ugh…

2014:  I am going to be reading my Bible like crazy, but slowly, thank-you very much.  Now check in on me to make sure I don’t slack, that I don’t personally cause the collapse of the church and please make sure next January I am not trying to “catch up” on 2013 and 14 before jumping in to 2015.  It is for this purpose that we have hidden His words in our hearts.

I pray that I won’t feel “behind” but right where I need to be on any given day.  I’ll pray that for you, too!

your words

Go, you!

If you are on track and enjoying depth as well as distance, if you kicked off a “plan” this year and it’s going well and you are enjoying the garden of His Presence as you read: KEEP GOING!  I cheer you on!  :) 

4 thoughts on “I did not read the Bible through in 2013

  1. So enjoyed this. I understand. My intentions were to finish by that magical deadline of Dec. 31st. Really!
    I must be very open here. I’ve never read all the way through in a year. As I read through Leviticus and some of the others, I thought, hmmm have people really read through these year after year? I was trying to read out loud and I was putting myself to sleep. Don’t get me wrong I love the Word very, very much. But I’m just taking it by faith that we need to read some things every year. I want to be one of those read every year people, I do! So I guess I will revisit the drier ones again.
    It’s been an exciting journey and I know there are others like me out there. I would encourage them to read it through…even in 18 months if that is what it takes. There is such beauty and depth and mysteries and secrets contained inside. I love the stroll in the garden thoughts.
    Maybe like the Nike ads, we need to Just Do It! Read it through no matter how long or which way you want to. Like a kid with a milk shake, slurps with his straw every single drop that can be gotten. We need to read every iota of the Bible and enjoy to the last drop the sweet richness inside.

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