Reading the Bible from cover to cover – Thoughts and recommendations

“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Messiah Yeshua. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)”

Have you ever read the Bible from cover to cover? I hadn’t. That’s why exactly one year ago I decided to commit to following a yearly Bible reading plan. Now that I have completed it, here are a few of my thoughts on the whole experience – both the good and the bad:

It’s challenging – In the back of my Bible, I have a table with dates and their corresponding references, divided into three daily portions: two portions from the Old Testament, and one from the New. Staying motivated to read such a long book -even when it’s just a little bit at a time- isn’t exactly easy.

It’s not always comfortable – You’re not always going to have that extra hour of free time during the day. When you do, it won’t always be quiet at home – and if you’re like me, you might get easily distracted. On top of that, things come up throughout the year that change or disrupt your daily routine. For example, I had difficulty following the reading plan, when I flew abroad to visit my wife’s family. There was so much to do each day during our visit, that by the end of the day I was exhausted and frankly just wanted to crash.

It can feel like chore – When you have a specific amount of reading to complete by a specific deadline, even the Word of God can occasionally feel like a chore. Furthermore, things can get especially difficult when your daily reading portions happen to include a long and detailed description of the building of Solomon’s palace… or better yet, chapter after chapter of genealogies. Not always the most exciting of reads.

Eating and leaving hungry – With all of the aforementioned challenges, sometimes I would close my Bible, feeling unsatisfied. When I sit down to read my Bible, I want to be filled. Sometimes when I would sit down to read and meditate on the daily portions “required of me”, I would feel that the passages of the day weren’t enough to quench my spiritual thirst. Our approach to Scripture is critical; we should pay close attention to our attitude when we open up His Word.

With 2017 now behind us, I can finally say that I have read the Bible from cover to cover in a year -I truly feel that this is an achievement in its own rite- but, I also can confidently say that it’s not for me. However, as you and I know, God’s Word never returns void; thus, there were many wonderful things that I was able to take away from this experience as well:

Seeing the bigger picture – Reading the Bible from start to finish helped me see the Biblical storyline from a bird’s eye view. Often times we can become fixated on a certain Biblical theme and fail to see the many other themes and topics that the Bible densely covers. Reading the whole story from beginning to end, helps remind us to take a step back every now and then, and look at the bigger picture.

Being reminded of forgotten truths – Our brains are finite and our memory is short. How many of the Proverbs do we actually remember? How many of Yeshua’s parables have we actually meditated on? How many of the Psalms do we read prayerfully? We need to be reminded of the Bible’s many truths and its great wisdom that is so important in our lives.

Covering passages often neglected – I’m pretty sure that you have those particular books of the Bible that you don’t enjoy reading and most likely tend to gravitate away from, when you open up your Bible to read. Following a yearly reading plan will challenge you to read through those books, chapter by chapter. You’ll probably be amazed at some of the exciting things that you might discover, by doing this!

Revise your theology – Obviously we’re not perfect and we all make mistakes in many different areas of our lives – Our Walk is no exception. We should always test to see that our lifestyle lines up with the Word of God and affirm that we are indeed walking in the Truth, ALWAYS! Even if a theology or doctrine feels as second nature, test it with the Word of God. “Is what I believe really true and does it align with the Word?” Ask yourself that, and be sure to approach the Bible prayerfully and humbly!

A Bible reading plan of any kind will always have its pros and cons. Some people are very organized and can follow a steady plan with ease; therefore, choosing a plan that literally goes from cover to cover might work well for you. For those of you who enjoy reading the Word at a different pace every day, and regularly hop around from one end of your Bible to the other, I would suggest finding a plan that better suits your reading style.

Additionally, there are many reading plans that help you to achieve specific goals. Some plans emphasize the New Testament, others emphasize the Old. Some highlight the Wisdom Literature, and some are just Biblical marathons. You can choose the one that suits you best. Just Google ‘Bible reading plans’ and you’ll access a hundred possibilities.

However you choose to read through your Bible this year, remember to treat God’s Word with reverence. Don’t treat your time alone with Him as a chore. Find a quiet corner, preferably at a comfortable time, so that you get the most out of your reading. To everybody up for a challenge, and for those who aren’t, Happy New Year and happy reading!

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Arthur Schwartzman grew up in Israel. After spending several years in the Israeli military with an air defense unit, Arthur became a Believer, after reading the New Testament. In 2015, he published his first book. He has had numerous articles and information pieces published throughout the years, ranging from politics and faith to cultural issues. He also writes fiction under a pen name.