Since young, I’ve always dreamt of being able to quote Scripture off the top of my head. I wanted to be like Jesus who could rebuke Satan with His knowledge of the scriptures.
But I confess, after being a Christian for over 14 years, I still have not read the Bible once through. Ever. Not having finished the Bible before was always something that I avoided talking about whenever my leaders asked about my QT or Bible reading plan.
In 2018, I finally decided to read my entire Bible once through. I was convicted to do it in part from a challenge by my Youth Pastor to our ministry.
We’re in 2019 now, and I’ll be honest: I’m only halfway through the Old Testament. But I’m further along in my Bible reading plan this year than I’ve ever gotten in 14 years. So here are some things I’ve learnt along the way.
5 TIPS TO FINISH THE BIBLE
1. Know you’re meeting a Person, not reading a storybook
It’s been said The Holy Bible is the only book in the entire world that has the author present as you read it.
We shouldn’t devalue the Bible and think of it as just a great story or a really long “storybook”. We may not say it outright, but we may be thinking it.
The Bible isn’t just words on a book. Reading it is to see the glory of God through the “eyes of our heart” (Ephesians 1:17).
2. Tackle easier books first
This is a great Bible reading hack. If you’re the kind of person who gets bored easily, or gives up at seeing unpronounceable names or places – “Melchizedek” is an example that comes to mind – starting with more accessible books like the Psalms will help.
Also, when I face particularly challenging chapters, I like to whip out The Message (a version of the Holy Bible written in plain-speak) for understanding. Commentaries like Enduring Word can also be great guides.
3. Reflect after reading
Not only does reflection help you to process what you read, it’s also a way to actively commune with God and hear what He has to say to you.
Reflection is a great way to remember how God brought you through a season. It provides a brief, macro view of your life and gives you the chance to recognise God in every part of your life — in both the mountaintops and the valleys.
4. Whatever it takes – get engaged
Being easily distracted or bored were excuses I used to hide behind. But we need to be ruthless about our reading and do whatever it takes to connect with God.
No time? We can listen to an audio Bible on the MRT to work. We can get past difficult passages with the help of Bible commentaries. There are books and study Bibles to help us develop biblical literacy.
In my free time, I especially love watching The Bible Project. Each video helps to whet my appetite for the next book of the Bible that I’m about to read, or a study on a biblical theme I’m about to undertake.
But none of the above can beat reading actual Scripture for yourself. When we treat the Bible as the true and holy living Word of God, we’ll find there just aren’t enough ways to consume it.
5. Don’t be discouraged
It’s easy to lose hope when you meet a bump on the road, like skipping one too many days in your Bible reading plan. Many of us eventually reach a point where we feel we’re never going to be able to catch up, and we give up altogether.
But press on! Real success is to keep the Bible close to our hearts (Joshua 1:8) – not legalistically finishing a reading plan.
So as we read the Word, let’s remember to always do so with delight. Psalms 1:2 tells us to “delight in the law of the LORD” and to meditate on it day and night.
When reading the Word becomes an expression of your love for Him, and not another law to check off, slowly but surely you will find yourself at the last verse of Revelation before you even know it.