Will You Join Me in Reading the Bible this Year?

Will You Join Me in Reading the Bible this Year? December 31, 2023

If you’ve never read the Bible all the way through, let 2024 be the year you do it. Don’t let past failures keep you from applying yourself to it this time. All it takes is roughly 10-15 minutes a day. That’s it. When we consider how little time it takes each day, the reality is that it is not so much a lack of time as a lack of follow-through. The prospect of reading the entire Bible, page by page, might seem daunting to you to begin with – especially if you’re not a strong reader to begin with. But, my hope is that you’ll genuinely consider what you stand to gain from regular saturation in and through the Word than to forego it.

Perhaps you are the person who expects a “mountain-top” experience every time you read the Bible. Each and every time you open the Word, you expect to find that God has stirred your affections and spirit like no other. If you’re like me, that’s just not the case, and some days it can be a genuine slog and fight against your flesh to just open up, pray, and read. The fact of the matter is that when most of us come to the book of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, or Numbers – we give up. Not because we sense the reading of Scripture is unimportant. To the contrary, I believe most of us lose focus, expect too much, or simply find that the exercise of practical disciplines is harder than we thought it would be.

The reality is that like food, not every meal is a 5-star dining experience. That doesn’t mean you stop eating though. Like most of us, some meals may be an experience to remember – but most of the time, it is simply another routine part of the day. Yet we eat, not for the sheer enjoyment of it, but for the practicality of it. In one sense, food, though something to be enjoyed to the glory of God, can sometimes become mundane. Like every other thing we experience in a broken and finite world, the prospect of “checking the box” even becomes a sense of duty rather than delight. We can fall into the routine of it, and even at times in the minutia of our day, we forget to do it altogether, and then scramble to find some “fast food,” because we know we should at least eat something.

I say all of this not as a rebuke, or even a way of saying I’ve pressed beyond the very real slog that six months of life can bring in a given year. However, I do say all of this as a means to encourage you. Seldom do we think that nearly everyone in life experiences the same phenomena we do. Instead, we consider our own temptations unique. We believe that we are the exception to the rule. Yet when we stop to contemplate things a bit more deeply, what we will find is that the temptations which are common to us have always been common to mankind – and the regular reading of your Bible is no exception to the rule.

We know things shouldn’t be this way; we understand that we should genuinely be excited to open up the Scriptures day in and day out – that our own heartbeat matches that of the psalmist in Psalm 119, where we can genuinely say with all our heart, mind, and soul: Your commandments revive me. Yet if we are unflinchingly honest, I sense most of us fall along the same spectrum as David, when we must beg the Lord to, “Return the joy of my salvation to me, and sustain me with a willing spirit” (Ps. 51:12).

In the end, my point is a simple one: much of the Christian life in general, and especially the disciplines of the Christian life, are just that – a discipline. They are acts of dedication that we must commit ourselves to, regardless of what comes our way each given day, and we must resolve ourselves to a faithfulness to obedience regardless of how we might feel that day. None of that makes you less of a Christian if that is the case for you. Chances are that if you’re reading this today, you’ve been the one to struggle in this area of faithfulness. Like many others, you’re looking for a “tip” or “trick” to finally make your way through the Bible this year.

But my simple admonition with reading your Bible is to just keep with it. There is no “secret sauce.” Like many other aspects of the Christian life, it requires what I might call a holy discontent—which is to say, it requires a point where we no longer allow ourselves excuses, indulgences, or even distractions. Yet more so, let the Lord grant us the ultimate desire to know and delight in Him all the more, not merely for the revelation of His Word to us, but the revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Refuse to stop, and be stubbornly resolved to complete the whole Bible. Let nothing stand in your way. If it is a slog and you feel like it is the last thing you want to do—do it anyways. If it feels like a pointless endeavor that day, resolve to be faithful, and let the reward of a simple faithfulness pay dividends in the long run. If you feel like time is pressing, cut things out for the sake of reading your Bible. If you miss a day, because life happens, pick it back up the next day and catch up.

Do the hard thing, and know that God rewards a simple faithfulness. Embrace this discipline by faith, knowing that God’s Word is living and active, and will accomplish what He desires.  Give up tv, phone time, or whatever else you need to, to make it a priority. There are thousands of other things you can spend your time doing, but none will be so rewarding and enriching as this in the long run, especially if you invest the time to contemplate what it is you’re reading.

May the Lord bless you this year, and grant you the faithfulness to endure to the end.

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