How to Read the Bible in Six Months

 

As I invite friends and family to join me in reading the Bible from cover to cover in six months, I often hear the same questions and concerns and wanted to take a moment to address those issues. I hope this benefits you in your journey to read through the scriptures with me.

Why not just get a one year Bible?

That’s a great question. I’m not against the idea of reading through the Bible in a year. I would rather you read through in a year than never read at all. Having said that, I have two issues with one year Bibles:

  1. I believe three to five chapters a day is too slow. Most of the Bible is written in story format. It is the greatest story ever told, and we often miss a great deal of it, because we do not read it like one (For more on that thought please see What does it mean to read the Bible?)
  2. One year Bibles often have the reader reading one book in the New Testament and one in the Old at the same time. Maybe you have three novels on your night stand right now and reading multiple books at the same time comes natural for you. Many of us don’t however and even if you do, I bet they are not three books of the same series, right? The New Testament builds on the foundation laid by the Old Testament. There are many OT references in the NT that we often miss if we haven’t read the OT first. Did you know that Jonah was a type of Jesus? Jesus himself tells the Pharisees that the only sign they will have that He is who He claims to be is that of Jonah. Throughout Jesus’ entire ministry, He made references to the OT. References that you may read over without understanding them if you haven’t read the OT first.

But reading from cover to cover is too much OT at once – I want to read about God’s grace and mercy found in the NT.

I’ve heard this from a lot of people. To quote a good friend of mine, “That comment is spoken like someone who has never read the Old Testament.” There is so much grace and mercy in the OT but many Christians never experience that because they rarely (if ever) read the OT. Consider this, when God created Adam, He commanded him not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge or “you are sure to die”. But when Adam did eat from that tree, God allowed him to live another 900 plus years. That’s Mercy. When Cain killed Able and God cursed him, Cain cry out that the punishment was too much to bare saying “all who find me will kill me”, so God marked him so no man would touch him. That’s Mercy. We haven’t even gotten out of the first four chapters of the first book!

Why should I read the Bible that fast? or When I read that fast I don’t get anything out of it…

To answer this question, I must challenge the term “fast”. First, let me say I believe it is impossible to read the Bible at any pace and not ‘get something out of it’. I understand if you currently read very rarely, or not at all, this could seem like an extremely fast pace. Well, consider this:

  • The King James Version (KJV) Bible is read aloud in about 70 hours for most Audio Bibles
  • The New International Version (NIV) Bible is read aloud in about 77 hours for most Audio Bibles
  • By reading just one hour a day out loud, you could finish the bible in about 70-77 days (2 ½ months)
  • At seven chapters a day, you will finish the 1189 chapters of the Bible in just 5 ½ months!

Reading through in 6 months should only require about 30 minutes a day. You may not read as fast as they do on an Audio Bible, but remember reading out loud takes longer than reading to yourself, so even if you are a little slower, you should still be able to keep up with about thirty minutes a day.

It sounds like you want me to commit to 30 minutes a day; where am I going to find that time?

Reading the Bible should be a priority in your life as a Christian. Psalms 119:105 says “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path”. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Romans 12:2 commands “Do not conform … but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. I could go on but you already know the importance of Scripture. Your concern is how to make time to do what you already agree should be done, right? Consider this; a one hour television program has over 15 minutes of commercials. The average American watches 3 hours and 46 minutes of TV each day! (See TV Stats). If that’s you, reading during commercials would be more than enough time to complete the daily reading.

OK, you’ve convinced me but I have tried reading the whole Bible before and failed. How can I succeed this time?

I completely understand this concern. I have been there. I have tried to read my Bible many times before and always failed after only a few weeks. I have put together a list of helpful tips that I hope will help you in your journey to read the Bible:

  • JOIN WeReadTheBible.com
  • GET AN ACCOUNTABLITY PARTNER!!!
  • Don’t read KJV Bible, Read a plain English bible. Preferably a Translation (NIV, CEV, NLT) and not a paraphrase (The Living, The Message)
  • Get LARGE print edition (trust me, it will be easier on your eyes and easier to read)
  • Pick a time, read on a routine, the beginning of the day is better than later
  • Don’t get hung up on difficult words (places, people, locations), use an audio bible to help with pronunciations, to make it smoothly over difficult passages. Biblegateway.com has the audio for most versions of the Bible available for free when you listen online.
  • Don’t stop for a word study – most of the time these are tangents that distract you from reading your bible (see What does it mean to read the Bible?)
  • Take quick short notes so you can go back to study more in depth after your normal reading time. Use those notes to post to the forum – We want to know what stood out to you!
  • If you miss, don’t be discouraged and don’t try to make it up all at once! If you missed 7 chapters today, don’t try to jam 14 chapters in the same reading time tomorrow – maybe 8 chapters, or 9, OR just 7. The key is to keep going!
  • If the Bible Forum group is moving into a new book, and you are behind, start the new book with the group. You can always back fill the book you leave behind, and it’s easier to keep going when you are reading with friends.
  • Get the Bible Book Mark Excel spreadsheet from the site – if you don’t have excel, email the forum admin for other options. You must keep track of your daily reading or you will not read!

For many of you this seems like an enormous endeavor. The first time though, it can be overwhelming, but trust me, it is worth it! You will find yourself thinking differently, acting differently, and living differently because the Bible renews your mind! I know you can do it, and the Bible Forum is full of people ready to cheer you on as you journey with us through The Greatest Story Ever Told!

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