Bible Reading Challenge

How hard can this be?

I signed up for one of those experiential coaching programs at Mr. 4-Ever’s urging. He’d taken the training and could not stop talking about it. “Wonderful” and all its synonyms gushed forth from him. So I signed up. Three months of in-depth coaching and accountability. 

I had to set a professional goal and a personal goal. For the professional goal, I pledged to write 1,000 words a day to establish a writing discipline and complete the manuscript for my book, The Widow Wore Pink—my story of transformation from Playboy Bunny and club dancer to Jesus follower. And just for good measure, I committed to making 100 sales calls a week to find places to tell that story. 

Since my professional goals were a stretch, I needed an easy personal goal. “I’ll read through the Bible,” I announced to the class. How hard could that be? 

I bought a large-print, two-column, red-letter New International Version with 2,036 pages. Divide that by 84 days, and all I had to read was 25 pages a day.

 

Lord, have mercy!

If you miss just one day, it becomes 50 pages a day. Miss another day, and it’s now 75!

Thirty days in, I was wishing I’d chosen something easier, like learning Chinese or running a marathon. I made it, but it took all the fun out of reading the Bible, and it put a real damper on my desire to do so.

 

God, you are so sneaky! 

About a year later, I was invited to speak at a women’s retreat. They wanted me to teach the women how to read the Bible on a regular basis.

I taught a variety of ways to read the Bible for pleasure and rediscovered my first love:

  • Read one chapter a day. Start at the beginning of the Old or New Testament and read one chapter a day till you’re through the whole book. 

  • Use a chronological Bible. If your Bible reading needs freshening up, try reading it in the order of events. Chronological Bibles switch things up from what you’re used to, making all the stories seem new. 

  • Read one book over and over. Proverbs is handy since it has 31 chapters but it can be any book of the Bible. It’s amazing what new thing pops every time I read the same chapter.

  • Read only the Gospels. Start with Matthew and read through John then start over and do it again. 

  • Focus reading only the red letters (words of Jesus). This is Dave’s go-to reading plan. He says, “If I know what Jesus said then, I’ll discern what he’s saying now.” Reading the red letters is a great way to learn the heart of the Savior.
  • Read for a set time each day. Read for 10 minutes a day, or 30 or 5. Set a timer, start reading and quit when the timer goes off.
  • Listen to dramatized audio recordings of the Bible. You can buy the digital version or the Bible Gateway app will read you the Bible. Listen to it in the car, while you make dinner or by candlelight in the tub. 

  • Read the stories (David and Goliath, Jonah, Ruth, Jesus feeding the 5,000, Paul’s conversion, and so on). 

 

Without being pressured to fly through the text, I rediscovered the character, kindness, and compassion of God through his Word.

 

Right Priorities

Reading the Bible to gain bragging rights, to check a box on your to-do list, or to memorize the genealogy of Jesus will not lead you to his love, peace, or magnificence. 

There are times when the Bible is a textbook, but I’ve found that when I use it as a conduit to knowing the heart of God, it’s so much better.

 

What’s your system for reading the Bible with consistency?

Leave me a comment. I read every single one and I’m always looking for new ideas.

 

Verse:  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

Prayer: Jesus, help me want to read your word so I can know you better and become more like you. Amen. 

15 Comments

  1. Courtney on January 14, 2024 at 8:41 am

    I read through the Bible with 2 friends. The accountability was great! We did the Bible Recap plan on the Bible app, there is a place for comments each day so we could share with each other. We don’t live in the same place, so it was a great way to connect with God and each other

    • Robyn Dykstra on January 15, 2024 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Courtney! Nice. Thanks for your comment. That’s a great way to encourage one another. Love, Robyn

    • Cara Marshall on January 19, 2024 at 1:51 pm

      I read at night after I get my 2 grandsons settled into bed and the house is quiet and I can concentrate more. I actually either pick up devotional books from thrift stores, garage sales, or buy from Walmart. Each night I read a lesson, look up the Bible verses listed with the lesson, and then I write a small prayer in my book in regards to the lesson and blessings or cares of the day. It makes me feel more calm and ready for a good night rest.

  2. Rena Kindler on January 14, 2024 at 8:53 am

    The first time I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, I did it to prove my husband wrong. Believe me, it was the wrong reason to read the Bible. Oh in case your wondering he was right; i was wrong and I lost the bet. I have read it using all the methods you have said. One other I do is to read two different translations at the same time.
    For some reason, now I find I use the New King James with another translation. Did you know The Message leaves one sentence of one verse completely out? Makes no mention of the sentence. If you are interested in knowing what book, chapter and verse, let me know. I will give you the missing sentence. Love your articles. Loved seeing you in person at Women Anew in Christ. rena

    • Robyn Dykstra on January 15, 2024 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Rena, thanks for your comment! Love, Robyn

  3. Dyann on January 14, 2024 at 12:19 pm

    Love this and know many will relate. So much more important to spend time with Jesus and soaking up His presence and words than checking off our to do list.

    • Robyn Dykstra on January 15, 2024 at 2:04 pm

      Dyann, you’ve got that right! Thanks for commenting. Love, Robyn

  4. Beaman, Lydia on January 14, 2024 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Robin..
    After church ( Indian Rocks Baptist Church of Largo, Florida,), and when lunch is all cleaned up, I look forward to sitting down with your encouraging words. Thanks for taking the time to write them! They always put “ frosting on the cake” each Sunday!
    I particularly loved today’s tips for reading God’s Word.
    Lots of love.
    ?? Lydia Beaman

    • Robyn Dykstra on January 15, 2024 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks, Lydia, for that comment. Glad you liked the tips! Love, Robyn

  5. Joanie Zuiderveen on January 14, 2024 at 6:23 pm

    I’ve tried the one Proverbs/3 Psalms – that’s good for one month with 31 Prov. and 150 Psalms. Ps 119 was a scorcher, though. That took a couple days but I could get back on track soon. I love to do the 4 gospels over and over, too. If you want to get to KNOW Jesus, spend time with HIM! I could also read Paul’s letters and the other letters over and over, too. Such good lessons and advice – that I need to keep being reminded of!

    • Robyn Dykstra on January 15, 2024 at 2:05 pm

      Joanie, I love the Gospels too. Thanks for your comment. Love, Robyn

  6. Julie Powell on January 14, 2024 at 6:31 pm

    I read the Bible ,mostly, now on the YouVersion app
    On my phone. I absolutely love it! ? I’ve been doing devotional plans with friends I’ve met on the app, ( very sweet people) . This year I’m trying to read through the Bible again. I think if I continue in the Message Bible I may make it this time. We just finished Job as part of a devo. I literally really enjoyed it? ?what? …. I loved God’s responses to Job at the end of the book! Watch out Job! God loves us anyway!
    Blessings!

    • Robyn Dykstra on January 15, 2024 at 2:06 pm

      That’s so true, Julie– God loves us anyway. Thanks for sharing! Love, Robyn

  7. Ruth Rottier on January 15, 2024 at 11:26 am

    I have read a Psalm and a Proverb every day for more than thirty years. Receive something from the Lord every day. Our church is presently reading through the new testament in a year. Started in September. I am also presently in a Bible study held at my house studying Hebrews. I talk to the Lord throughout the day and am truly Blessed.
    Thanks for your blog.

    • Robyn Dykstra on January 15, 2024 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Ruth, thanks for commenting! Psalms and Proverbs together daily are so good. Always a blessing. Love, Robyn

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