THE BIBLE IS…QUITE LONG.
All this month at EDEN, we’re talking about overcoming anxiety and learning to stress less. Jesus taught so much about fear, faith, and humanity’s proneness toward anxiety. Compelling statements are recorded throughout Scripture to encourage us when we are stressed, discouraged, and fearful in heart. Here are just a few examples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14.27“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5b-7“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Scripture is powerful. Reading wisdom & guidance in the Bible can transform your life in both short-term & long-term, not only with regard to fear and anxiety, but across every sphere of life – from relationships, to work, parenting, forgiveness, love, finances, doubt, leadership, loneliness and much more.
What has your experience been with the Bible? Maybe you’re starting out in faith, or have never even stepped foot in a church. Maybe religion is the furthest thing from your life. Or, maybe you’ve been a Christian for awhile but have never read the Bible for yourself. Wherever you’re at, you can change your life by reading the Bible.
Yet, Scripture can be daunting. Where do you start? It’s scattered with references to ancient regions, lineages, and it really is long…a collection of 66 books. If the task seems overwhelming, don’t lose heart! Reading the Bible daily WILL change your 2018. It’s worth it.
Here are 3 tips to help you read through the Bible in 1 year:
1 | START WITH THE STORYLINE
Let’s say you’ve never read Shakespeare’s Hamlet. You’ve heard people reference it, you want to understand the story for yourself, and so you order a copy. Suppose when it arrives, you flip past the first several acts, start on page 65, read two or three paragraphs, and then shut the book, saying to yourself, “I have no idea why people quote this book so much…it doesn’t even make sense.” It’s silly, but it’s easy to take this approach to the Bible. You’re not alone, we’ve probably all done it! It’s an accident waiting to happen. We hear a quote, and we try to jump-in mid-plot, and we can’t figure out who the characters are or what it’s relevance is to us.
When you start reading the Bible, you can counteract the feeling that you’ve showed up late to a Netflix binge party and all your friends know what’s happening except you. Here’s how to acquaint yourself with the storyline and get your bearings. The Bible is a collection of 66 books, divided into two primary sections – the Old & New Testament. The Old Testament is longer, with 39 books, and the New Testament begins with 4 accounts of the life of Jesus, followed by a series of letters, with a total of 27 books.
Start with the storyline. Even though the Bible is a large collection of books, compiled across centuries, there is ONE storyline. You can follow the story from beginning to end, Genesis to Revelation. The story is complex & historical in nature, and yet the storyline is profoundly simple: God loves us so much, that He is working throughout history to save humanity, through Jesus, who is at the center of the story. Each book of the Bible has it’s place & purpose in that storyline. Check out the resources at the end of this article for more help understanding the storyline of Scripture.
2 | COMMIT TO A READING PLAN
Where would we be in life without a plan? Everything that’s truly important to us is on our calendar, with regular time set aside for it. The best way to develop a new habit is to calendar a time-slot for it. Write down your goal, to read the Bible in 2018, and place your written goal in a place where you’ll see it every day. Then, examine your calendar and find a realistic 20-minute time slot for Scripture reading, and utilize a reading plan to stay on track.
A reading plan will keep you motivated and organized. You can track your progress and read through the entire Bible with less time daily than you might think…probably less time than we wait in line at Philz…(*Philz is the best coffee ever in case you’re reading this from somewhere other than the Silicon Valley.)
If you’ve tried before and become discouraged, consider tacking your commitment onto an existing habit in your life. For example, if you browse your Facebook news feed every morning when you wake up, make a commitment to yourself that you’ll open your Bible before you open your Facebook app. Or, if you love checking your email and cleaning your inbox first thing in the morning, consider waiting on email till you’ve read your Bible. These are small shifts that can have an amazing compound effect over time…you’ll start each day by pouring over timeless wisdom, and have God’s guidance immersed in your thoughts throughout the day. Check out the additional resources at the end of this article to put a reading plan into action for 2018.
3 | TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECH
We are some of the most privileged people in human history. Through technology, we have profound access to literary works of the ages, especially the Bible. Entire eras of civilizations could not access the Bible for themselves, and we have it literally at our fingertips. Not only can we easily purchase a printed copy of the Bible, we can also access the entire Bible for free, directly on our devices.
YouVersion is my all-time favorite app, I use it daily & I highly recommend it. It’s free to download, includes highlightable text, notes, and even an audio version. If you’re able to read a hard-copy of the Bible daily, that’s great! If you want to utilize tech and read your Bible on your phone (or listen to it while you sit in traffic), that’s also great! Take advantage of technology and customize it to fit your daily routine.
- YouVersion Bible App – Available for free download, for both iOS & Android. Search for “YouVersion” and you’ll find it!
- YouVersion Bible App for Kids – A favorite in our home, with interactive lessons for kids. Available for free download, for both iOS & Android.
- The Bible Project Videos – Access free, short videos that will help you start with the storyline and see themes throughout Scripture. Access Here >
- Through the Bible Reading Plans – Access free plans to guide you through the whole Bible in 2018. Access Here >
- Topical Reading Plans – Access free plans on topics ranging from anxiety to relationships, to finances, and parenting. Access Here >
- Helpful Videos – Find short, meaningful videos that will help the Bible come to life as you read it. Access Here >
What about you? How has your experience been with the Bible? What do you think about transforming your 2018 with Scripture? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts with Eden via your favorite social media: Eden on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
Written By Kayla Atondo. Kayla serves as the Communications Director at Eden, and is the wife of Daniel Atondo, Lead Pastor of Eden Church.
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