#35 - Read the Bible in 365 days.

Just when I begin to think that undertaking The List was a terrible idea, it brings me a victory so meaningful that I figure even if I don't finish it, it will be absolutely worth it in the end.

While the prospect of standing at 39.6% completion (40/101 tasks) is less than ideal, I just completed one of the self-labeled "major" list items...

#35 - Read the Bible in 365 days.

Since I have been doing so badly on the rest of the list, I devoted myself wholeheartedly to this task.  I downloaded a Bible-in-90-Days schedule back at the first of the year.  Well, that timeline didn't happen, and I didn't expect that it would, but I did manage to read the whole book from cover to cover in 180 days, completing it on July 2.

It was awesome to create the habit of spending time in the Word day in and day out.  It was also awesome to hear scripture come to mind when I encountered things in day to day life.  I'm ashamed that I hadn't done it sooner, but I'm thrilled that I didn't wait any longer.

Without question, the hardest books for me to get through were the 1 and 2 Chronicles (mostly because of the names) and Jeremiah in the Old Testament.  Revelation was tough too.  Apparently, I'm not inclined to understand prophecy.  But then again, that's the nature of it, I think.

One cool thing to happen to me was that I hit Samuel and Kings just as I was going through the study of David in our spring Bible study, so my personal reading schedule highlighted my "homework" for the study.

I simply devoured the Proverbs.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6
The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.  Proverbs 16: 9
The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.  Proverbs 16:21
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.  Proverbs 18:2
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.  Proverbs 29:11
I found this gem in Ecclesiastes (and this is as close to political as I'll get on this blog): 
A wise man's heart inclines him to the right, but a fool's heart to the left.  Ecclesiastes 10:2
And I have always absolutely loved Timothy and James. 
All Scripture is breathed by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16-17
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is a sin.  James 4:17
But this time as I read through the Bible, I developed a new appreciation for Paul's journeys...both spiritually and geographically.  The book of Acts has become, perhaps, my favorite.  Aside from Jesus' own crucifixion, the death of Stephen, the first martyr for the Christian faith, was the most moving and memorable event in the Bible for me.  After unashamedly proclaiming his love for Jesus and attempting to share the message with everyone who would listen, an angry mob at the hands of then-Saul stoned him to death.  But Stephen, full of grace and the Holy Spirit ended his life with the dignity that could only possibly come from a relationship with God -
And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  And falling to his knees he cried out, "Lord do not hold this sin against them."  Acts 7:59-60 
(Talk about being convicted about forgiving others.  That right there was a lesson for me.)

It seems as though I'm skipping the obvious - that is - the Gospels, whereby we learn of Jesus' ministry and his death and resurrection.  I hate to gloss over them, but having been born and raised in a Christian family, these are all very familiar to me.  They are absolutely, unequivocally important.

It's true that the more time you spend in the Word, the more time you want to spend in the Word.  It was awesome to experience the transition from feeling like a chore (that's right, I'll admit it) to anticipating and being excited about spending more time in it.  I'm going to start over now.  This is one book, I am certain, that will never get old...and one from which I will take away something new and different every single time.

#35...you have been checked!


Debbie said...

I loved what you said about the more time you spend in the Word, the more time you want to. That's so true. When I recently did a read through in a year, Denise and Mom were doing it at the same time with the same schedule. I loved getting together with them and hearing what had jumped out at them.

I remember that the book of Ezra was one that stood out to me then. I think the whole idea of rebuilding the temple was powerful to me at that specific time.

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