It wasn’t easy, but we did it! One of my major challenges last year was to read through the bible in a year. I’ve done it a few times before, but mostly as a student.
This time, the hubs challenged me to do it together with him – he had used the same app for at least 2 years running, so he wanted me to get on board this time around.
I wasn’t sure if I’d finish the whole “ESV Study Bible” plan from the YouVersion Bible App, since there were four passages everyday, one from the Psalms, 2 from the Old Testament, and 1 from the New Testament. But taking public transport ‘saved’ me. It was the one block of time in the day that I could certainly spending reading passages from the app. I’m not sure how much damage that might have done to my eyes, but I suppose it’s all good, considering how I could absorb a significant portion of the Word everyday.
The other factor that helped me complete the Bible, was also the encouragement and friendly rivalry that comes from the hubs. We’d check on each other, to see how far back we were falling behind, and try hard to catch up with our readings, if not catch up with each other. Sometimes, we’d even try to read ahead, in anticipation of days when we might forget or be too busy to complete the day’s reading.
One thing that definitely comes across in reading through the entire Book, is that you get a sense of proportion, of what makes up the Bible. What hit me the most, was how much of the Bible was filled with prophesies of judgement upon a rebellious people, though they were chosen. All the comforting verses of love and care, are but a small percentage of a book that mainly speaks of the wrath that is about to come. So that reminded me not to be too selective about what I choose to ‘remember’ of the Bible, and to be very mindful that the message is not an easy one, and that there is a cost to discipleship.
Of course, it is important not to miss the wood for the trees. And even though there may be many diseased and decaying trees, the story that runs through is one of redemption. One of a perfect forest to come. And the horrors of consistent evil and rebellion, simply emphasise how much more glorious and gracious our Redeemer is. Against the backdrop of repeated failure, only one perfect Son prevails. And there can only be one response – a heart filled with awe and gratitude.
This year, I have chickened out slightly, and embarked on “An in-depth study of Matthew” by Table Talk instead. It’s a devotional with a short daily reading passage from Matthew, bundled together with a good expository passage that triggers reflection and application (which usually cites sound authors such as John Piper and Matthew Henry). It’s not easy to find good devotionals these days, since most are very wishy-washy, and more moralistic than expository.
So we’re glad that we stumbled upon this one (yup, the hubs is doing the same devotional too). Although we will not be able to plow through the whole Bible, I really wanted a devotional that would spark off more reflection, instead of a series that commits so much time to reading that there’s not much time left for pondering meaning and application.
If you’re still searching for a devotional, some great ones that I’ve used before include:
- Morning by Morning – Charles Spurgeon (there’s even a site that offers to send the day’s reading to your mailbox daily!)
- My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers (a schoolmate bought me this lovely planner many years ago, that incorporated his devotionals into the year’s calendar)
May this be a year where we try our best to be steeped in the Word, and difficult as it may be, especially when we feel that life is throwing us curveballs, let’s try our best to live out the Word too.