I remember hearing about The Bible in 90 Days last year in early spring. Well, our church is doing it this year, beginning today. A nice thing about the timing is that beginning it today will have our congregation reading the gospels during Holy Week–appropriate, I think. I’ve been thinking this morning about blogging through the bible as I read along with the congregation. I’m not positive it will happen, just because I’ve got a 17 month old and a 1 month old and things are a little crazy around the house at present. Just the same, blogging is a way that I think and process, so it will be helpful to do as I’m able. So I’ll do that. No formal commitment to a post a day based on the reading. But I will think “aloud” here and just live into what that looks like.
I’ve read the bible in a year twice–once with the New Living Translation, and once with The Message. Those are both translated/paraphrased so that reading flows more easily. And there’s no substitute for simply reading the bible, though it is a daunting book. I’ve failed at reading it through in a set amount of time (usually one year) at least as many times as I’ve actually done it. The importance of reading through the whole bible in a set period of time is that one gets a sense of the whole, of the overarching plot of God’s creating and his redemptive mission over time. Individual stories that we learn in Sunday School and texts that we work through in a bible study or a sermon lack context when we have not read the whole bible. You make connections you hadn’t thought to make between stories when you’ve read them within week or two of each other. I’m looking forward to it. Of course, in the words of a wise former parishoner, “There are more ways to do something right than to do something wrong.” I say that to offer that reading the whole bible in 90 days may appeal to some because of the shorter length of its commitment in number of days to read, versus a whole year or more. On the other hand, others may say, “give me less to read daily and I’ll spread it out over 6 months or a year or even two years.”
In that spirit, I simply encourage folks to read the whole bible. You’ll be amazed at times. You’ll likely be disturbed many times. Heck, you might be bored sometimes admittedly (Leviticus? genealogies? There’s actually more to them than you might think). But hopefully you’ll be transformed–that the collection of narratives and lists and instructions and poetry and sayings and prophecies and exhortations and wild imagery will be for you the living, active Word of God.
Here’s a few options, including The Bible in 90 Days, if you’d like to give it a try. And if you fall short or hopelessly behind–so what! You’ll likely have read more of the bible while trying to read the whole thing that you have before or would have without trying to do it all. Just take a little time to collect yourself, read a little less each day, and then one day try it again. You may have to start and fall off a few times before the breakthrough time when you read it all, so don’t give up on it as a major goal for you life.