Read the Bible in one year? Yes, you can!

A lot of people started this year with the goal of reading through the Bible by the end of the year. Maybe you’re one of them. But that was almost two weeks ago. By now, you may have already lost some of your original momentum. Maybe you skipped a day. Or two. Maybe you’re looking at that Bible on the coffee table and thinking, “That’s a really thick book. How am I ever going to finish it?” If you haven’t gotten to that point, you probably will. If you have, you can take comfort in the fact that most people eventually hit some obstacle in their yearly Bible reading.

Here is a little encouragement to stay with it:

Remember WHY: There is really no bad reason to read the Bible, but it’s worth remembering why you started in the first place. You aren’t reading just to check something off a list or to have something to post on your year-end social media. If you decided that you wanted to read the entire Bible – roughly 780,000 words, depending on the version you’re using – you probably wanted it to be a meaningful experience. The Bible is different from other books. It connects us to God and gives shape to our lives. That alone makes the effort worth it. Think of it less as a reading goal and more of a gift you give yourself every day. Time with God is never wasted.

Add Some Variety: Consider using a Bible app to help you experience the Bible in a different way. Many apps include an audio option which you can use to hear scripture in a different voice. Even if you’re reading a print Bible by yourself, try reading it out loud. Hearing the words — in your own voice or someone else’s — opens up a whole new way of experiencing scripture.

Another thing that might help you keep going is to try reading from different versions. Your personal library might be limited, but apps/websites like Bible Gateway or Blue Letter Bible give you access to many different versions. Sometimes reading the same words from a slightly different perspective will open up whole new ways of understanding. The more “Aha!” moments you have, the more they will motivate you to keep going.

You can also try different methods as you go through the year. Lectio divina, inductive study, reading out loud, writing scripture by hand, and many other methods have been helpful to people in the past. Try a few. They might help you stay on track too.

Give Yourself a Break: Here’s a little secret – if you fall behind, it’s not the end of the world. You can catch up by doubling your reading for a day or two or by reading a big chunk this weekend. Or … not. Even if you fall a few days, or even weeks, behind, don’t quit! Even if it takes you more than 12 months, the important thing is not the date on the calendar. It’s the time you spent with God and the transformation that happened in your life because of it.

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