Sunday, January 13, 2013

2012-Reading the Bible in a Year

     1, 042 pages, 66 books and 365 days. You probably know what I'm referring to: a read-through-the-Bible in a year plan. I read through the Bible last year. Looking back, I realize this feat was all by God's grace! Life was busy but he provided the time motivation for me to do it. It all began at a church conference I attended last winter when the speaker (Pastor Barry York) challenged my fellow students and I to read the Bible in a year. He provided this reading plan,, among other plans.
     By the way, I highly recommend the above reading chart! It's very doable and the fact that the books are categorized into genres helps one to understand the content. One negative comment: some of the readings are not divided up well, for example, you may have 5 long chapters to read in Numbers one day and 3 chapters to read in Psalms the next day, so consider adjusting the portions so they are more even.
     Overall, reading the Bible in a year went very well and I learned so much! Sometimes I was not diligent. I got behind in my reading, but eventually caught up. The thing you have to realize about reading through the Bible in a year is that you can't go as in depth as you wish. You can't look at it verse by verse because you probably won't have time (praise God if you do!) Instead, you'll learn broad concepts, especially about God's character. Through the year, certain attributes of God became very clear. First, he showed me his justice. In Numbers 15:32-36, God told Moses to kill a man for picking up sticks on the sabbath.
     This example is one of many that shows how severely God hates sin, even the seemingly small sins. Second, I learned about God's love. It seems funny to talk about God's love after talking about his justice but that's exactly what scripture does. It emphasizes how God pours out his justice on sin and sinners, especially those who aren't Christians, as well as how he pours out his love on the saved. Passages like Jeremiah 31:3 come to mind. Jesus said to Israel, "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."
     Just think about that word 'everlasting.' Is that not beautiful??? Thirdly, God's mercy became evident to me. Nearly every Christian hero in the Bible had some glaring sin. Rahab was a prostitute, yet she was in the lineage of Jesus. Jacob was a liar. Paul persecuted Christians, yet God forgave these people and used them in amazing ways! God's justice, love and mercy are only a few of the character qualities which I learned about reading through the Bible in a year. Is God awesome or what??!