Read the Bible in one year.
It’s a popular New Year’s Resolution. There are Bibles designed specifically for the purpose of reading the Bible in a single year, because it’s such a popular goal.
But I won’t be doing it.
Why I Won’t Be Reading the Bible in One Year
Am I a rebel? Well, I am a sinner, and I do have a rebellious spirit from time to time. But my reason for not reading through the Bible in a year has nothing to do with rebellion.
I’m not reading through the Bible in a year because I’m a box-checker. But let me back up.
Reading the Bible in a Year is a Good Thing….Most of the Time
In the past, I have read the Bible in a year. In fact, last year I read it in 90 days. It’s important to read through the entire Bible systematically, so you don’t miss anything.
I have friends who read through the entire Bible every year and have done so for years. They KNOW their Bibles.
And the year’s I’ve read through the entire Bible have been a blessing. Reading through the entire text of Scripture helps us to see the complete story of redemption through both the Old and New Testaments.
The Problem with Being a Box-Checker
What I found in trying to read the Bible in a year myself – year after year – is that I began to check boxes. In other words, instead of reading the Bible to grow closer to God and to learn more about Him, I was reading to get the day’s reading out of the way.
My reading became rote and meaningless. That’s not good.
There’s no point in setting a goal of reading the Bible in a year if the only thing you accomplish is checking off the boxes. If your relationship with God is not growing through your reading, you need a new plan. Or a new attitude.
And that’s where I found myself at the end of last year.
What I’m Doing Instead of Reading the Bible in One Year
About a week ago, someone commented on my blog post, Bible Reading Tips for the Easily Distracted, and pointed me toward Good Morning Girls.
I had heard of Good Morning Girls before, but had never looked into it.
Basically, it’s a Bible reading plan and method from Courtney Joseph of WomenLivingWell.org. The plan is to read through one chapter of Scripture every weekday. Today we began the book of Job.
As we read, we use the SOAK method to interact more deeply with the Word of God.
What is the SOAK method?
S = Scripture
For each day’s scripture passage, you select a verse or two that stands out to you, and then you write it out.
Today, for Job 1, I picked verses 21-22 (ESV).
And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
There’s just something about the physical act of writing down scripture that helps the passage go from being words on a page to meditations in the heart.
O = Observation
Once you’ve written down your verses, write down what you observe from the verses. What do they say about God? About man? About how God and man relate?
Back to Job, this morning I wrote the following (keep in mind this is from my journal and isn’t edited):
God has the authority to give and take away. Job worshipped God, even when he lost everything. Job recognized that all he had was from God. Job must have had a strong relationship with God to not blame Him – and Job didn’t blame God. Job did not sin, though he lost everything.
When making observations about scripture, even though you’re focusing on just a few verses, take into account all of scripture. And remember, scripture never contradicts itself. Context is important when making observations.
A = Application
After observing your selected verses in context of the entire chapter, think and pray about how you might apply what you’ve learned to your life.
Back to my Job study this morning, this is what I wrote (again, unedited):
I need to acknowledge that everything I have belongs to God. That means trusting Him for provision and being content with where He has us financially.
Worship does not depend on circumstances. I need to develop the kind of relationship with God that Job had – one that completely trusts his sovereignty – so that I am prepared to worship in hard times.
Make sure that you don’t just write the words. Make changes in your life that need to be made. Again, reading the Bible doesn’t mean anything if it fails to impact your life in some way.
K = Kneeling in Prayer
Finally, pray about what you have read.
This morning I praised God for being in control always – in good times and bad. I thanked Him for His sovereign plan for my life, even when I don’t understand the plan. And I asked for God to give me the desire to always be growing in my relationship with Him.
How the SOAK Method Benefits the Box-Checker in Me
My box-checking nature loves that there is a method to this Bible study. I can still check my boxes after I’ve done each step.
But unlike just reading through the Bible in a year, using the SOAK method forces me to slow down and interact with scripture. It forces me to think about changes I need to make in my life – to pray about those changes. It forces me to recognize God’s sovereignty and to appreciate the way He has worked through the history of the Bible and how he continues to work in my own life today.
Make a Plan to Read Through the Entire Bible
Whether you read through the Bible in a year or not, please make a plan to read through the Bible in a systematic way, no matter how long it takes.
Like I said above, it’s important to see how all of scripture works together. And I don’t know about you, but I have my favorite books of the Bible – my box-checker self likes the Pauline Epistles, because they tell me what to do. I’d probably camp there all the time if I didn’t have a plan to read things that I don’t understand as easily – like the prophets.
If you need a plan, the Good Morning Girls plan is free. If you like, you can purchase a journal (affiliate link) to record your thoughts (I did), but you can do the study just as easily with your own notebook or the free printable pages at WomenLivingWell.org.
The Job study just began today, so you’re not behind. And there’s no reading assignments on the weekends, so if you get behind, it’s easy to catch up.
I’m excited about my Bible reading plan for the year! I hope you’re excited about yours as well. There’s nothing like a deep desire to spend time in the Word of God!
And if you don’t have a Bible reading plan, I would love it if you would join me in reading Job for the next eight weeks!
Question: What is Your Bible Reading Plan for the Year?