This year I have decided, once again, to read the Bible through in a year. I intend to follow the reading plan in the One Year Bible, The New Living Translation. The advantage to this plan is that every day includes readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and from the Psalms and Proverbs.
When I have done this in the past, I have been impressed by the Bible’s consistency of emphasis, even though it was written over a period of 1500 years in three languages, by about 40 different human authors. It has 66 books of several different literary genres. Yet its singular theme and central personality is Jesus Christ, and how to know God through him.
I believe it is important for every Christian to read the Bible as a regular part of daily life, whatever reading plan is adopted. (I do believe it is important to read systematically, and to have some kind of a plan, or method. I recently spoke to a man who said he selected Bible verses at random, reading wherever he happened to open the Bible. Generally, I do not recommend this approach. It is better to read the Bible as it was written, book by book, paying attention to the author’s purpose and theme.)
God speaks through the scriptures.
There are many good reasons to read the Bible. I want to emphasize just two of them. First, the Bible is God’s chosen method for communicating with his people. As we read his word, God is speaking to us. It is vital for us to pay attention to what he is saying about himself, what he wants us to believe, and how he wants us to live.
In Nehemiah 9:13-14 NLT the Jews were worshipping and praising God because he “came down on Mount Sinai and spoke . . . from heaven.” This illustrates a truth that is found elsewhere in scripture: God wants us to think of him as speaking to us through his holy word, the Bible. For example, as King David, the writer of psalms lay dying, he said, “The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me; his words are on my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2 NLT). The Lord told Jeremiah the prophet, “See, I have put my words in your mouth!” (Jeremiah 1:9 NLT).
The apostle Paul said something similar to this in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 NLT. “When we preached his message to you, you didn’t think of the words we spoke as being just our own. You accepted what we said as the very word of God — which, of course, it was. And this word continues to work in you who believe.” This is a good reason for us to read the Bible. It is God communicating with us.
God feeds us though his word.
Just as our physical bodies need nourishment to survive and to thrive, our spiritual lives need the spiritual food of God’s word. Reading the Bible on a consistent basis, in an attitude of reverence, contributes to a believer’s spiritual growth and health.
The writer of Hebrews used this imagery to illustrate the importance of growing to maturity in the spiritual life. “You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others. Instead you need someone to teach you again the basic things a beginner must learn about the scriptures. You are like babies who drink only milk and cannot eat solid food. . . Solid food is for those who are mature” (Hebrews 5:12-14 NLT).
I am 75 years of age. But I do not want to stop growing in my Christian life. I want to receive the daily nourishment of God’s word for wisdom, discernment, and spiritual endurance. This will equip me to live the way God wants me to live throughout the coming year.
I want to listen to God every day as he speaks though his word. I want to communicate back to him in prayer. Relationships grow though good communication. I want to know God better throughout the coming year.
That is why I want to read the Bible through again in the coming year.
Pastor Randy Faulkner