This morning I finished reading the Bible all the way through from Genesis through Revelation!
I can't even begin to describe how meaningful this journey has been. I've been so taken with my reading of the Scripture that for several months I stopped reading fiction at night and read the Bible instead. Every time that I got to a new book it felt like I was a child opening up a long awaited Christmas gift. When I would finish a book, I felt the joy of receiving the gift...
I've read the Bible through before; but it's been awhile. After I went to seminary, I would often find myself going deep in the detail, rather than reading quantities of it. There is such a difference between the two approaches.
When we read the Bible in small quantities, we often miss the drama of it.
We miss the agony of the Israelites when they stood pressed against the water's edge; wondering how God was going to rescue them from their precarious situation.
We miss the sadness of the elders as they stood celebrating the finishing of the second temple; as they realized how little it resembled the first one and the glory days of their history.
We miss the fear that the Isrealites felt as they received their death mandate in Esther; and how Esther was able to approach the King in the confidence she received in her 3 day fast.
We miss the confusion of the disciples as they saw Jesus being arrested; and the confusion of the women and the disciples when they found the tomb empty.
We miss Paul's despair as he writes to one church after another as he seeks to help them remember who and what they had committed their lives to. We hear his sadness in 2nd Timothy when he realizes how little he had to show for his life of faith.
We miss the epic drama of Revelations, which rivals any movie drama that I have ever seen.
The Bible is full of stories that challenge us, comfort us, revive our hope, and expand our faith.
Over and over, I sensed the Lord speaking to me through the readings in ways that I would have missed if I hadn't been pouring myself into connecting with him through Scripture.
This is what I think. I think that far too few of us have actually gotten enough Scripture in us to realize how it truly is our daily bread and sustains us in ways that we only know through experiencing enough of it to know how it feels. We read our familiar passages or books, and we ignore the parts that confuse or challenge us. In doing that, we miss the greater story and the greatness of God.
I want to challenge everyone reading this blog to consider making 2011 the year that you will read through the entire Bible.
Read enough each day to make it feel like a novel; a story that connects to your life. Push yourself through the parts of the Old Testament that are hard because there is a reward in doing so; it's connection with the One who Created you, Jesus the Word of God!