A new year often brings new goals and dreams. We write down our goals hoping to finally reach our dream body, master a skill we have always desired, or press forward to read a certain number of books. We tell others what we are striving towards in the hope that saying it out loud or publicly will help us achieve the goal better. Whatever the goal might be, we decide that January 1st will begin a new outlook on life. Often in the Christian circle, one resolution we like to make is more Bible reading or reading the Bible in a year.
In high school and college, I remember committing to reading the Bible in a year, usually with a group of friends, but would stop once I hit Leviticus or Deuteronomy. The names and strict laws discouraged me from finishing. The defeat was frustrating simply because I wanted to do it but felt impossible to fulfill. I saw the task of reading the Bible in a year as a duty rather than a privilege. Last year, my husband approached me asking if I would do a Bible reading plan with him. I quickly said yes because this would provide accountability, so I knew it would be easier to stay on top of the reading. As the year is ending, I wanted to share some thoughts about what I have learned while reading the Bible in a year and what benefits I see from doing it.
Story of Redemption
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is one story. One story about Jesus who redeems and saves His people for His glory. When reading the Bible entirely, we see the why we need Him, the promise of His coming, the way He comes, how we should live since He did come, and the future promises of His second return. The redemptive storyline shines bright in each book of the Bible.
The Old Testament shows us God’s covenantal promises to His people, the kings and leaders of Israel and the way God continually protected His people from enemies, the laws that were given and the sacrificial system put in effect, and the reason why we needed Jesus. We see sin starting in Genesis and the consequences of sin in people’s lives in each Bible. Time after time, we see people choose evil over God, and in the same, we see God continually extending mercy and grace to His people. Each book in the Old Testament is essential and part of this redemptive story.
The New Testament shows us Jesus finally entering earth as a baby. We see his life, ministry, death, and resurrection in the Gospels. We see the formation of the church and the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts. We learn how we as believers should live as individuals and as a corporate body. The Bible points us to the hope found in Christ no matter the situation that a believer is facing. We also are reminded that He will return for His people. Reading through the Bible in a year allows us to see this redemptive story. We can see the connections made and how everything points us to Jesus.
Read the Genealogies
If I am honest, I have always been intimidated by a list of names in the Bible. Most names can be complicated to pronounce, and you are left confused when you finish reading the list. I have learned over the years how encouraging and important these lists of names are. These lists of family lines are not just to fill a page but to show us the fulfillment of God’s covenantal promises. It shows us that God used sinful people, like ourselves, for His glory.
We also see consistency throughout the Bible in the genealogies. Often the lists are repeated as reminders throughout other books in the Bible. We see connections in how God used certain people to fulfill His promises. For example, in the Old Testament, God promised David that through his seed would come the redeemer. After David’s death, we see God keeping this covenantal promise despite the wickedness present in his family line. He preserved David’s line for His glory; despite sinful beings. We see the fulfillment of this promise in Mathew 1 as we read the genealogy of Jesus. By the time we read Matthew 1, we should be overflowing with joy and a thankful heart, seeing that God kept His promise and the redeemer has arrived!
Genealogies in the Bible should be approached with a joyful heart to read them; rather than through a grumbled heart. We have the privilege to read these lists and can be encouraged by the beauty of God’s promises fulfilled through them. Are you a sinner? Do you doubt that God can use you for His glory? Lineages serve to remind us that God can and will use sinful people to accomplish His plan for the praise of His glory.
Open God’s Word with a Thankful Heart
Have you ever thought about the gift that the Word of God is? We have God’s inspired, authoritative words in our hands. Every time we open scripture, we should approach it with that mindset. The book of Revelation says, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are the ones who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3). Did you catch that? John says, “Blessed.” Blessed is the one who reads, listens, and learns from the Word of God. When we approach scripture with a thankful heart, it provides us joy as we read, even under challenging books and passages.
When our perspective changes from “I have to” to “I get to,” reading the more challenging books becomes more manageable. Changing our view does not mean that you will understand everything you read the first time or become a scholar in the law or on the end times. What it means is we will be more eager to read and understand these books or challenging chapters simply because we know the gift the Word of God is. We are blessed to have the Holy Spirit inside us, and we are blessed to open and read the Word of God each day. Friends, I pray we will never take this for granted.
I remember being actively involved in a weekly accountability group called ABS in high school. We would meet, go through questions, and essentially hold each other accountable for reading the Bible. ABS was the first place I learned the power and importance of accountability. When you know an individual or a group will ask you questions and check on you for a specific task, it helps you stay on top. When we understand that the Christian life is not solitary, we rejoice in accountability.
When it comes to reading the Bible or not slacking in Bible reading, having an accountability partner to do it with can be beneficial. Both of you can depend on each other and check in on the reading. Not only that, but you can talk about what you are learning in the Bible in your reading. I cannot tell you how many times Josh and I have spoken about our Bible reading plan and have learned more from those conversations. Talking through what you are reading with others also helps make the scripture applicable in our everyday life. To have accountability among other believers is a gift. We have the privilege to pour into each other’s lives and make sure we are both doing all things for God’s glory.
This past year I became encouraged to read the beautiful redemption story found in the Bible. The reminder that God uses sinners for His glory inspired me as I worked through different family lineages in the Bible. I worked through the law and the sacrificial system with a thankful heart that Jesus came to fulfill the law and end the sacrificial system once and for all. Israelites battles displayed God’s providential hand and fulfillment of His promises. I read through the gospels encouraged that the Old Testament prophecies came true because of Jesus. The perseverance of the disciples amid suffering and the gift of the local church inspired me. Lastly, I was comforted by the promise Jesus would return for His people, and restoration will come. What a gift the Word of God is, friends. I pray this year that you will seek to open up the Word and dive in. Seek a friend and see what all the Lord can teach you through His Word in a year.
Soli Deo Gloria,
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