I’ve tried to read the entire Bible in a year for umm, well, maybe five years or so.
I download the plan and begin again each January while vowing to myself that “this will be the year” and “this time I won’t quit” and also, “even if I miss a few days I’ll just catch up but not in a legalistic way.”
But then February arrives, or maybe even March, and with it comes Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And that’s just hard, people.
I fully believe that genealogies are important, sometimes even incredibly interesting, but two months of name after name after name got a bit, well, repetitive. And so I would miss a day here or there and April would roll around and I’d get back on board, pick up where I left off, and a few months down the road it would dwindle until I eventually stopped.
Or there was that time I began to unintentionally treat the Bible like a box to check off, a task for the day. Until thankfully one day God so kindly said, “I want to meet you in these pages but I need you to want to meet me, too. This is not a thing you have to do, but it should be a thing you want to do.” So I stopped again and picked up the Bible when my heart desired it. Which actually meant I suddenly was reading more, believe it or not. A shift in perspective changed the whole thing.
In 2015 I decided I would do it. I really, really would. The whole Bible in one whole year. 365 days.
I missed days and I caught back up. I missed a few days and caught back up again. I discovered an incredibly simple trick that helped me begin each day in the Word and not scrolling through Twitter. Instead of reading every chapter, I began to listen to specific books of the Bible late at night when I couldn’t sleep.
I was all in.
But I didn’t read the entire Bible in 365 days.
I read it in 366.
And honestly, it would be easier to tell you all of this if I read the Bible in 380 days or even 400. Missing the goal by a larger number somehow seems so much easier to put out there, almost like “hey I didn’t make it but I sure kept going and you should too!”
But it was one day. I missed my goal by one day and somehow that’s harder to admit. But the more I’ve sat with that truth, the more I’ve started to see that the day wasn’t ever the point.
For me, this time, it wasn’t about checking a box. It was about consistently meeting with God, showing up and looking, listening. And yes, I would have loved to look back at 2015 and all the things that went right, all the things that went wrong, all the changes and the twists and turns, and be able to say that through all of it it was still the year I read the Bible from cover to cover.
I can’t say that – by one measly day. But I can say that it was the year I opened a book full of His words and learned new things. It was a year of changes and twists and turns, yes, but it was also a year where He was constant. 2015 was the year I finally treated the goal as a thing I wanted to do so much that when I couldn’t sleep, I reached for His truth. And so maybe I missed it by one day, and maybe you’re going to seemingly fall just short of the mark, but we still made it. Maybe a bit late by our own standards, but we made it. We learned valuable lessons along the way and in the process, we’ve changed for the better.
I read the entire Bible in 366 days instead of 365, but I still read the entire Bible and until January 1, 2016, I couldn’t truthfully say that.
And so there’s that. And there’s your thing, whatever it is that popped into your head while reading this. Maybe it’s writing a book or losing weight or saving money. Maybe you won’t meet your goal “on time” but you’ll be able to say you kept showing up. That’s worth a lot.
You’ve heard it before maybe there’s more truth to it than we know: It’s about the journey, not the destination.
(If you know a friend or family member who has tried to read the Bible in a year and didn’t quite “make it,” would you consider sharing this post with them?)
Yay! I have yet to read the entire Bible through in a year. I almost made it one year. Now, I don’t make that my aim. I am trying just to read every day and journal, but alas, I’m already behind.
Congratulations on reading through the whole Bible! I read through the New Testament last year and that was a challenge enough. It took time because I really read, studied and absorbed the words, lessons and messages. (I love how you say you met God and he met you in those pages!) Yes, it was an enriching experience and I am glad I did it. Right now I am rereading the Gospels and am deeply in the book of John. I’m not sure I’m prepared to tackle the Old Testament just yet though!