Every January, my pastor throws a pizza party for everyone in the church who reads the entire Bible in the span of the last year. I’ve been to some of them, I’ve missed some of them, and this year I’ll probably be at it. I really like the idea of encouraging the members of our church to read through the Bible once a year, but some people seem to miss the point.
Several years ago, in Bible college, I hadn’t finished the Bible before the end of December. I was probably somewhere near the middle of the Bible reading plan, and wasn’t going to finish it anytime soon. Sometime in January, one of my classmates asked why I hadn’t restarted the Bible reading plan.
“Why would I?” was my immediate response (maybe not out loud, but in my head at least). I totally understand where my friend was coming from, but they were missing something important.
They were thinking that if I was going to finish the Bible by the end of that year, I needed to start the Bible reading plan over. Yes, if I were going to finish a one year Bible reading plan by the end of December, I needed to start it in the beginning of January. Why wouldn’t I?
Because I hadn’t finished the Bible yet.
Why would I want to start all over again when I hadn’t finished yet?
Here’s another thing I see a lot. People start reading the Bible in January. They have a plan to read through the Bible by the end of December and go to the pizza party the next January. A noble cause. They miss a day or two here and there. Maybe they read the Bible faithfully Monday though Friday, but they often miss the weekend.
Around the end of November or the beginning of December they take stock and realize that they are three or four months behind and won’t be finishing the Bible by the 31st. What do they do? They pick up the pace so that they can finish. Maybe they’ll read four or five days each morning instead of just one. I’ve known some people to take a Saturday or two to do nothing but read the Bible so that they can catch up.
The Whole Point Of This Post
Here’s what I’m getting at. Why do you read the Bible? Do you read it to learn the history of the earth and God’s plan for His creation? Do you read it to gain insight on the God of the whole universe, who graciously instructed men to write His words so that we may know Him? Do you read it to find God’s will for your life? Do you read it because the Bible is a miracle of a book penned by 40 men over the span of hundreds of years, compiled by men under the direction of God, painstakingly translated into hundreds of languages and smuggled into places where people are killed just for owning one? Or do you read the Bible so you can go to the pizza party? Do you read it so that you can get a gold star? Do you read it out of obligation?
God, the creator of the universe, has given us tons of great gifts. He gave us life, an earth to live on, companionship, a mission and countless others. But the two most important gifts God has given us are;
- His only begotten son, to die and pay for the sins of the whole earth
- The Bible, His own words and instructions, so that we might learn about the awesome God who created the whole universe
Don’t take that lightly.
I’m not against my pastor’s pizza party. I love it. Not just for the pizza, but because it encourages his congregates to learn to love the Word of God. I’m not against reading the Bible in one year either. The Bible is a long book. There are boring parts. It’s easy to loose pace and give up reading it. By getting a plan and having a goal of reading the Bible in one year, you are much more likely to actually ever read it from cover to cover.
But when finishing the Bible by a certain date becomes the only goal, you’ve missed the point. I’d rather you take a year and a half (or two years or three years) to read Bible and actually comprehend what you’ve read than to finish in one year and miss entire sections by binge reading it or starting over before you finish.
God’s Word is holy. At the very least, you could take reading it seriously.
Reading the Bible is more important than many Christians realize. If you don’t know why reading the Bible is important, then go read this article. If you aren’t on a regular Bible reading plan, YouVersion has tons of great plans and makes it incredibly easy to read or listen to the Bible and keep track of your progress on your computer, phone and tablet.