Have you ever thought about reading the entire Bible? Have you ever started, only to quit after a week or two? Have you ever wondered why anyone would even want to?
Every year since 2010, I have spent the several months reading through the entire Bible. (In fact, my new book is entirely about the What, Why, and How of doing a Rapid Bible Read Thru.) The first year, it was a response to a challenge. Each year since, it’s been something I want to do and sincerely look forward to.
Over the years, I have experienced many benefits from pushing “pause” on the deeper study, and simply reading the Bible. Rather than dive into all the benefits of reading the entire Bible, let’s look at four benefits you probably haven’t thought of.
Benefit 1: Reading the entire Bible helps you focus on major themes instead of minor ones.
I thought I would tackle this one right up front. We all have our “pet” themes we tend to focus on. Baptism. Evangelism. Money. End times.
Hear this clearly: These are all important. You should study them. You should know how to talk about them. However…
They are not the only themes in the Bible. And every one of them is more fully understood and appreciated when we deeply grasp the love of God, the devastation of sin, the pursuit of us by God, and the redemption and restoration of a broken humanity and creation.
As I immerse myself each year in God’s Grand Narrative, I am reminded of how much God has given to show His unshakable love and unending pursuit of people (of which I am included) who have rejected and run away from Him time and again.
That realization makes me appreciate my baptism more. It causes me to be more bold (and compassionate) as I share Jesus with people who desperately need Him. It forces me to look at money with intention and caution. And it stirs in me a longing for The Day when Jesus will return and every tear will be wiped away.
Other themes are worthy of our pondering, study, and discussion. Our appreciation and understanding of the minor themes will be significantly increased when we intentionally set aside time to focus on the major ones.
Benefit 2: Reading the entire Bible sets the stage for deeply studying a person or book of the Bible.
This is similar to the first benefit. To fully grasp this one, I’ll use one of my favorite analogies when it comes to the Bible: The Movie Analogy. (By the way, I devoted an entire chapter to this analogy in my book How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible.)
Do you like movies? Do you like twisty-turny movies? Do you like to discuss the twists, characters, surprises, etc. with friends afterward? Do you want to pause the movie after each scene and discuss it? (If you do, I’m a little concerned.)
Play. Pause. Play. Pause. It would drive you crazy!
While I typically use this analogy to explain my reasoning for reading an entire book many times before studying it verse-by-verse, the analogy holds true when discussing the entire Bible as well.
Do you know where Moses, Abraham, David, Sarah, Paul, Mary, Daniel, Solomon, or Peter fit into the timeline and overarching story of the Bible? You will if you read the whole thing!
For most of us, we read the Bible like we are discussing the scenes of a movie we’ve never watched. Take time to watch the movie.
Benefit 3: Reading the entire Bible puts the focus back on your relationship with God.
Unless this is the first post of mine you’ve ever read, you have probably heard me talk about studying the Bible relationally, not just informationally. (If not, head on over to RelationalBibleStudy.com.)
God didn’t just want “a personal relationship with you” before you said Yes to Him. He wants a relationship with you now. He will want one tomorrow. He wants it to grow. To be more life-giving and intimate.
After all, God wants you…not just your obedience.
If you read the entire Bible, you will see this clearly and often. God is constantly pursuing people from Page 1 to 1243. (At least that’s the last page in my Bible.)
He doesn’t just want your head. He longs for your heart.
He doesn’t just want you to believe. He longs for you to know Him.
He doesn’t just want you to live. He longs for you to live life to the full.
He doesn’t just want you to know you are forgiven. He longs for you to live in freedom.
You will see His longings when you read His Word. All of it.
Benefit 4: Reading the entire Bible is fun.
Yup. You heard me. If it was just me saying it, you could write me off as an oddball. (Ok…I can hear the joke forming in your head.)
Year after year, 100-200 people join me for a rapid Bible read thru. (More about the 2017 edition next week.) And year after year, people have a blast reading and discussing God’s Word. They are not just learning, just getting through it, or just understanding the Bible better.
They are loving it! And so will you.
In fact, this morning someone posted this comment in the 2016 Bible Read Thru Facebook group…
“Isn’t God’s Word AMAZING & WONDERFUL??!!!”
I couldn’t agree more. If you want to grasp the major themes, the entire storyline, the relationship with you God longs for – and have fun at the same time – reading the entire Bible is the way to go!
Question: Have you read through the entire Bible? What benefit did you reap? (Feel free to share challenges too.) You can leave a comment by clicking here.