I recently finished the 4-month Bible Read Through…in five months…and that’s ok. In fact, it’s more than ok. It’s wonderful because that means I have spent the last five months filling my heart with God’s Truth and learning several valuable lessons along the way.
[callout]A Note from Keith: I am currently on an unplugged vacation, and I’m thrilled to share this guest post from Asheritah Ciuciu. She participated in the Bible Read Thru this spring and was very active in the Facebook group and community calls. More on how you can connect with Asheritah at the bottom of this post. Enjoy![/callout]
[featured-image single_newwindow=”true” alt=”My whole view of the Bible was changed (for the better) in four months. Here’s what I learned.”]Photo Courtesy of Fotolia.com – © WavebreakMediaMicro[/featured-image]
When I first heard about Keith’s challenge to read the Bible in four months, I was intrigued. I had spent most of my devotional time in the last few years doing close readings of New Testament books, and I wanted to zoom out and get a big picture view of the Bible.
But I didn’t think I could do it.
As a new mom to a beautiful baby girl, I could hardly find two minutes to brush my teeth, let alone the 45 minutes a day required to complete the 4-Month Bible Read Through.
I didn’t know how it would work, but I really wanted to join the challenge, so took the plunge. And I’m sure glad I did because I learned several important lessons that have changed the way I read the Bible.
Your routine won’t look like everyone else’s.
A lot of participants shared they read first thing in the morning or right before going to bed. Reading at the same time and place is a great idea but it just isn’t practical for me at this stage of my life. Being a new mom means early mornings, hectic days, and long nights. I don’t have a predictable routine, but I searched for a trigger and found it: my baby’s feedings. My baby eats every three hours for 30-45 minutes, so she got an earful of genealogies, psalms, prophesies, and miracles. I don’t read every time I nurse, but when I do it’s wonderful.
Reading means more than just words on a page.
While I did sometimes read from a physical copy of the Bible, I often used a Bible app on my smartphone, listened to an audio version (especially through the Old Testament lists), and tried my hand at sketch-noting the passage. Engaging in new ways of reading helped keep me interested through some of the otherwise tedious passages, and it also allowed me to continue reading while washing dishes, driving places, and feeding in lowlight situations.
Sharing helps give shape to ideas.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I read an interesting passage and make a mental note to meditate on it later but never do. I’ve found it helpful to tweet out a quick idea, share the verse and a thought on Facebook, or mention it to my husband over dinner in order to keep the conversation going and to further engage God’s truth.
The best moments come unexpectedly.
One afternoon I read Isaiah 53 (The Suffering Servant passage) out loud and gazed down at my sweet daughter’s face. She didn’t know anything of pain or evil in this world, and I was overwhelmed with a desire that she will one day understand and embrace Jesus’ sacrificial love for her. I want my daughter to grow up with a love for the Word of God, and it’s never too soon to start modeling that for her.
Distractions are reminders that this is a daily choice.
There were days when I didn’t read at all because “I didn’t have time.” But in retrospect, I had found time to check my Facebook feed, watch that YouTube clip, or catch up on the news. In fact, oftentimes when I did those things I felt a tinge in my conscience, and I knew that I could be using my time better elsewhere. Throughout the BRT2014 challenge, distractions became daily reminders to renew my commitment to finishing the reading plan. And it worked!
Community will keep you going when you feel alone.
Many of the BRT2014 community joined a private Facebook group to stay accountable and share ideas. I can’t tell you what a difference it made to know that others were trudging through the tedious (but beautiful) descriptions of the tabernacle and were longing for the anticipated apparition of Jesus once we reached the gospels. I would have loved to have had a real-life group to study with too, but for me, that FB group was all I had. And by the end of the challenge, their support meant the world to me.
Any time in the Word is better than no time.
I grew up believing that you either go big or go home. I either completely abstain from sugar or eat three donuts in one sitting. I either run a 5k or veg on the couch. I either read the Bible for 45 minutes or I don’t read at all. This trait has often helped me succeed, especially in school and at work. But when it comes to reading the Bible, having an all-or-nothing mentality can be detrimental. I’ve learned to sit down and read even if it’s not in the ideal conditions or for my target length of time, because some time in God’s Word is better than no time at all.
This is not a race.
You’re not competing with anyone here. No one’s keeping score. Savor your time in the Word and celebrate accomplishments. Even five minutes spent soaking up God’s truths can help keep your mind focused on Him throughout the day… and make you want to come back for more.
Beyond the text is a Person.
The biggest challenge in doing a Bible Read Thru is the danger of getting bogged down in details that seem irrelevant to daily life. While reading through the tough passages of the Bible, I always try to see the connection to Jesus. His story is interwoven throughout the Old and New Testaments, and reading the Bible through that lens makes it more like a treasure hunt than a boring task. It also helps me fall more in love with my Savior.
If you’ve want to dig into the Word of God but have been holding back, I encourage you to identify those hurdles and seek ways to overcome them.
Take it from me: You’ll be glad you did.
[reminder]If you’ve done a BRT, what is one lesson you learned. If you haven’t…are you going to sign up for BRT2015?! [/reminder]
[callout]Asheritah is married to her high school sweetheart, Flaviu, and together with their daughter, Carissa, they make their home in Ohio. She blogs at OneThingAlone.com about the One Thing that makes laundry piles and midnight cries worth every second: walking with Jesus. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube.[/callout]