“I don’t know how many read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year commitments are wrecked on the shores of Leviticus,” my pastor commented last spring. My friend Sharon is a case in point.
“I really wanted to read through the Bible this year,” she lamented, “but I can’t seem to make it out of Leviticus.” Their statements validate my own experience.
Every January 1 I’d eagerly commit to read through the Bible before the year’s end. I’d write the date in the front of my Bible:
January 1, 2005, started reading.
I’d begin strong, marveling at the creation story in Genesis 1-3. The account of the flood followed next, then Abraham’s call, then Jacob and his twelve sons, then Joseph’s kidnapping and resultant slavery.
Exodus was equally dynamic with Moses and his burning bush, the Egyptian plagues, and God’s miraculous deliverance of the children of Israel from Pharaoh’s oppression. Reading God’s Word was fascinating and practically effortless.
And then came Leviticus.
And the rules for sacrificial offerings, dietary restrictions, and health issues:
"All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be detestable to you (you’ve got that right). There are, however, some winged creatures that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground (I don’t think so!). Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other winged creatures that have four legs you are to detest (no problem there)” (Lev. 11:20-22).
"If a man or woman has a sore on the head or on the chin, the priest is to examine the sore, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it is yellow and thin (EWWW!), the priest shall pronounce that person unclean; it is an itch, an infectious disease of the head or chin” (Lev. 13:29).
Despite my deep desire, firm commitment, and the fact that I’d written it in the flyleaf of my Bible, my enthusiasm to read my Bible would begin to wane. I’d miss one day (Lord, I’m a little queasy already this morning. I don’t think I can handle reading about red spots with black hairs in them today.)
One day would become two, and before long, I wasn’t reading through my Bible anymore.
After a few years, I had quite a list going in the front of my Bible:
January 1, 1998, started reading.
January 1, 1999, started reading.
January 1, 2000, started reading.
It wasn’t until 2005 that I wrote this in the flyleaf of my Bible:
January 1, 2005, started reading.
March 31, 2006 finished reading.
YES! I did it! I read through the whole Bible!
(It’s important to note that I did NOT read through the Bible in a year. I got behind, missed quite a few days, and didn’t finish until the end of March. I was tempted to quit when I got behind, but then I realized, so what if it takes me 15 months instead of 12? I WILL HAVE READ THE WHOLE BIBLE.
Fifteen months after I began, and for the first time in my life, I had read through the whole Bible.
I discovered amazing passages and verses and characters and stories I had never read before. I fell in love with minor prophets whose names I still can’t spell. And I read every word of Leviticus
What made the difference?
I discovered The One Year Bible.
Available in several translations, The One Year Bible takes a portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs for each day of the year. Each daily reading takes about 15 minutes to complete. Because each day’s reading contains portions of the Old and New Testament as well as Psalms and Proverbs, if you hit a particularly challenging or dry portion of the Old Testament, the passage is relatively short and balanced by a more dynamic or interesting selection from the New Testament. This is what helped me (and my friend) read through Leviticus without giving up.
Since that year, I’ve read through the Bible at least six more times. And every time, it gets better. Reading through the Bible means I encounter books and passages I wouldn’t normally choose to read, and in them I find treasure. There’s also often a surprising parallelism between many of the Old and New Testament passages. Since the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old, there’s a beautiful synergy.
I don’t read through the Bible every year. Sometimes the Lord leads me to use a different Bible reading method. But when I do, The One Year Bible is the most effective way to help me reach my goal.
How about you? Have you struggled through some of the more difficult portions of Scripture? How have you worked through them? Do you have a favorite Bible reading plan? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In my next post, I'll share my favorite children's Bible -- who says God's Word has to be dumbed down for kids?
Happy to share this review on Create with Joy's new page, The Book Nook.
*This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. Occasionally I promote products I personally use and believe in. If you prefer to purchase your books used, like I often do, I’ve also included a link for the older version of The One Year Bible on Amazon’s used book site.
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