Reading the Bible changed my life. I first read the Bible all the way through when I was in my early twenties.
The church I attended at the time had promoted a “Life Journal”, which was a very simple notebook with a plan for daily readings of four or five chapters each day.
If you were to stick with it for a whole year, you read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in a year.
I got one and did the readings and finished the year. Then I got a new journal and did it again the following year, and several years following.
This was before Bible college, or pastoral ministry.
This was just me as a young man and new believer trying to understand what the Bible actually said. And I learned a ton! I began to see the connections between the Old Testament and the life and mission of Jesus. I recognized myself in the human stories told all throughout God’s word. I found camaraderie in reading about the ups and downs of Israel, and how they struggled to follow Him. And I found good company again in the failures of the disciples to grasp what Jesus was talking about, and how the Apostle Paul shared his ongoing struggles with sin in the midst of grace and messy attempts at faithfulness.
In the Psalms, I found a wide variety of ways to express myself back to God, even in times of anger and grief.
Reflecting on God’s Word, the writer of Psalm 19 says:
7 The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad;
the command of the Lord is radiant,
making the eyes light up.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
and altogether righteous.
10 They are more desirable than gold—
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey
dripping from a honeycomb.
11 In addition, your servant is warned by them,
and in keeping them there is an abundant reward.
In all of my reading and studying over the years, nothing has done more to transform my life, shape my character, and prepare me for ministry than simply reading God’s word.
And my suspicion is that many reading this article have not yet read the entire Bible. It is a big book and can seem intimidating.
But I can hardly express the absolute treasure and value in reading it. All of it.
My encouragement to you is to find a reading plan (there are plenty of free apps and plans available on the internet these days), and a couple of friends to read it with (for accountability and to discuss your questions).
Read the Bible this year, so that you, too, may find it to be “more desirable than gold” and “sweeter than honey”.
Pastor Brian Lucas is co-lead pastor of Pax Christian Church.