Saturday, March 30, 2013

Reading the Bible in a Year: The Good and the Bad

I recently finished a read-the-bible-in-a-year plan*. I'm really glad I did it! Here's a summary of the good and the bad:

The Good:

I had to read maybe 3 or 4 chapters every day, which feels much different than 1 chapter per day, which is what I'm used to. Reading several chapters together helped me see how the story flowed together, without as much interference from the arbitrary chapter breaks. As I mentioned in this post, I've been reading the bible one chapter at a time for so long that the chapter breaks are stuck in my mind and really affect the way I think of the narratives told there. And they totally shouldn't, because it's not like they have some huge profound meaning. You have to put a chapter break somewhere.

Reading several chapters at once is especially nice for the shorter books, like Ruth (4 chapters) which I read all in one day.

Also I really like the bible, and most days I don't want to just read one chapter and stop.

And I think because I had to get through more material each day, I didn't get stuck on the odd things as much. Like, the bible is full of completely weird and baffling stuff, and if I hit one of those crazy weird passages, it's very easy to just stare at it, baffled. But I couldn't do that as much this past year, because I had to read through 3 or 4 chapters each day. And after reading 3 or 4 chapters, it's easier to find the "big picture" sort of things, which are generally less bizarre.

(So yes, I like this reading plan because it helps me low-pass-filter the bible.)

And I got through the whole bible in approximately a year! Isn't that great?

The Bad:

Towards the end of this year-long plan, the sheer amount of material to get through each day was becoming kind of exhausting. Sometimes I felt like I was reading through it so fast without stopping to think and try to make sense of the difficult/interesting parts. If I find something odd that I want to analyze on the first page, well, by the time I get done "analyzing" I'll be too tired to read the next 5 pages I'm supposed to read. So no stopping. Just read fast and get through it, and by the time I've gotten through it I don't feel like going back over it and studying further.

So in summary, yeah if you're a Christian, I totally recommend reading the bible in a year, at least once in your life. Find yourself a bible-reading plan that divides it so you're reading the same amount each day, otherwise you end up reading a psalm that's half a page long, and then the next day reading 6 chapters of Isaiah. (I did one of those plans many years ago. Never again.)

It's not for everyone though- maybe instead, you want to read slower and take time to understand and think about things, which is what I'm doing now.

Question for my readers: Have you ever done a read-the-bible-in-a-year plan? How did it go?


* Okay, if you're a nerd like me and you want to know the details of my read-the-bible-in-a-year plan: I divided it up into 5 roughly equal sections (Genesis-Deuteronomy, Joshua-Esther, Job-Song of Songs, Isaiah-Malachi, Matthew-Revelation) and each day read from one section, the next day read from the next section, etc. I calculated that each day I would need to read 5 to 6 pages to get through the whole bible in a year (obviously this calculation is specific to my bible and how many pages it has), so every day I just counted off the pages and picked a good stopping point. (So no guarantee that this plan takes EXACTLY 365 days, but, close enough.)

And also, the first and third sections were only 2/3 the length of the others, so those got skipped every third cycle.

I like this plan because it was easy to remember and allowed for some variety.

1 comment:

  1. I just like the fact that you used the phrase "low pass filter" in context of Bible reading. ^_^ Hehe. *nerd* Anyway, no- I've never tried the read-the-Bible-in-a-year thing. I usually start out with good intentions but just lose it around Numbers. >.> Can I skip over the names bit?