Years ago, as a young dad and journalism professor, I experienced a spiritual system shock.
My friend Gary told me about something he did every January—he read through the Bible in a month. I was astounded by this: the entire Bible in a month? But as I assessed my 1,200-page Bible, I realized it would mean reading only 40 pages a day. True, this method wouldn’t allow for deep, careful study of God’s Word, but it would fly me over the windswept peaks of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, tree of life to tree of life. The key, said Gary, was to read without stopping. I resolved to try it.
Day after day, through the January rain, I immersed myself in Scripture. I read before dawn, between classes I taught, over lunch at Subway, in the car-rider line at school, and after our daughters had gone to bed. Chapter after chapter, I couldn’t believe how swiftly I was moving. In just five days I was through the books of Moses (Leviticus took only half a day!) and on to Joshua and Judges, Ruth and Samuel. Verse by verse, the story of redemption unfolded before me.
With my mind stuffed with Scripture, I didn’t have time for anything else—media, sports news, life’s worries and wonderings. As I joined kings David and Solomon in Jerusalem, and Daniel and Esther in exile, I felt all the dynamics of the Hebrews’ relationship with God. By the time I reached the old prophet Haggai, the young prophet Zechariah, and the seemingly final prophet, Malachi, whose book closed painfully with the word “curse,” I felt a deep longing for a Messiah who would save us all. The sunlit morning I reached the Gospel of Matthew was one of the best moments of my life.
As I read through my Bible, I not only put a star by the verses but whole books that made a particular impact on me: Deuteronomy, Ezra, and Isaiah in the Old Testament; and John, Hebrews, and James in the New Testament. The book that spoke most powerfully to me was Ephesians and its invitation to “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Eph. 4:1).
That same life-changing year I traveled to Israel, baptizing our daughters in the Jordan and returning home to a surprising invitation to pastoral ministry. Afraid of failure, I hesitated to accept until I got an out-of-the-blue phone call from a friend I hadn’t seen in 17 years telling me that God told her to tell me “to walk in the fullness of God’s blessings.”
This was my experience reading through the Bible in a month. What could yours be?
How about we do it together this January? And share experiences on a new Facebook page I’ve set up called “Meet at the Text” (facebook.com/meetatthetext). Don’t worry if you’re starting late. We’ll cheer each other on as we drink from the Living Water together.
Let’s start the year right. Let’s meet at the text.
Andy Nash ([email protected]) is an Adventist author and speaker who leads study tours to the Holy Land.