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An Encouragement to Participate in the Bible Reading Plan

Written by Dylan Wells

At the beginning of 2023, I sensed God calling me to refocus my priorities and to participate in Waypoint’s plan to read the Bible in a year. My expectation was that it would be a worthwhile struggle. I’m pretty sure I had read the entire Bible in a year at some point in the past fifteen years and I have always respected and valued Scripture, but it has not been something I woke up excited to dive into. It has been an important duty of mine as a Christian but not the lifeblood that fuels my spiritual life.

I praise God that my time reading the bible in 2023 greatly exceeded my expectations. While the Old Testament was still an effort of perseverance, reading it brought revelations and clarity that I had not had before. As I read Leviticus, the go to target for onerous OT reading, I was struck by the detail and the effort Israel had to take with sacrifices. I gained an understanding of the depth of our depravity and our separation from God. When reading the wisdom literature (Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes) I was amazed by a God who displays his nature in such unique yet profound ways. Proverbs provides straight forward direction for living an upright life, Job explores the complexity of divine justice, and Ecclesiastes teaches the lesson that our lives are temporary and fleeting. Reading the New Testament was a much easier task due to its easier application to my life. Reading the words and actions of Jesus in the Gospels gives a constant reminder of how we are called to live as Christians. The letters of the apostles contain so much rich instruction for the Church. 

Instead of trying to find 15 minutes a day to squeeze reading the bible in, this year I allocated time several days a week early in the morning for reading. This worked well for several reasons. First, I am a morning person and mornings tend to be my most productive hours. Second, with three young children, waking up early was also the easiest time to designate because it did not impact any time with kids or family responsibilities. Going to bed early mainly impacted unproductive time allocated to TV.  Finally, I benefitted from the amount of uninterrupted time I had in scripture and prayer. This allowed me to dive deeper when I needed to read the commentary in my study bible or read the chapter again in a different translation to provide clarity. This also allowed some additional time for the constant battle of my mind wondering or getting distracted by my phone. Another thing my wife and I discussed for 2024 is to support each other in finding dedicated time with God. Allowing each other a few hours after work or on a Saturday morning, once or twice a month, to find a quiet place to catch up on the yearly reading plan, dedicate time to other reading, or use for time in prayer or worship. I share all of this to encourage you to prioritize and to plan strategically in 2024. Find the time of the day and the structure that works best for you and your family. 

This year I followed the Bible Project reading plan which follows a semi-chronological order and provides summary videos on all the books. I found these videos extremely helpful to keep me focused on the main themes and overall story of the Bible. I also referred to the notes in a study Bible or used multiple translations to help in my understanding. 

There were several reasons for reading the Bible in a year that I found critical in my Spiritual growth and formation. 

For Assurance of My Faith

Over the past couple years, I have felt some doubt creep in. What if I am wrong about my Christian faith? How can I be certain? One of the things that really challenged me was listening to popular youtuber’s Rhett and Link’s journey into unbelief. Their journey as Christians is very similar to mine. We all attended NC State and participated in the same campus ministry. They even served on staff after they graduated but then they walked away from their faith due to doubts stemming from concerns with science and culture. While still confident in my faith, I wanted to understand the areas they struggled with better to ensure I had answers to the doubts they raised. 

Reading the bible in its entirety in 2023 my faith was strengthened by reading how God created the world and the nation of Israel. How he guided, protected, and prospered his chosen people for his Glory. How he gave Israel instructions for how to receive forgiveness through sacrifices and following the law. How he provided prophetic signs about the ultimate forgiveness he would provide. How all of that was fulfilled in Jesus. How the Church was established through the Holy Spirit’s leading. It was two thousand years between Adam and Abraham, two thousand years between Abraham and Jesus, and now two thousand years of Jesus’ church. Reading the bible opened my eyes to how we, as the Church, are an active part of God’s continuing story. Understanding biblical history was critical for my belief and for persisting in the Christian faith.

As a Discipline for Christian Living

In my reading through the New Testament, I noticed multiple examples that describe the Christian journey in terms of training as an athlete. Modern professional athletes spend millions of dollars a year on their training and nutrition to train their bodies physically for strength and practice the skills required for their sport so they will be at peak performance. How could this translate to the disciplines for Christian living? In a recent article, theologian Christopher Ash presents some of  the “means of grace” for the Christian Life: The Scriptures, The Church, Prayer, and The Sacraments. If we are to live as athletes and to “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24), then I would argue that every follower of Christ should be committed to consistently meditating on and regularly hearing from God’s Word. I have found that reading the entire Bible through, at least every few years, was vital to help me be reminded of God’s full redemptive story and grow in grace and wisdom. 

To Fuel Us Daily as Christians

The Bible exhorts us to “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) Over this past year as I have dedicated more time to scripture reading and prayer, I have noticed prayers being answered in tangible ways. Two examples recently include prayers about building intentional relationships and getting medical answers for our foster son. I have also experienced less of a struggle with sin in my life as I have focused more time with God and less with other worldly distractions. We are in a daily spiritual war with the devil, and we must put on the full armor of God to prepare and fuel us for this fight. (Ephesians 6) 

In 2024, I am committing to reading the bible in a year, as well as the New Testament twice, once in the spring and then again at the end of the year as part of the planned reading. I hope you will commit to join me in 2024, with one or more of the plans that Waypoint is presenting.

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