I read the Bible in 90 days – the whole thing, from start to finish. I actually did it some time ago (June to August last year) but didn’t write about it for a number of reasons, not least because I thought it sounded like bragging.
But I have reaped the benefits of doing it, and I still am now, almost eight months after finishing it. So I thought it was time to write about it, and to try to encourage you to do it too!
The ‘why’ is much more interesting, but I expect the first thing that came into your mind when you read the title of this blog was that you wouldn’t possibly have time to do it. But you know what? You do! If I can do it, anyone can! When I started, I had a two-year-old and a three-month-old. If anyone thinks that mums have plenty of free time, I challenge you to find one and shadow her for the day! (With her permission! Also – bring paracetamol.)
The practicalities: still on time, I reckon it took about 40 minutes to an hour a day. Now, that is obviously not sitting down and poring over every detail. It is a reading of the words and not much more! Also, I imagine it’s obvious that I didn’t have 40 minutes to an hour each day to sit down and read! No, but I did have plenty of ten minuteses! One of the unexpected benefits of doing this was the joy I found in always making sure I had a Bible to hand so I could grab one and crack on with a bit of reading in all those small chunks of time. When boiling the kettle or making the dinner, while Daddy was bathing the kids, whilst in the car (as a passenger!), I would get ten minutes here and there to read two or three chapters at a time. And it only takes between four and six of those ten minuteses to get the day’s reading done!
Just to emphasise the time point once more to really drive it home (as I’m sure that’ll be your biggest hurdle!), do you know the one week I found it hardest to keep on top of the reading? The week we were on holiday!
Moving onto the ‘why’? Let me just say it is so worth it! Benefit number one was that this exercise made me more passionate and excited about God’s word than ever before! I began to really crave it – and it’s something I still feel now. No, I don’t remember all the details. Yes, I got a bit lost with all the names and dates and places. But those things are not the point of this kind of reading plan. What it gives you is the broad sweep of God’s story. I really began to see how the whole story fits together, spotting connections I’d never noticed before.
It’s easy to get bogged down in reading some parts of the Bible, for instance lists of names, the intricate laws regarding sacrifices and what to do if your house gets mould in it. But reading big chunks of it at one time means that you just power through these, get the message, and move on. And reading all of the laws one after another after another after another really does drive home how big a problem our sin is!
It is wonderful to study the Bible slowly, in detail, chewing over individual verses. But I think we often forget how wonderful it also is to simply enjoy the story of the Bible. That is what you really get when you read it through this quickly! And it’s so easy to do – you just pick it up and read it, no special skill required! It’s as ready as reading through this blog post (easier in fact, as it’s much better written!)
As you go, I expect you’ll find that you’ve suddenly got questions of the text that you never considered before. That’s great! Write them down, and come back to them later. When you’ve finished the 90 day ‘challenge’ you can go back and study the bits that didn’t make sense to you, in more detail. You can then get out the commentaries and fine tooth comb (or ask your community group leader!). And when you do, I bet you’ll find yourself even more excited about the Bible than before!
Have I convinced you yet?
You will love it, I promise. But I will say: remember grace. If you fall behind, don’t beat yourself up! You’re saved by grace, your identity is in Christ, it doesn’t matter to God if you don’t keep up. All people would be picked absolutely last for God’s team if it weren’t for Jesus. Remember this, too, when you do keep up with it, when you do finish. We are sinful, we will do all things with mixed motives at best, so at the same time as being excited about the Bible, we are bound to feel proud and self-righteous. So re-read this paragraph with that in mind too!
Ready to start? You can buy books to guide you through, you can even buy actual Bibles with the text laid out in the format of a 90 day plan. You can use an online guide like this one here, which you could print out and tick off as you go through. Or you can do it on the YouVersion Bible app on your smartphone. I did it that way, and you can add a little tick when you finish each chapter, which is oh so satisfying – but maybe that’s just me!
Written by Katie Holloway