6 Great Reasons to Read Through the Bible in 2016

design[20]I am about to wrap up reading cover to cover through the Bible again this year. I don’t even know how many times I’ve been able to do this – every year for several years. I’ve heard some criticism of the idea of going all the way through the Bible. Ideas like religious rituals and mindless habits usually are mentioned. While different things work for different people, I have found a few things that make a commitment to read through the entire Bible in a year very beneficial. Maybe they will help you, too.

  1. You have to stay on track. Skip a couple of days of reading and you get really behind. On the days when the spiritual motivation is lacking, the thought of digging a hole is motivation enough for me to read daily. In my opinion, reading the Bible out of obligation is better than not reading the Bible at all.
  1. You visit unusual passages. Most of us have our favorite Scriptures and we like to hang out there. Reading through the entire Bible will push you into books that you rarely think about. And they are important! Greater Biblical knowledge balance will result from a cover-to-cover reading.
  1. Your get a picture of the “whole counsel of God.” This phrase was coined by Paul in Acts 20:27, and we utilize it to identify the entire doctrine of the Bible. If you don’t commit to reading the bizarre dreams of Ezekiel or the genealogies of Matthew, you could miss some important counsel from God. Yes, there is great value in and much to be learned from seemingly abstract or repetitive Bible verses.
  1. You can make notes this year that will be meaningful for you in the future. Dates and current events noted next to a verse might provide great encouragement next year when you are reading in the same place. The ability to measure spiritual growth and progress will be a result of reading through the Bible.
  1. Exercise spiritual discipline. Reading through the bible in a year will take you approximately 15-20minutes a day. You must read 3 or 4 chapters per day to stay on track. Avoiding the “just get it done” approach and treating your Bible reading time as communion with God will create a sense of closeness with Him. Overcoming a short attention span and disciplining yourself to sit down with Jesus for 20 minutes in the middle (or at the beginning or end) of a busy day will change your perspective on life.
  1. You can pass down a legacy. I’m reading my deceased father-in-law’s Bible this year. It feels great to have spent time reading his insights throughout the year – and I’m going to miss that time next year. But I plan to start a new Bible with my daily notes. I hope to hand that Bible down to my grandchildren one day. If they will read through it on a daily basis in a year, they will be able to spend time with me even though I am gone.

I am for whatever gets you into the Word of God. If you prefer a different approach, take it! But if you don’t have a plan, don’t criticize mine. Whatever you do, read the Bible. It is God’s Word and He wants to talk to you!

can a person really change?

An age-old question in life is: can people really change? Can a bad guy become a good guy or can a true jerk become a nice person? While I try to be optimistic about redemption and fresh starts, my experience is that most people are pretty much who they are by the time they are 25 or 30 years old. That being said, I do believe that people can make transformations in their lives. But these transformations, if they are legit, are usually motivated by one thing:

A major crisis.

In order for a person to truly change, something big has to happen. I am reading Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Here is a quote that will let you in on his thesis: “first, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future” (loc 454).








(the “habit loop”)

Duhigg says that if we are going to change a habit or behavior, we must first change the reward. If the payoff is big enough, we will change. So crisis may not be a tragedy. Crisis is simply a point of experience that motivates us to do something different.

If you are a 40 year-old male who is still addicted to porn, you haven’t yet experienced a moment of true crisis. If you are a 50 year-old female who has no real friends, you have not yet reached the crossroads necessary in order to make real change.

I am praying that we can all create our own personal crisis that is required for us to engage in real change.  If we don’t we may be doomed to being who we are. While we may not be all that bad, the idea of no positive change is depressing.

Jeremiah 13:23 asks, “Can a leopard change its spots?” I don’t think so.

But I do think we can change – if we want to badly enough.