The Holy Bible. The Word of God. Scripture. The Good Book. Santa Biblia. Etc.
66 books, 1,189 chapters, 31,173 verses.
That's a lot of words. It can seem pretty daunting. A lot of people, even Christians, are only familiar with the famous parts of the Bible, like 1 Corinthians 13 and the Lord's Prayer. They might know that David was the King of Israel but don't know exactly what he did, other than the Psalms and the whole Bathsheba thing. The sad truth is that less than 10% of Christians have read through the whole Bible even once.
But here's the deal: if we want to know God, there's no getting around the fact that he has revealed himself most fully in the Bible. And it's kind of lame to rely on a pastor (or a blogger) to tell us what it says.
And besides, like The Princess Bride, the Bible has everything: fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... well, maybe not the fencing. The Bible contains story after story after story about ordinary people encountering an extraordinary God. Ultimately, the Bible shows us WHO GOD IS.
So here's my challenge to you: Starting January 1, read through the whole Bible in 2011. Seriously. It will only take around 20 minutes a day, but the rewards will last an eternity.
It's a journey. It will be exhilarating, it will be hard, it will seem to take forever, but it will be worth it. I promise, you will be so glad you did.
Here's the hard part, though: Don't read it just to get it done. If you want to do this, expend a little effort to do it well. I suggest you start by praying something like David did, "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law," (Psalm 119:18) and then let your imagination run wild. Let God show you things you've never seen before. Don't be afraid to write in your Bible. Read with a pen in hand and a journal nearby, because as you find these wondrous things, you're going to want to write them down so you don't forget.
You can use any reading plan you want, although I'd be really excited if you join me in reading through the Bible chronologically, in the order it happened. You can find tons of reading plans here (http://www.ewordtoday.com/year/) and the one I'm going to be doing is here (http://www.ewordtoday.com/year/esv/cjan01.htm). The advantage of reading along with me is that I'll be occasionally blogging about some of what I'm reading, and I'd love if we can journey through together!
One more thing: If you start late or fall behind, don't get discouraged. Pick it back up. I suggest reading no more than two days worth of material at a time, though, or else you'll find yourself reading ten days all at once and not absorbing any of it. I've definitely done that before. Bad idea.
So, who's with me? Are you ready to undertake the journey through the most incredible and supernatural book ever written? If you dare, post a comment below to declare your commitment to the world. Then, for today, here's what I suggest: read Psalm 119. As you read, ask God to prepare your heart for everything he's about to show you.
Then take a deep breath and prepare to be amazed, because your journey has only just begun.