It seems that, along with loosing some weight, being a better husband, a better father, I always make a New Year’s resolution (or change, or commitment) to read through the Bible during the calendar year.
For those who have taken this on, and have succeeded, I salute you. I usually start to trickle off somewhere during Leviticus (if I make it past Esau’s lineage).
Why do I quit?
There are some parts of the Bible that, honestly, don’t seem to make a difference in my day to day life. Just saying.
But, that’s not the real reason I quit. The real reason is that I have set myself up to fail in this task. I have taken this on as a resolution, a task to be accomplished somewhere between the time I wake up and go back to bed.
What is the Right Reason?
I have a lot of ideas about God, who He is, what He likes, what He dislikes. The problem is, most of my ideas are formed around what others have said about Him.
Something that I am learning is how much God loves me. Not in the Grand Daddy kind of way, but in the Daddy kind of way. He loves me enough that he disciplines me, He places new challenges in front of me. Sometimes, He leaves me alone, so I can learn the experience of making mistakes on my own.
The Bible tells me what God has said about Himself.
I want to discover more about Him. I want to allow Him to shape who I am, by surrendering my pre-conceived notions of what our relationship should look like.
Tools for the Journey
I have discovered Brian Hardin’s Daily Audio Bible. It is a 30 minute podcast that started five years ago. The format is idyllic: soothing music and nature sounds combined with Brian’s mellow voice create an image of sitting outside with a cup of coffee and a good friend reading the Bible. Every week, Brian changes versions of the Bible, and it is an excellent way for you to determine which one you like best.
Currently, Brian is reading out of Genesis, Matthew, Psalms and Proverbs. It takes about 20 minutes, and the remainder is spent with brief comments on a passage, promotion of the web site, and callers with prayer requests.
I listen to this in the evening, prior to going to bed. In the morning, I am reading out of Genesis (I just made it past the lineage of the Edomites). After having heard the passages read the night before, the text becomes much more real and alive.
Additionally, I have joined a smaller group of men who have committed to get together on a weekly basis for a para-biblical study (Elderidge’s Fathered by God). We are committed to praying for one another and building each other up in the Lord.
Instead of just reading the Bible alone, and quitting, I am moving along side others to walk with me. Maybe the real, real reason I have quit in the past because I have tried to do this alone.
I hope that with companions along the journey, I can spend this year in the Bible (even if I don’t get all the way through it!).