originally published on Reading the Bible in 90 Days
Today began the first day that I will be attempting to read the entire Bible in 90 Days. In my brief life I’ve read bits and pieces here and there; I would assume that I’ve read at least half of it, if not more… I was a Religious Education major after all. I know I’ve read all of the New Testament, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually gone through the whole of the Old Testament. I guess in some ways this is some fabled rite of passage; to read the whole Bible, word for word.
It’s embarrassing, really, that I’ve never done this before. I imagine Jesus’ boyhood friends would have made fun of me for not having the whole thing memorized when I was still a child. Our society, unfortunately, doesn’t really encourage the process of reading through the whole Bible, of truly knowing it all. Instead, when faced with the idea of reading this text that we proclaim as so important to my every day, thought and breath, most people I talk to say something along the lines of “good luck” or “wow”. Why is actually reading the Bible marked with such wonder and amazement?
Why haven’t I done this before? Why has it taken me so long to try and find the motivation… or time… or just plain desire to read it cover to cover? Why haven’t my friends encouraged such an activity… or modeled it for me?
I’m blessed to be in community where several of our church members underwent this same task last summer. Unfortunately, at that time, I was in class and teaching myself the fundamentals of programming. I knew I wouldn’t be able to devote the proper time, attention and thought to such an intensive reading of the Bible.
Now, this time, myself and a few of my friends are doing this together. I hope that we’ll be able to process through these stories together and bounce ideas around. I hope that others will join the conversation. I hope that I’ll be an encouragement to others. I hope that I’ll do this again and again for the rest of my life.
So today I read through the first 16 chapters of Genesis. I find it amazing how long the fathers of humanity lived; how many of their great-great-great grandchildren they were alive and blessed to see. How many generations of this great family tree heard Adam’s version of Eve giving him the apple. How many times was Eve the mid-wife for her own descendants, weeping over the pain of childbirth? How many sons of sons cursed Adam for bringing upon them the curse of a toiled ground? How many of them couldn’t understand why they never got to meet Abel… or Cain?
I want to run the numbers, and figure out how many of them were still alive when the flood came… how many of them mocked Noah for thinking he heard from the Lord?
I read today in the plane, on the way home from New Mexico. I thought I was in the private, I thought I was reading and just enjoying it on my own. But as we taxied to the gate, the elderly lady next to me learned over and gently told me in that whisper-voice of one who has seen so many years, “Keep up the good work. Read it thoughtfully.”
My reading encouraged her; and she encouraged me. Why haven’t I done this before?