I was sixteen when I realized I had never read the whole Bible. I said I believed what the Bible said, but I didn’t really know what it said! It wasn’t for lack of trying that I hadn’t read it; I had started “ read through the Bible in a year” plans time and time again, but I would always get behind and end up quitting altogether. I usually made it to Leviticus or Numbers before quitting. One time I made it all the way to Joshua!
When I decided it was finally time for me to read through the whole Bible for the first time, I knew those “Bible in a year” plans weren’t going to work. If those plans haven’t worked for you either, I want to share with you the method I used to successfully read through the Bible for the first time.
WRITE DOWN THE BOOKS YOU HAVEN’T READ
Chances are, you’ve read some of the books of the Bible. When I set out to read the whole Bible, I had already read the first five books multiple times. I had read many books from the New Testament, and I loved reading the Psalms. But the books in the middle like Ezekiel? I probably hadn’t read a single verse from them!
If you want to read the entire Bible, don’t start with books you’ve already read because, well, you’ve already read them! Once you read the books you haven’t read, you will have read the whole Bible.
Write down all the books you haven’t read (or aren’t sure if you’ve read the whole thing) on a Post-it Note and put it in the front of your Bible. Use as many Post-it Notes as you need! This is your list of books to read.
PICK A BOOK AND READ THROUGH IT
It’s honestly not important that you read the Bible cover to cover (although you may want to do this at some point). The Bible isn’t in chronological order; it’s organized by type of book (poetry, prophecy, history, etc.). All the books work together to tell the complete story of God’s redemption of mankind, but they can be read as stand alone books. The first time you’re going through the Bible, don’t worry about going in order. Pick a book from your list that you’re interested in, and read through it. When you’re done, cross it off the list and move on to another book!
GO AT A SLOW PACE
Reading through the Bible in a year is great, and it’s honestly not that difficult for me anymore. But the first time I read through my Bible, it was difficult. I was reading these books for the first time, and I had to go much more slowly to fully take in what they were saying.
If you’re just starting out, go at a slow pace. I just read one chapter a day to start. You may want to set a timer and just read for five minutes a day. Use washi tape or a small Post-it Note to mark your place when you’re done!
You won’t read through the Bible in a year this way, but you will read through it. As you become more familiar with what the Bible says, you’ll easily be able to read it through in a year, but you don’t need to do this your very first time. Even a few minutes of reading a day will help you grow in your relationship with God and your understanding of His truth.
If you follow these steps, you will eventually work your way through the whole Bible. Once you’ve read all the books, you may want to start at the beginning and read it from beginning to end. Or maybe you’ll want to do a chronological reading plan! The options are endless, and God’s Word is limitless in its ability to speak into our lives and change us into the image of the One who breathed it into existence.
Do you have any more tips for reading through the Bible for the first time? I would love to hear about them in the comments!