Okay, Okay I know reading through the Bible in one year is the gold standard for mega super Christian keenies but I’m a slow reader.
Actually that’s not true. However, I have recognised the fact that in my private devotions I like to do more than simply read: I like to mull, underline, highlight, make notes. I also like to pray, sit in silence, knit (meditatively of course!), I might even sing. So, as I don’t have all day (Bobby is waiting downstairs for his early morning walk) reading four or five chapters a day simply won’t fit.
Plus it felt SO disheartening if you got behind. Miss a day and you had eight chapters to read in one sitting!
I have found a three year reading plan that is just one chapter a day for three years. Whoo hoo! One chapter feels so delightfully acheivable I have even started reading a commentary alongside, which is doubly beneficial: not only do I understand more of what I’m reading, I no longer feel guilty about all those unread commentaries on my shelf. (Not that I actually own a seperate commentary for every book in the Bible but I know someone who does…)
A couple of other things have helped launch me on this journey:
- now I’m older I realise that 3 years is not such a very long time. It would have felt like an eternity in my twenties. Now I am older, the penny has dropped that it would be better to actually succeed in this task and take three years to do it, rather than regularly starting and predictably failing to acheive the one year gallop.
- I have three significant years ahead of me. In one year’s time, I expect to be ordained deacon, the year after that ordained priest and then the year after that I shall complete my training and be deemed ready to be let loose on the wider Anglican communion. It would feel good to know at that point that my personal journey had also been from cover to cover.
- Having the role of a trainee vicar can give rise to Biblical indigestion: at college every chapel service will have a Psalm, and Old Testament and New Testament reading and even in parish I am reading or hearing or working on several passages each week. Trying to pack in another 4 chapters every day feels like over-load. Whereas I approach my one chapter a day as if it were a treat: ‘this one’s just for me’, like a delicious cappucino with a cookie on the side!
- Finally, but very significantly, I bought a yummy new Bible. Only people who share my stationary fetish will understand the use of the word yummy. (If you can’t pass a stationary shop in the ‘back to school’ season without craving lovely new pens or fresh notebooks, the chances are you share my passion: I am addicted to push up pencils with built in erasers, which is pretty tame as vices go) Anyway, back to my new Bible: it’s called The Notetakers Bible and it is a wide margin edition of the NRSV an edition put out by Oxford University Press in 2009. The lined margins (I would have preferred not lined but you can’t have everything) means there is lots of space for all my scribblings. The text comes in a single column, the pages are smooth and smell lovely and the whole tome is satisfyingly weighty and beautifully bound. I treated myself to the Deluxe edition which has a lovely tactile, fabric cover.
I found the 3 year reading plan in a book called Good News Bible Book of Facts (compiled by Martin Manser) published 1998 by Marshall Pickering, first published in 1990 called The Amazing Book of Bible Facts, it’s a very useful and fun little book, goodness only knows if it’s still in print, try Amazon Marketplace? You could just read one chapter a day and it would more or less work out at 3 years but the benefit of this plan is that it takes you back and forth between Old and New Testament, helping cut down on the ‘laws and lists’ fatigue induced by certain sections of the Old Testament.