Straight to True North

My Bible Read-Through

A little over a month ago, I read the last two chapters of Revelations and exhaled. While I missed my original target by two weeks, I still managed to finish the bible with my group in about five months. Funny, I thought, the book of Revelations wasn’t as hard to read through as I had imagined.

In the Beginning, There Was A Resolution

Shortly before 2008, Jenni and I attended church home group for married couples where the guest speakers were a couple who led home groups on reading through the bible every year. They used the one-year bible, which is a different bible in that it does not go sequentially, but includes a verse from the Old and New Testament, a psalm, and a proverb to make each day’s reading easier to digest.

From my premarital reading, a common theme that struck me was that I needed to continue learning about and pursuing my wife after we are married. I applied the same thought in that if I truly love the Lord, I should be excited to learn more about Him.

I aspired to read through the bible in 2008 using my study bible’s guide, which was meant for 1 year. I considered it as a New Year’s resolution, but I wasn’t as concerned about finishing in 1 year. The goal was to read the entire bible—the living word of God—who I put my faith and trust in.

I had a good heart start. Genesis fascinated me with the creation, the fall, the flood, and the life of Joseph. Exodus equally engaged me as Israel was rescued from slavery and “conditioned” in the desert. Around Leviticus, I slowed down, and eventually did not continue. We had gotten “busy” in the home buying whirlwind.

Part of my perfectionist nature drives me to finish things I start. I have a hard time not finishing a movie I’ve begun, even if it’s terrible (Night at the Roxbury, The Big Lebowski, White Dragon). In the back of my mind, I felt guilty of not disciplining and loving the Lord enough to finish.

Knowing my heart, God gave me a second chance.

A Speedy Second Chance

Steve Mitchell, the pastor who baptized me, and mentored Jenni and I for our Christmas testimony in 2007, invited me to participate in a bible read-through group he was forming. It was to be a small gathering of guys who would read through the entire bible in four months.

Each week, we would meet and share verses we’ve highlighted from our reading for 10 minutes. Just reading aloud. No analysis. By reading the bible in four months at a rapid pace, we would uncover themes we normally would not see from slower, deeper studies.

I was thrilled to have an opportunity to meet with Steve once a week. He’s a talented designer and a very mellow person to hang with. Adding to that, by reading with a group, I’ll have a tangible accountability and friends to share in the experience.

Alpha to Omega

My bible reading plan initially was to read 13 pages a day, or about 86 pages a week. It gave me an opportunity to take some slack during the week and catch up in the weekend. In hindsight, I probably got more reading in during the week because of projects, chores, and other commitments during the weekend.
Graph of bible reading process

Judging from my graph, it does seem that I made better progress during the week. Also funny to note: the long periods of no-reading during the holidays and my birthday. I had quite a solid mountain range of progress towards the end as I played catch-up.

To be accurate, some of the dates with high page counts were an accumulation of the previous day’s reading as well. I didn’t always remember to track progress on my spreadsheet. I’m doubtful I read 30 pages in a day.

After Christmas, I was almost 300 pages behind in my reading. I became discouraged until Steve extended our bible read-through for two more weeks.

Reaching the New Testament strengthened my momentum. The minor prophets weren’t too tough—except for Ezekiel. It was like slugging through an anthropology textbook. I thought I would enjoy Hosea, but I guess I had only read the first few chapters of Hosea previously. Most of Hosea wasn’t about the prophet and how he dealt with his wayward wife as I had remembered.

I really enjoyed reading the gospels in 8 days. By reading them in quick succession, I noticed how different gospel authors recorded Jesus’ teachings and miracles. In all of the canonical gospels, the authors described a Samaritan woman pouring perfume on Jesus’ feet shortly before he was crucified. In the book of John, there were additional details to the story by addressing the woman as Mary Magdalene and that it was the disciple Judas Iscariot who rebuked her for wasting expensive perfume.

When I first was introduced to the bible in my middle school years, I read mainly the Old Testament because I enjoyed the stories of creation, the flood, Judges, and kings. When I came to know Christ, I found myself reading almost exclusively the New Testament trying to learn all I could about what Christ taught about love, money, faith, etc.

In this bible read through, I enjoyed portions of both. Genesis still fascinated me. Jesus’ teachings still spoke to my heart about His love and His design for life and relationships. However, getting through the history of Judah and Israel’s kings brought a new thought to mind.

Generation to Generation

The thread that wove through the bible for me was the importance of parenting. Perhaps my season of life skewed my impressions, but when the bible brought out great heroes, rarely do their succeeding sons do well. Often times, they revert all the great works of their fathers. Worse yet, lead a whole nation into darkness.

It became apparent to me that while my personal relationship with Christ is important, my great hope is that my children know, truly know, what God wants for each of them, to trust Him faithfully, and be able to give the love of Christ to the next generation.

Someone once told me that when I put my faith in Christ, I became a new branch in my family tree. While that’s a comforting and lovely thought for myself, I’m not content with just being a new branch. I desire that my new root in the Lord would bring about fruit, and that fruit would fall to the ground and plant its seed.

Then the seed would send its roots down to the living water and become a new tree—so that I would not be one tree for Christ in my family, but the continuing of a forest—after all, forest is what my Chinese last name means.

The table below is for future reference when I do a bible read-through again so that I can see what pace I had to read.

Date Pages Chapters
10/9/2008 13 Genesis 1-11
10/10/2008 13 Genesis 12-22
10/12/2008 37 Genesis 23-50
10/13/2008 6 Exodus 1-6
10/14/2008 14 Exodus 7-19
10/15/2008 12 Exodus 20-29
10/16/2008 4 Exodus 30-33
10/17/2008 8 Exodus 34-40
10/18/2008 5 Leviticus 1-6
10/19/2008 21 Leviticus 7-24
10/21/2008 28 Leviticus 25-Numbers 18
10/22/2008 9 Numbers 19-26
10/23/2008 21 Numbers 27-Deuteronomy 8
10/25/2008 7 Deuteronomy 9-16
10/26/2008 25 Deuteronomy 17-Joshua 4
10/27/2008 38 Joshua 5-Judges 10
10/28/2008 11 Judges 11-Judges 21
10/29/2008 34 Ruth 1-1 Samuel 23
11/1/2008 7 1 Samuel 24-1 Samuel 30
11/2/2008 28 2 Samuel 1-2 Samuel 22
11/4/2008 16 2 Samuel 23-1 Kings 7
11/7/2008 13 1 Kings 8-15
11/8/2008 20 1 Kings 16-2 Kings 5
11/9/2008 25 2 Kings 6-25
11/10/2008 25 1 Chronicles 1-22
11/11/2008 10 1 Chronicles 23-29
11/12/2008 25 2 Chronicles 1-28
11/13/2008 8 2 Chronicles 29-34
11/16/2008 21 2 Chronicles 35-Nehemiah 4
11/17/2008 21 Nehemiah 5-Esther 10
11/18/2008 13 Job 1-17
11/19/2008 4 Job 18-22
11/28/2008 49 Job 23-Psalm 51
12/1/2008 16 Psalm 52-Psalm 80
12/2/2008 9 Psalm 81-Psalm 95
12/4/2008 7 Psalm 82-Psalm 107
12/5/2008 23 Psalm 108-Psalm 150
12/6/2008 13 Proverbs 1-14
12/7/2008 18 Proverbs 15-31
12/8/2008 16 Ecclesiastes 1-Song of Songs 8
12/11/2008 8 Isaiah 1-Isaiah 9
12/12/2008 12 Isaiah 10-23
12/13/2008 32 Isaiah 24-52
12/14/2008 8 Isaiah 53-60
12/17/2008 11 Isaiah 61-Jeremiah 2
12/18/2008 12 Jeremiah 3-12
12/21/2008 10 Jeremiah 13-21
12/22/2008 8 Jeremiah 21-29
1/5/2009 55 Jeremiah 30-Ezekiel 18
1/6/2009 10 Ezekiel 19-26
1/7/2009 5 Ezekiel 27-31
1/11/2009 36 Ezekiel 32-Daniel 9
1/21/2009 79 Daniel 10-Malachi 1
1/22/2009 25 Malachi 2-Matthew 13
1/23/2009 13 Matthew 14-24
1/25/2009 35 Matthew 25-Mark 13
1/26/2009 18 Mark 14-Luke 5
1/27/2009 18 Luke 6-17
1/28/2009 25 Luke 18-John 6
1/29/2009 10 John 7-12
1/30/2009 19 John 13-Acts 2
1/31/2009 17 Acts 3-12
2/1/2009 19 Acts 13-25
2/2/2009 18 Acts 26-Romans 8
2/3/2009 17 Romans 9-1 Corinthians 10
2/4/2009 19 1 Corinthians 11-2 Corinthians 13
2/5/2009 15 Galatians 1-Ephesians 6
2/6/2009 18 Phillipians 1-2 Thessalonians 3
2/7/2009 15 1 Timothy 1-Philemon
2/8/2009 17 Hebrews 1-James 3
2/9/2009 25 James 4-Jude
2/10/2009 20 Revelations 1-19
2/11/2009 3 Revelations 20-22

One Response to “My Bible Read-Through”

  1. Jim Hill says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal pilgrim’s progress ( a must read by John Bunyan ). May we all continue to be as persistent.

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