The other day, the hilarious Jon Acuff posted a new entry on his blog, Stuff Christians Like. The title? “Already being behind on your read the Bible in a year plan.” Acuff spends several paragraphs detailing how funny we can be with this every year, and why we tend to fail (“Leviticus…This book will break you.”)
The humor hit home, as I’ve recently started with the Android app YouVersion a 90 day Bible reading plan, informally deemed “B90x.” It boils down to about sixteen chapters a day, and today I hit the dreaded Leviticus.
So why do we do it? Why do Christians bust out the cardio this time of year when it comes to reading the Bible? It’s such a massive document, so we’re probably not going to memorize the whole thing. Doesn’t poring over all the Old Testament genealogies and temple regulations make us a little crazy?
It does seem silly at first. And on the second day. And on the seventeenth. The best thing I can compare it to, though, is working out. Deuteronomy is the equivalent of jogging on Black Friday. (I say Deuteronomy because it’s a repetition of Leviticus.) Of course you don’t want to do it. But when you admit to yourself that it isn’t actually a holiday, that you’re not feeling sick, and that, yes, the gym is open, you jog anyway. And you don’t really regret it afterward. You probably haven’t lost six pounds during your run, but you remember that it’s part of a process.
The main reason to read it so aggressively is that it’s the Word of God. Remember all those times you wish God would just answer you? He probably already has. Think about the last time you read a good novel. When you were done, you probably could imagine what each of the characters would do in any given situation. Draco Malfoy would try to weasel his way out of that parking ticket. Sam Gamgee would say, “There’s nothing for it,” and leave the party early to study for the test. Jack Ryan would jump into the deep end to save the chubby little kid who has overestimated his swimming abilities.
When you read the whole Bible, you start to understand the comprehensive character of God. You get answers to your questions based on who He is. The trouble is, it’s also a historical document, and a systematic teaching, and (at times) a collection of anecdotal advice and poetry. And it’s long. It’s extremely long. So to get your well rounded picture of who God is, you need to have a good plan to read the whole Bible. That’s where the marathon reading schedules come in.
Psalm 119 and John 1 explain it nicely. David valued the scriptures so highly he wrote the longest chapter in the Bible- about the Bible. We find out why in John’s Gospel- Jesus is the Word made flesh. If you want to know Jesus more, read the Bible.
It seems crazy at first, but according to David and John, it’s very wise indeed.