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The Bible in 11 months

January 9, 2012

When I first made my Thirty before 30 list, reading the Bible all the way through seemed like a minor thing, a reading project that I could easily tackle in a few months. I mean, I listened to all of Anna Karenina in two months on my commutes to work and home… surely, I have the stamina for the Bible, a book I really am interested in reading.

Yep. Definitely wrong about that.

I had attempted unsuccessfully in the beginning of 2009 to read a little bit of the Bible every day, but I knew that it could happen. There were several guides to getting through the whole thing in 12 months, even though I figured I would finish it sooner. I was a bit late on getting started, and on February 1, 2010, I printed off the plan to read the Bible in one year. If I followed along with it, I would be sure to have it accomplished by February 1, 2011, just a few days shy of my 30th birthday. I taped the reading assignment in the back of my day planner (which I take absolutely everywhere) and started reading each morning. It dawned on me after a few days that my genius idea wasn’t so genius… my day planner ended December 31, not January 31 when my reading was done. I’d have to squeeze in a bit of extra reading so I wouldn’t have to carry around my old day planner for January 2012. So, my reading-the-Bible-in-a-year plan turned into reading-the-Bible-in-less-than-eleven-months.

Good news is: I finished! Here are some of my random thoughts about the 11-month process:

  • I wish I had kept the website where I printed off my reading plan because I really enjoyed how I read it. It wasn’t a chronological reading, even though I started with Genesis and ended with Revelation. But, each day, I was reading in at least two books. For example, I would read a chapter or two in Genesis and then a corresponding Psalm or Proverb. The reading plan kept things interesting, rather than a speed read, and all the flipping back and forth helped me learn the order of the books.
  • I learned too late about Bible Gateway, a wonderful free (!) website that offers several versions of the Bible to read online or on your phone. I had mostly read from one of the three Bibles scattered around my reading spots (work, home and purse), but in December, when I was doing the mad dash to finish, knowing about Bible Gateway was super helpful when I wanted to read from the convenience of my phone.
  • As you can tell, I’m big into lists. I try sometimes to finish them just for the sake of their existence. I’m thrilled that this project was centered around a list because it actually helped me stay on track. Yes, I was doing a lot of reading in December, but overall, I stayed within a month away of what I was supposed to read. My goal was to get to work a little early in the morning and read my daily assignment before getting my coffee or turning on the computer. But, once I got pregnant, I struggled getting in to work early just because I was so sleepy! Oftentimes, I’d take a few hours on Sunday afternoons or while traveling somewhere and play catch-up on what I hadn’t yet accomplished. December became a mad dash because I had fallen behind in November, plus I had to read January, so I ended up reading two and a half months of reading in one month. But, I really needed that guide to help me progress. The list made the project look possible and attainable… and it worked!
  • Yes, some of the chapters were tedious to get through, especially some in Numbers and 1 and 2 Chronicles. But, wow, I learned a lot I didn’t already know. I feel a lot more knowledgeable about the whole book as well as the timeline and history.

I learned so much in 11 short months! Of all the items on my Thirty Before 30 list, I spent the most time on this project, and it is perhaps the most rewarding of them all.

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