I feel like I need to take stock of where I am, now that the busy spring is over and I can settle into a (hopefully!) calmer summer. One thing I'm working on right now is reading the entire Bible, every single book.
I'm not following a particular plan beyond "read the Bible" and "read more of it later." I'm keeping the historical portions in order, but beyond that I'm picking and choosing as I want to. There are a lot of plans you can follow for reading the Bible through (here's a good sampling), but I'm using my old friend the game board, a tool I know works really well for me when I've got a goal broken down into discrete steps.
Why do this now? Multiple reasons, but the biggest one is that I'm a biblical studies student, for crying out loud, and it embarrasses me to think about how long it's been since I visited some portions of scripture. I'm just plain more familiar with some parts than others, even though I've read everything at one point or another. The class on Prophets I took this past spring reminded me how unfamiliar I am with parts of the Bible, because we read great swathes of the prophetic books and I really didn't know what was in there.
I have a good memory for stories and a good memory for things I read and find interesting, and I can tell you a great deal about the long, connected story of the Bible. I can tell you some stuff about theology, I can tell you about the gospel, I can talk about people and characters and places and events. But I don't have a deep enough grounding in the words of the book itself. It's not good enough to read about the world of the Bible and the teaching of the Bible. I want to know the Bible.
Nothing else helps me change like the book itself. Nothing else helps me find Jesus like scripture itself, all of scripture, front to back.
The entire collection forms a long story of grace, and it's not always easy to see -- I know it isn't, I know people say they don't understand the Bible, or reject the Old Testament in favor of the New, or claim it's all a bunch of contradictory nonsense.
I get it. I do. There are things I don't understand myself yet. But I see the story, the long story of grace, and I know how life-changing it is. I want to help other people see it too. That's the point behind going to school. That's the point behind wanting to write about what I learn.
So I'm revisiting the book, the whole thing. When I'm done I'll start over again with a new chart, and read it again. I'll follow a different plan. Or I'll use a different translation (I've got dozens; thanks BibleWorks). Or I'll follow a specific theme. I'll do something -- but I'll read. I'll read this book until I know it inside out, until I know the long story of grace from front to back, so I can speak it and sing it and write about it, so I can help other people see it too.