Not all New Year’s resolutions are kept. Weight loss, for one, and gym memberships seem to both often flag out by March in many cases. Another tough one may be reading all the way through the Bible. So, for 2018, we’ll offer some statistics and advice on tackling this entire compilation of 66 books, 1,189 chapters and about 31,000 verses with an air of renewed hope.
Apps make it easy? There are popular smartphone apps that are free and readily available for the handset of your choice: YouVersion and Olive Tree Bible Reading. The first is sponsored by a church and the second is a commercial venture. Between them, the word can be read in hundreds of languages complete with dictionaries, commentaries, maps and a number of reading plans to accommodate your preference. You can read in traditional Bible order, chronological order or with a daily mix of testaments, Psalms and Proverbs. Details in the appstore for your Android or iPhone.
When it comes to print Bibles, you can choose from specialty works like “A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year: A Life-Changing Journey Into the Heart of God” by Diane Stortz or “Connect the Testaments: A 365-Day Devotional with Bible Reading Plan” by John D. Barry and Rebecca Van Noord. Either are less than $20 at Amazon.
For less than $5, Carmen Rojas has assembled a paperback guide aimed at Catholics titled “How to Read the Bible Everyday.” And for a much more relaxed challenge you can add coloring to the Book of Psalms by reading only once each week in the $15 “Bless the Lord, O My Soul: A Creative 365 Days of Psalm Readings with Coloring and Reflection.”
The boldest may want to add scripture memorization to the mix. For this we have heard good things about the app called “Scripture Typer.” It’s available for both popular types of phones, allows you to import verses in your choice of translation, works for individuals or with groups and comes with three ways to improve your scripture memory, though typing on a small handset is still typing on a small handset.
The Barna Group research organization has studied America’s Bible-reading habits. In particular they wanted to know what motivated the faithful to read more.
“Most attribute their growing use of the Bible to a realization that the Scriptures are an important part of their faith journey, 67%,” their report said. “About one-quarter say they have been through a difficult experience that prompted them to turn to the Bible, and one in five report a significant change, such as marriage or the birth of a child, that inspired an increase in Bible use.”
What else encouraged perusing the great book? Having it on a smartphone or talking about it on social media.
Oh, and for those tackling the entire Bible in 2018, you’ll need to read just over 3 1/4 chapters each day to come out even on Dec. 31.
Happy New Year from Our Faith.
Next week: A famous former reporter comes to speak on his favorite subject.