In my Bible reading plan, it's July.
I am so conflicted about my Bible reading. Everywhere I go, people are telling me I must, and my children must, read the Bible all the way through every year. I am told of the great spiritual benefits of doing this. I don't disagree with that, exactly. But when I try to do it, it feels like cramming. I'm just reading as quickly as I can to check off the day, but not getting anything out of it.
But last December I decided to at least do my reading systematically, if not yearly. I found a chronological reading plan. I thought about it and prayed about it and came to the conclusion that I'd read daily, but wouldn't try to finish in the year. I'd take my time and read deeply, but not quickly. (I am sure some people can read both deeply and quickly, so if you are a yearly Bible reader don't think I'm telling you you're not doing it right.) But as we approach the year's end, I am starting to feel the guilt come back. I find myself trying to catch up, even though it's impossible at this point, unless I go away to a hotel for a weekend to read.
And so I think of Janet. She is a dear woman who gave me a lot of encouragement (and, yes, guilt, though I don't think she meant to) about reading the whole Bible every year. She was not proud, but she frequently ticked off the years she'd been doing it herself. Last time I talked to her, I think it was 26. 26 times through the Bible in 26 years! Wow. That's impressive.
And then I thought about Janet's age. She must have been in her mid-70s when I knew her. Let's say, 75. That means she started her reading habit when she was 49, thereabouts. I am pretty sure her kids were up and out then. I am pretty sure she was not homeschooling then. I don't doubt that she was busy, but I think she was out of the thick of childrearing by that time. (Some of us, at 49 and above, are still in the thick of it.)
So maybe I'm just rationalizing my own lack, but I am resolving to put this guilt aside once and for all. I'm going to keep following my Bible reading plan, but not worry about the date. Some days I might read many chapters; some only a portion of one. I'm reading Isaiah now, and taking it slow. I have a commentary I'm reading along with it so that slows me down, but adds much to my reading. I have a commentary on Esther that I'll pull out when that time comes.
My kids will continue their slow pace in their own Bible studies, which, in effect, I'm doing with them, since we discuss everything.
Do you read the Bible in full every year? Do you follow a plan, or just read from start to finish? Or are you a slacker like me who can't seem to manage it? Tell me about it.