Easy steps for Bible reading
By JOAN BAY KLOPE
Whidbey News Times Columnist
February 17, 2012 · Updated 2:57 PM
On New Year’s Day I quietly made a resolution: I’d read the entire Bible in 2012. I initially kept my vow private because too often I have been a woman of good intentions but quickly lost my motivation. The thought of publicly failing again pained me, so I kept silent.
Late afternoon on Valentine’s Day, as my husband and I walked the beach, my heart soared for a good many reasons. Mr. Klope has always been my valentine and I enjoy exploring Whidbey with him. With warm jackets, hot lattes and energetic canines, we hit the beach to celebrate.
It was glorious. No wind. Puffy clouds. Cool, fresh air and a delightfully clean stretch of beach. There were rugged coastlines to view and eagles to count. I looked for heart-shaped rocks. Matt threw sticks for the dogs to fetch. We watched container ships pass in still waters and talked about hopes we have for the coming year.
During the quiet times, when listening to the gentle waves and eagles chirp from nearby tree tops surpassed the desire to talk, my heart overflowed with deep gratitude because I have found my way to keeping my resolution. Tuesday marked the 46th straight day I had read the Bible and my heart filled with the Psalms I’ve been reading:
“Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
How priceless is your unfailing love!”
So why is my daily Bible reading working this year? I’ve discovered five strategies for success.
1: Set a time and stick with it. I have found that reading first thing in the morning, as I begin my workout on an elliptical machine, works best for me. I’m uninterrupted by people or schedules and I enjoy thinking back on what I’ve read as the day progresses.
2: Choose a translation you like. I’m reading the 1984 edition of the New International Version (NIV) Bible that includes an audio option, available online or as a phone app. I put in my ear phones and read the scripture as I listen to a narrator, gifted with a beautiful voice. My attention is completely captured, even through tedious Old Testament passages outlining lineage and worship rules.
3: Choose a reading plan. I’m using the OwnIt365 Plan that requires I read about 15 minutes each day, six days a week. One day is left open to catch up and this is particularly helpful. You can count on missing a day or two, here and there. This plan gifts you with scheduled time to catch up. I like that!
4: Stir it up. Reading from cover to cover is difficult for most people. Plans that mix Old and New Testament readings are far more interesting.
5: Trust the value of sticking with your goal. I’m not gifted at memorizing scripture but I’m amazed how specific phrases as well as concepts frequently come to mind, now that I’m immersing myself in God’s word at the start of each day. Frankly, I’d rather ponder God’s touch in my life than the latest Bachelor castoff.