I grew up reading something from the Bible most days. We would often read a few verses as a family around the dinner table. I would read bits of the Bible as I headed to bed each evening. Sometimes I would find help from reading guides or devotional books that drew application from the Bible passages or gave explanations as to their meaning.
My first Bible was a Revised Standard Version given to me by my grandparents, and I shifted to a Good News Bible in my teens. This gave way to a New International Version when I started university and began exploring the Bible in more detail. These days I have multiple translations available and a Bible App on my phone and computer that allows me to read the Bible in any version.
Reading the Bible is both similar and different to reading other books. Most books are intended to be read from cover to cover. You start at the beginning and follow the plot to its conclusion, usually on the final page. However, when it comes to the Bible very few of us read it this way. The Bible is one book, but it is also a compendium of sixty-six books. There is a coherence to each book in the Bible and an overarching coherence to the Bible as a whole. There’s a kind of dialogue that takes place with each part informing the overall picture and the overall picture informing each part. Some parts only start to make sense after we’ve read other parts and the key to understanding it all is discovering the central place of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament points to Jesus Christ and only makes sense once we recognise that all God’s promises find their fulfilment in him. The New Testament spotlights the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and explains how this good news transforms people’s lives for eternity.
So, let me ask you, have you read the Bible? Not just sampled it—but have you really read it? Have you searched the Scriptures to discover God’s word to you, God’s purpose for life, God’s love for his world, God’s hope for our future? Have you delved deeply into the Word that brings life, and have you done this with regularity, and purpose, and effort, and humility? Have you drank deeply from God’s Spirit-inspired Word?
Why not make 2022 the year you either begin or get back to searching the Scriptures? Some years back I made the decision to do exactly that. I found a plan called Search the Scriptures that would help me read the whole Bible in three years. It took me close to five years as I would keep missing days! It provided a plan that led me through the whole Bible and let me move between Old and New Testaments. It didn’t spoon-feed me answers or give me inspirational stories. It just kept me on track by asking helpful questions of each section of the Bible and I’d write my answers in a notebook.
When I first bought Search the Scriptures it came in three volumes — one for each year. Now you get the whole three years packaged together into one volume. You can even get an English Standard Version of the Bible with the Search the Scriptures questions inserted into the text. This might be helpful if you were travelling and only wanted to carry one book, but I prefer to keep my notes separate to my Bible.
Over the years I have given away dozens of copies of Search the Scriptures. And I’m still getting feedback that it genuinely helps people to read the Bible for themselves. Why not give it a shot?