I recently took the 90 Day Bible Challenge. I started Jan 1 and finished up on March 31. It was my first time to read the Bible on this short of a timetable and I really loved it. Heres why...
1. More time in God's Word. I do not view simply reading the Bible as a replacement for in-depth Bible study. But I have been erring on the other side for too long. I love the in-depth studies where you spend 9 months in one book. I've done Precept, Bible Study Fellowship, and most recently Community Bible Study. I also host a women's Bible study in my home once a week and we generally work through 10-12 week studies on godly living. (Recent studies include The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, Battling Unbelief by John Piper, Becoming a Woman of Simplicity by Cynthia Heald, and Attitudes of a Transformed Heart by Martha Peace.) I need accountability to get my "homework" done so I try to always be in at least one Bible study at a time, if not two. But, my habit had become to just do my weekly lessons along with the devotions I do with my kids (usually a chapter a day). In other words, I wasn't just reading the Bible. I was spending my 2-3 hours a week studying particular chapters of the Bible, but that's it. The 90 day Bible challenge kept me in God's Word an additional 5 or 6 hours per week. My slim tv watching turned into no tv watching. My idle time (baths, waiting in the car for kids) suddenly became productive as I immersed myself in the Bible. You know what really surprised me? I didn't have to make any radical sacrifices, but just kept the Bible with me all the time and read it whenever possible. I loved spending more time in God's Word. The more you're in it, the more you love it. I believe there is no better use of time than to read the Bible. How else can we know God? He has chosen to reveal Himself to us in the form of a book, not a movie, not by osmosis, but in a book. THE BOOK. For that reason alone, I'm excited about starting the 90 day Bible challenge again. But, it's not the only reason I love the challenge.
2. Reading the WHOLE Bible. We all have our favorite books, don't we? I keep coming back to John, Philippians, Romans, Hebrews. I almost always avoid books like Ezekiel and Revelation, Malachi and the Chronicles (aren't they just like the Kings?) The 90 day Bible challenge got me reading the Bible in its entirety not just the portions I thought I wanted or needed. There were many times I couldn't believe what I'd just read. I had so many a-ha moments. I enjoyed true discovery in books I've only read a handful of times and always before just a chapter at a time.
3. New context and perspective. You've heard it said that we should use the NT to interpret the OT. It was really exciting to read the NT just a matter of weeks after reading the OT. Those prophecies were still fresh in my mind and here many of them were being fulfilled and others further explained. I loved having this additional context! I didn't just notice it between testaments either, but also between books and within books, especially longer ones. It's so hard to make much meaning out of an isolated chapter. Sure, there will be eternal truths that come out of that chapter, but it's so much more meaningful when you can hang the new truths on the hook of what's come before. Many of my a-ha moments came as a result of having the previous chapters fresh in my mind as I read my daily selection.
4. Life change. This is going to sound crazy. I mean, to change your life you have to see a therapist, go through a 12 step program, read a self-help book, or at least consult a fellow blogger, right? Wrong. My husband noticed a change in me. I have a LONG ways to go and I fear I've regressed in the last month or two since finishing the challenge, but it's so exciting to see RESULTS from my reading. You've heard it said that we don't change God through prayer, but that He changes us when we pray. I think reading the Bible has a similar effect. Romans 12:2 says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. What better way to renew our minds than by reading Scripture? 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that the Bible is all we need to make us complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. According to this verse, I could be marooned on a desert island with my Bible, and that's all I'd need to be sanctified. If the goal is holiness, there's no better way to go about it than spending as much time as possible in the very Word of God. He works in us through His Word. He changes us through His Word. He conforms us to the image of His Son through His Word. (This makes sense since the Son is the Word. John 1)
So, as I embark on the 90 day Bible challenge again this summer I encourage you to try it, too. It isn't easy to get your reading done each and every day, but it's always rewarding. And hey, you know what they say, If you shoot for the moon, you'll land among the stars. Even if you don't read the whole Bible in 90 days, if you're reading it more than you were, then the challenge was a success! If you do decide to go for it, let me know so we can encourage one another.
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.