Its a New Year, 2014. Fortuitously I ended my Bible reading December 31st on the last chapter of the book of Revelation. Such a glorious chapter with memorable scenes like “a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street.” vv. 1,2 And “On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.” vv. 3,4 And “‘Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.'” vv. 12-14 It is marvelous to ponder those images in my mind and contemplate that ultimate reality. Such a comforting way to end the old year of 2013.
And on January 1 I began again the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. I think for only about ten or fifteen years I have been doing this, reading from start to finish, Genesis to Revelation, through the Bible, continuously, over and over again. That’s kind of a shame when I think of how long it has been that God has awakened me, caused me to be Born Again, and has given me His Spirit. That was April 1976. At that time I voraciously read the Word because I had not done so at all and really knew so little of what the Bible contained except for the “Readers Digest” Cliff Notes snippets that Catholics are spoon fed in school growing up. So when God introduced me to Him on that dark evening I immediately started reading the Bible like it was a love letter from a girlfriend I thought I’d lost. I read it all trying to learn everything I could. And there was a lot to learn, if you look at the size of the Bible.
But when one gets to meet God face to face as I did in 1976, in a spiritual sense, not physical, you’d understand how hungry I was to understand just Who He was in those pages. Yes, in all those pages – from Genesis right through Revelation.
Since then I’ve been reading His Word getting to know Him more and more and more. But in these almost fifty years I’m sad to say there have been periods of time when I’ve been lax about reading the Word. When there have been too many days passing without me picking up the Bible. And as I now reflect on this I an see that my spiritual life has suffered for it. It has only been within the last ten or fifteen years I think (I haven’t marked the day on the calendar) that I started to consciously read through the Bible on a daily basis. There is a great benefit to this as the more you read the Word the more you understand what is actually happening historically and spiritually and theologically. The more you read straight through the Word the more what happens with God’s people and how God deals with them makes sense. Truly if you are not familiar with the flow of history from Genesis to Revelation it becomes difficult to understand some of the hows and whys of God’s dealings with mankind. And if God’s dealings with mankind as described in the Bible don’t make seem to make sense the Bible will be rejected as nonsense, as it has been by many through the eons. But most importantly, the more you read through the pages, all the pages of the Bible, the more you come to know Him! And it is that getting to know Him that most people who go to church seem to forget about, that their God is so small just going to church can take car of that need. But God is much more infinite than that, if infinite can be quantified. Why wouldn’t one what to know Him as much as one possibly could if all they needed to do was read about Him in the Bible?
So if you have not developed the habit of daily reading a chapter or two or more of God’s word I wholeheartedly suggest this is the perfect time to take up the challenge. Find an accurate and readable translation (not one that is written in a language that hasn’t been spoken in hundreds of years) and start today. Get to know the great God and Savior Jesus Christ Who has been calling you to the most rewarding relationship you will ever know in your lifetime.
Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]