A few days ago I finished a Bible-In-A-Year reading plan with a group of ladies. We spent the last year following this reading plan and sending messages in a group text about things that stood out to us and questions we had about different passages, and it was such an encouragement! This was my second consecutive year going through the plan, and while at times it felt like a whirlwind, I have been amazed by how much I learn each time. On our last day of reading, I was struck in particular by how Revelation 22 comes full circle from Genesis.
See, 365 days earlier, we had read in Genesis 3 about how Adam and Eve are sent out of the garden after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God sends them out so that they wouldn’t “stretch out [their] hands, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” If they had eaten from the tree of life in their sinful state, they would have lived forever and been eternally separated from a relationship with God. It was imperative that they not take from the tree of life.
Fast forward a year, and on the last day of our reading plan we read about tree of life again! This time, we see the tree of life being in heaven:
“Then he showed me 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.
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.”
In Genesis, Adam and Eve were sent away from the tree of life. But in Revelation, we see the same tree and it is beautiful- dripping with fruit and easily accessible. Seeing these passages in the full context of the entire Bible shows me how Christ has redeemed man from that broken state back in Genesis, to the picture of heaven we see at the end of Revelation where we will live in glory with God forever. This year of Bible reading has been rich and has built up my understanding of the Word as well as friendships with those I read with. It is always a blessing to have others there to spur you on and to ask questions to!
Excuses and Blessings
Have you ever read through the Bible?
In the past, the thought of reading the entire Bible in a year seemed overwhelming and unrealistic. There were so many reasons why I thought it would be too hard:
-I have four children under the age of 5. I serve in the church. I desire to build friendships with other women. How could I possibly have time for such an intense reading plan?
-I’m not well versed in Bible history and timelines. I don’t know how to pronounce many of the names. How could I possibly make sense of so much content in such little time?
-I wanted to study the Bible deeply and get to know it intimately. How could racing through it in just a year allow me to learn deeply? Wouldn’t I just be skimming through?
Yet by trusting God and committing to reading His Word, He helped and blessed me in more ways than I can recount. I loved reading alongside other women, and enjoyed reading their thoughts on the passages and thinking through questions we had. A few of my favorite questions we chewed on were:
-“At the end of Hebrews 11, it mentions that all those mentioned haven’t yet received God’s promises. And that’s because Christ hasn’t returned, correct? They currently have ‘fallen asleep’? What happens to us and them in the meantime?”
-“The part of 1 Kings 22 where the Lord put a deceiving spirit in their mouths was confusing to me. Does the Lord really do these things to carry out certain purposes/messages?”
-“The end of Mark 9 is always a reminder of the seriousness to fight sin. At what length am I willing to sacrifice in order that I might not be tempted to sin? What do I need to cut out of my life?”
Having others reading alongside me helped me stay accountable and encouraged me to think more deeply about what I was reading. Even throughout the stages of having a newborn or having many time commitments in life, I found God was always faithful to provide me with the time I needed to read. There were days that I missed, but instead of giving up, I just continued with the plan and persevered.
The name pronunciations are still a challenge, but just by reading through the Old Testament I have gained a better grasp on the lives of the people written about within it and am better understanding the flow of history. And reading at a fast pace certainly is different than slowly working through a book of the Bible. Yet I am amazed by how much I have been able to retain and how much God has taught me as we worked through each chapter and book. I still have much to learn, and am thankful that God’s Word is living and active…we will always learn something new from it!
This year I am preparing to start the Bible-In-A-Year plan again, and I am looking forward to what I will learn. This time, I’ll be reading alongside a few women in my small group. If you’ve never read through the Bible in a year (or even if you have!), why not spend the next year with a few friends reading together?
Curious in starting your own Bible-In-A-Year reading group?
Click here to see the plan I enjoy.