September 13, 2016

Why You Should Read Through the Entire Bible as Fast as Possible

by Jordan Standridge

This week the Foundry Bible Immersion began with seven new, courageous students who have left their homes and have moved to DC for 10 weeks of intense discipleship.

This year we are blessed with an international flavor. We have Scott and Ryle from Canada, Priscilla from Italy, Mikayla and Keanen from Arizona, and Ryan and Kathy from Virginia.

Young man reading small BibleThey have decided to come here because they want to grow in their knowledge and love for the Lord. They will be doing evangelism and learning in the classroom with our pastors, but perhaps the most important aspect of the school is the reading through the entire Bible in such a short amount of time.

At the age of 18, I went to a similar school in Italy. I was super depressed, unable to sleep at night, and with no direction in life when I began reading through the Bible.  It was exactly what I needed. The Lord completely changed my life thorugh it. In so many ways.

It changed my life because it caused me to understand that I exist for the purpose of glorifying God. Reading the Bible so quickly allowed me to see that God is the central focus of scripture. Sure, John 3:16 is one verse that focuses on God’s love for his children, but throughout Scripture I was exposed to the fact that God alone deserves the glory and that He shares it with no one. I was born selfish, thinking that my happiness was all that mattered. And reading the Scripture so quickly from start to finish exposed me to the folly of selfish, man-centered thinking, pushing me towards living for God.

It changed my life because it caused me to believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. One of the greatest “aha!” moments of the school was in reading Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17. As I read through the names, I slowed down my pace and I noticed a few incredible names. The one that struck me the hardest was the name of Rahab. The prostitute of Jericho who by sheer “coincidence” ran into the spies and helped them escape, ensuring for herself a place in Israel, and unbeknownst to her, a place in the line of David leading to the Messiah. What an incredible picture of the sovereignty of God. And throughout the Bible there are thousands of stories just like hers. The Old Testament was a testament to the absolute orchestration of God from beginning to end. My trust for all the words of the books of Daniel, Zachariah, and Revelation was established, and I knew the future was already set in stone.

It changed my life because it caused me to see that the sovereign God of Scripture was sovereign over my personal life as well. Hardships I had faced growing up may have seemed difficult and unfortunate for me to have gone through.  But ultimately, because I was overwhelmed by God’s sovereignty by reading through the Bible so quickly, I was convinced that the same God who protected Joseph in the pit, was the one who had allowed me to face whatever challenge I had gone through. And, although He could take it away at any moment, just as when He restored Job his health and wealth, He had a reason for why He allowed whatever situation to occur in my life. This caused me to trust Him, and to be able to sleep at night.

It changed my life because it was clear that God called His people to stick out from the world. I wanted to be a Christian who could just live a normal life, have a family and a job, and die a wealthy man. It was obvious that God calls His people to so much more, to live lives of complete dependence on Him. Whether it was Jeremiah in the pit, Daniel in the lion’s den, Paul half dead on the street, or the unnamed men whom the world was not worthy of from Hebrews 11:38. Scripture was filled with men who considered this world as chump change compared to eternity.

It changed my life because it showed me that I am totally depraved. I was overwhelmed with the idea that God hates sin, and not just sin in a general way but my personal sin. He detested Israel’s continual turning to false gods. He hated the worlds evil and destroyed it at the flood. He hated Sodom and Gomorrah and now they no longer exist. He was days away from destroying Nineveh. The whole Bible is a song that declares the holiness of God and establishes Him as the only Holy, Holy, Holy. It’s pretty difficult to read the entire Bible so quickly and not be overwhelmed with the holiness of God and man’s gross, total depravity. My sin was exposed in a way that I had never felt before, every chapter seemed to scream that to me. James was wise in saying that the Scripture is like a mirror that reveals our sin. If you’re feeling pretty good about yourself, read quickly through the Bible and it will very quickly reveal your depravity.

It changed my life because it showed me that people need God. He will punish sin. In verse after verse, God declares that sin has consequences, and they are not temporal, they are eternal. I was overwhelmed with a need to share the Gospel with all people, not only because the Bible is filled with warning passages, but also because the God of the Bible is so awesome that you would be crazy not to worship Him. I was overwhelmed with how awesome God is, and my desire was that all people everywhere needed to hear about him. I couldn’t help but awkwardly start conversations with people because I was convinced by Scripture that, not only did they need to worship the Lord, but that without Him they would spend eternity in Hell. Reading through the Bible so quickly will be a great motivating factor for your evangelism.

Obviously, reading big chunks of Scripture should not be our bread and butter. The careful study of God’s Word and the memorizing of Scripture has a far greater impact on our day to day life. But I would say that reading through the whole Bible as quickly as possible should be something that every Christian does at least once in their life. And believe it or not, it does not take that long. It only takes 70 hours to read from start to finish. I mean it took Max McClean 77 hours to read out loud, and if you’ve ever heard him, he’s more of the tortoise than the hare as far as Bible readers go. Reading through the whole Bible so quickly may be a great challenge, but It changed my life and I believe it will be profitable for any Christian, as well.

Jordan Standridge

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Jordan is a pastoral associate at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA, where he leads the college ministry. He is also the founder of The Foundry Bible Immersion. You can find his personal blog at surrender.us.
  • Jane Hildebrand

    I could not agree more. Reading through the Bible in 30 days helped me make the connection that Jesus was God which resulted in my salvation and has changed everything!

  • William Brannon

    I would love to hear any thoughts/advice you have on accomplishing this task. Do you recommend starting in Genesis and going straight through? Reading from multiple books at once? How many chapters per day? Sounds like an excellent investment!

    • Rach

      My church does this reading plan each yr, if you keep up or catch up when you fall behind but stay on schedule you will finish Dec 31 if you start Jan 1.
      Weekends are lighter so it is a good day to catch up. But weekdays its 2 OT chapters beginning with Genesis, 1 NT chapter beginning with Matthew and 1 Psalm/Wisdom/Poetry chapter beginning with Psalm (Psalm, Proverbs, Song of Sol, Eccles). And then on weekends its just 2 OT chapters. So total 4 chapters each weekday and then 2 chapters on weekend days.

      http://www.faith.edu/images/Resources/BRS/2016_BRS.pdf

      http://www.faith.edu/resources/publications/brs

    • I’ve tried the yearly reading and to me its just too slow. I tried the 90 days and i just cannot quite keep up. In addition, concerning the yearly plans, I always disliked either being in the OT for like 10 months and then 2 in the NT, or the ones that have me jumping all over the Bible. After endless searching I have found a 4 month plan that is just exceptional and one I continue to recommend. Here is the link: http://travisrodg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/B120X.pdf

      Hope that helps a little.

      • Lyn

        This is great Travis, thanks for sharing!

    • Jordan Standridge

      Hey Will, my preference is to read from Genesis to Revelation and not multiple books at once. Logos has a cool program where you can put in how long you want to take to read and you can check certain days of the week, and does a very good job of taking into account length of chapters. For example the students first day is Genesis 1-19 and the second is 20-34. They don’t read on Saturday’s or Sunday’s so really they read the whole Bible in 50 days.

  • Martha Gruber

    Yes! I agree with this. When I converted I found myself hungry for the Scriptures. I devoured the Bible in a little over a month and I also found myself overwhelmed by the holiness of God and my sin. In addition, it served to change my thinking. Almost everything that I had thought was right and believed in about the world and people was completely opposite of what the Word of God had to say about it and my world view instantly changed from a humanistic one to a biblical worldview, and once I knew the truth….just as the Scripture says…it truly set me free. Praise the Lord!!!

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  • disqus_xB05VbB36G

    ”It changed my life because it caused me to see that the sovereign God of Scripture was sovereign over my personal life as well.”
    Yep I just believe he choose to give me free will

    ”It changed my life because it showed me that I am totally depraved.”
    I see that I am radicly depraved (R)

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  • Wonderfully surprising – and refreshing insights, Jordan. Thank you!

  • GW

    I did a Bible in 90 days program with a church in my area. Until that point I had been a Christian for 30 years and I was not fully sure I had read all of the Bible. It had read most of it for certain but by no means from cover to cover. I highly recommend the Bible in 90 days concept of 12 pages per day (45 – 60 minutes) and anyone can read the whole Bible in three months. Since I did this in ’09 with a group, I have read it from cover to cover again in ~three months in ’11, ’13, and ’15. The more I do this the more I recognize Old Testament ideas when they come up in the New Testament. Slowly you start to hear Jesus and it clicks that he is not saying new things, but quoting the prophets or quoting the law. These are things his listeners knew but I never really did until I starting reading. Take up and read!

    • Ambar SanchezMarcelo

      Thank you for your thoughts GW. It is very encouraging. I think I might do the same. Blessings.

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  • 4Commencefiring4

    Flying though the whole Bible in a year, or 90 days, or even less, is like flying over the country at 40,000 feet: Yes, you’ll “see” America, but until you have bought a bagel and cream cheese in a Manhattan bodega, or paid a toll on the New Jersey Turnpike, or watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery, or driven down the Blue Ridge Parkway in autumn, or taken the elevator up the Arc–the Gateway to the west–in St Louis, or walked through the gates at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or taken a tour with a Navajo Indian guide through Monument Valley, or walked into the Treasure Island Hotel on the Las Vegas strip, or looked up from the base of El Capitan at Yosemite, you haven’t seen America.

    Yes, reading it all quickly is better than not reading it at all. But doing so misses the fine detail that brings out the picture in HD. Slow down to a crawl, I say. What’s the rush?

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