Each year, many Christians and non-Christians set out to read the Bible in a year. Why do they do it? Or rather, to be antagonistic, why shouldn’t they do it? Here are 10 reasons not to read the Bible cover to cover this year.
- You don’t want to know how much God loves you.
The Bible is God’s revealed word to us, like a letter where he writes to us about everything he wants us to know about himself and about what kind of relationship he wants with us. Mostly, he coveys his undying love from the beginning of time.
- It may change your heart.
God’s word doesn’t return void, which means it either hardens us, or softens us toward the Lord. Either way, we are changed and change is scary.
- It may ask you to change your behavior.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’m a pretty good person. Until I read God’s condemnation to those who covet, complain, idolize, and more. Then I realize how much sin I do, how much good I don’t do, and how much I need Jesus’ forgiveness and the Holy Spirit’s daily help.
- You prefer self-reliance.
Reading the Bible may shake you to your very core, showing you how many times those who relied on themselves lost everything and were left with nothing.
- You don’t want to grow in your faith.
Those who pray for patience should be prepared for opportunities to be patient, and those who pray for growth in faith, should prepare for challenges that will produce growth.
- You’re afraid of failure.
If you should fail to read the Bible in a certain time period, then what?
- You prefer debates about short verses.
Reading the Bible beginning to end provides a grand sweep of the history between God and man. In the end, it’s much like buying a coat rack: Each time you study an individual book in depth, you can hang another coat on the rack. And each time you enter a debate, or are confused about a passage, you can better put it in context instead of interpret a verse incorrectly.
- You don’t want to understand Bible references in literature, movies, and even the newspaper.
Once you understand who the characters are and what they did, you’ll be a more comprehensive reader of literature and a winner at trivia games.
- It may become a habit that lasts longer than 90 days, or 365 days, or even years.
If you complete the goal of reading the Bible, you may find that it’s become a daily habit that can’t be shaken. Now I can tell the difference in my attitude and anxiety on days when I don’t read the Bible compared to days when I do.
- God may demand your life.
If you don’t believe you’re a sinner and don’t believe that Jesus died to save you from your sin, the Bible just may change your mind. And if it changes your mind, it means that like the fishermen or tax collectors of the New Testament, God may require you to give up everything and follow him. And that is terrifying. But it’s the best invitation in the world.
In 2012, like many other people, I set out to read the Bible in year. Thanks to my canonical plan on my smartphone’s Bible app, I was able to stay on track for most of the year. But like 90 percent of people, I didn’t hit Revelation by December 31st. Now it’s early January, and I’m determined to finish it anyway. My biggest fear in starting out on this journey was that I would fail. And though I did, in the sense that I didn’t make it in a year, I realize that even the desire to say I had done it was pride. Failure is in quitting altogether.
What I have learned along the way, and how I have grown along the way—namely in patience, calmness of spirit, and knowledge of God’s love—is priceless beyond any bragging rights to having completed a New Year’s resolution for 2012.
If you find that one of these reasons not to read the Bible is one of yours, I challenge you to take a risk and at least hear what God has to say to you—no matter how long it takes.