How I Failed to Read the Bible in 90 Days

Right now, I’m in the middle of reading the Bible through for the seventh time. My story, though, is a story of a series of failures, not successes.

In my early days as a Christian, the pastor of my church once encouraged everyone to read the Bible with him in a year. And most everyone failed, including myself. At the end of the year, despite my failure, I was at least convicted that I needed to read the Bible cover to cover.

Because every time I read God’s word, especially whole passages and not isolated verses, I understood it in a profound new way. Every time, there’s more for me to take to heart in my life story.

So that year, I picked up my Bible again, and read it in 18 months instead of 12.

Thirteen years later, I was busy as the speaker and leader at Haven Ministries, and something made me recall that my predecessor, Ray Ortlund, used to read a new copy of the Bible through each year—making underlines and jotting down notes.

And again, I was convicted that I needed to read the Bible cover to cover. 

But it didn’t happen until I heard about the Bible in 90 Days program. At first, I laughed. I thought the program was a gimmick. I thought it was something an ad agency came up with. And surely, it couldn’t be a holy way to read the book.

A few months went by and then I met the former agnostic who came up with the Bible in 90 Days. He was a computer programmer who thought, what if I divided God’s word in equal number of verses over a short period of time, and then just pray?

God, if you’re really there, just show yourself to me.

When I heard about how Ted Cooper ended up meeting the God of Creation and his son Jesus Christ, I was convicted yet again about how I not only could do this, but that I needed to do this.

Like all of us, I’m busy. What’s worse, I’m busy in the ministry. So the last six times that I’ve started reading the Bible through in 90 days, I’ve been interrupted by speaking engagements, plane trips to conferences, leading a trip through Israel. It’s not always possible for me to read the Bible every day.

But praise God, that even if it’s May and not March when I finish reading the Bible, that I’ll still finish the Bible in 90 days one more time. (Not consecutive days, OK, but 90 days still!)

Getting that 30,000-foot view of the Bible is worth it. It helps me put specific verses and even theology in context. It answers so many questions I have.

Do you want to read the Bible in 90 days? Or 180 days? Or a year? Sign up, and let us encourage you with weekly overviews, insights, and encouragement from other readers.

Wanting to do this is the first part. But you can’t want it or do it unless the spirit of the Lord helps you. You can’t do it on your own.

Lord, help us to desire to meet you in your word. 

As the leader of the 80-year-old Haven Ministries, Charles Morris is always thinking of ways to lead Christians and non-Christians to Christ—hence the familiar slogan, “Telling the great story … it’s all about Jesus.” Charles is a former secular journalist, working for United Press International, and a former press secretary for two U.S. senators. After seminary, he started working in the Christian world, coming to Haven as the fourth speaker in 2000. He and his wife Janet are looking forward to their soon-to-be-released book Missing Jesus: Find Your Life in His Great Story

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