Think with me…how many times have you made a goal to read your Bible from front to back? Next, how many times have you completed that goal? For me, the success rate of that goal was pretty much 0. Until 2019 when I learned how to read the Bible in one year AND actually understand what I read!
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When we moved to Germany in 2018, I began thinking through what my Bible study time would look like. With no church home or friends (yet), I knew that studying the Bible would be completely and totally up to me.
The Christmas prior, I had received a She Reads Truth Bible. In the back was a “read the Bible in 365 days” plan. (Although, to be fair, I’m pretty sure most Bibles have that.)
So it was settled, I’ve always wanted to read the Bible in its entirety. And this resource would show me how to read the Bible in one year.
It felt a little daunting because I had tried reading the Bible from beginning to end a few times before and never made it very far. Not to mention, how well would I actually understand what I was reading?
How to Read the Bible in One Year with The Bible Recap
Enter… The Bible Recap!
One day while tuning into one of my favorite podcasts- The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, I heard her interview a woman named Tara-Leigh Cobble.
TLC was sharing all about her new podcast airing on January 1, 2019- The Bible Recap.
The Bible Recap follows a one-year chronological reading plan and reads the Bible, from beginning to end, with a short 10-minute podcast recap (often less) breaking down the highlights of what you just read.
Hearing TLC talk about this immediately got my attention. It timed up perfectly with what I wanted my next Bible study to be and it took the big weight off my shoulders of having to figure out what everything meant.
I immediately listened to the prep episodes where she explained how the podcast would work. TLC shared her story and how she created a whole podcast breaking down passages of the Bible. (2019 was her 10th year reading through the Bible from beginning to end!).
On January 1, 2019, I opened up my Bible excited and eager to see what new things I could learn about God. On the very first day, my mind was blown.
Jesus was at the creation. I had never heard that before, but sure enough, scripture says it. (Genesis 1:26, John 1:1-4, Colossians 1:15-16)
God was written on every single page– even the ridiculously long genealogies and in the details of Temple dimensions.
TLC challenged us to look for a God shot each and every day. In all of the passages we read each day, where did you see God show up?
I faithfully did my best to show up each and every morning and see what God had to show me about himself. Even on the days when we were traveling, I tried my best to listen to the day’s reading + the recap while I was getting ready. (I learned quickly that traveling with my Bible was a waste of valuable space. It never got opened.)
I admit that some days were really hard. Many times I completely zoned out. I’d listen to the recap podcast and she’d mention something from our reading that rang no bells.
I’d have to go back into the text and I’d regretfully realize “I totally zoned out there.”
But then…on December 31, 2019 at like… 11:53 PM, I read the very last line.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.Revelation 22:20-21
3 Key Take-aways from The Bible Recap
While learning how to read the Bible in one year, a few big things stuck out for me in new ways. I am forever changed by what I learned from actually reading the Bible in its entirety.
Here are the biggest takeaways I took from my trip through the Bible (with the help of TLC and The Bible Recap).
1. God is So Kind
I, like a lot of other people, found myself thinking of God as the mean man up in the sky casting down firebolts when people make mistakes. To be honest, I still struggle with believing God’s kindness for me.
When reading the Old Testament, I saw how incredibly kind he is. The Bible Recap helped me understand what I was reading- things that, to me, seemed harsh but were actually God’s complete and total kindness.
God was compassionate, patient, and gave his people SO many chances to come back to him. He never lost hope for them. His desire was always to be with his people.
It was them (us) who continuously chose to walk away from him.
2. God’s Provision for the Marginalized
Throughout the whole Old Testament, God is constantly laying out provision for the widows, poor, and marginalized. Some resources I found said caring for the poor is mentioned in the Bible over 300 times.
I always knew it was good to provide for those who are unable to provide for themselves.
But I never knew how important this was to God. Page after page after page were instructions to prioritize caring for others. God continuously calls us to put others before ourselves.
And, the key to that is not just to put others before ourselves who look/act/think/work like us. But those who don’t.
I saw Jesus go out of his way to be with those who were against him. I saw the way he prioritized women in a society that valued women only as caretakers and baby-makers.
I saw the way he extended compassion to those who betrayed, denied, mocked, and ridiculed him (Judas, Peter the criminal crucified beside Jesus).
Seeing this on every page of scripture radically changed the way I viewed people, politics, and the purpose of my vote. (Hint: it’s not about me!)
3. It’s not about me
Every Bible study I’ve ever done, really up until this one, was always telling me to look for what God was teaching me. I constantly looked at scripture trying to find me in it. What is God telling me I need to do?
Through reading the Bible with TLC and listening to her recaps, I learned that it’s not about me.
I don’t read the Bible to see what God has to say about me. I read the Bible to see what God has to say about himself. And when I can know him better, then I can know myself better.
Of course, I learned waaayyy more than what I’ve shared above.
- It’s one story and the whole thing is connected and woven together
- Jesus is all throughout the Old Testament– in the spiritual and physical (look up Theophanies and Christophanies)
- Context matters for every piece of scripture you read. What was the culture at that time?
- The original language matters when trying to figure out what a passage says
- God pays attention to detail, which means it’s okay that I pay a lot of attention to detail. That part of God is reflected in the way he made me.
Year Two with The Bible Recap
In 2020 I decided to go through it again. This time I had the whole big picture which helped a lot.
To be honest, though, it was harder to read it the second year. It was harder for me to stay focused and really hard for me to interpret what things meant instead of relying on what I remembered TLC saying the last time I read through it.
In 2020, I added on the Bible Kneecap upgrade, which was a short daily prayer that tied into what we read that day. Through this, I learned more about how to structure my prayers and pray through scripture.
TLC also released the recaps in book form in 2020 and I got a copy. I really like having the option of listening or reading the recap.
In 2021 I’ll be taking a break from Bible Recap. Not because I don’t think it’s great or don’t want to do it. (I do want to!)
But I think I need to try something different for a bit. I don’t want to become complacent in my study and I felt myself doing that through parts of the study this year.
Getting Started with The Bible Recap
In 2019 I went solo. No one but me and the Facebook Group for The Bible Recap.
In 2020 I invited a handful of friends to do it with me. To my knowledge, 15 or so people joined in in 2020 simply because I shared the resource with them (or…never stopped talking about it. Either one is possible!).
I invited my closest girlfriends to do it with me and absent-mindedly put something about it on Instagram.
The next thing I knew my friends’ husbands, parents, cousins, and friends joined in. People I rarely even talk to said they saw my post about it and started it.
It’s CRAZY. It’s crazy that in a time in history when Christianity seems so unpopular and politicized, that people are still craving truth.
I hope that in 2021, you’ll give it a shot. It’s super easy to do and literally requires no resources (not even a special Bible) to get started.
Plus, it’s free. All you need is a Bible (or Bible on your phone) and a podcast player. And 20-30 minutes each day. That’s it!
Let me know if you do, I’d love to cheer you on
Until next time,