Updated: Oct 9, 2020
This is a continuation of my journey reading The Holy Bible from cover to cover. In this piece I will cover why I did it, what I learned, my struggles, my feelings afterwords and advice.
Why did I do it?
A few years ago I got quite distant from God and started doing my own thing. Not going to church and just praying to him at night. I didn't agree with some things I heard at church and since I was not living "the right way" I felt out of place going to Church. Through that season God kept calling me back to him. Many times I ignored him because of the anger, pain, and depression I was going through. Jesus help me. I wanted to KNOW God. I wanted to stop feeling so broken. I wanted to get to know the God of the Bible and the stories myself. Not lean on someone else for all my spiritual feeding.
What did I learn?
What I got from reading the Bible is understanding why certain things run the way they do. How God has worked through people to get his message across and continues to do so to this day. I noticed that some of the gospels were very repetitive, but it was really different people telling stories from their perspective. What I enjoyed about that is, I was able to remember some scriptures more since I heard it a few times, but also that each story comes from a different set of eyes and way of life. All of the disciples did not come from the same upbringing or even jobs. For example a fisherman and a tax collector. The little details that one would write about and the other wouldn't, was interesting.
Throughout reading the Bible I was shown how much grace God did/does have for his children. There were many times that it stated that he wanted the people repent (to turn from their wicked ways). That life does not come from feeding every desire that we have. That the more we feed these things the more we will thirst for them. The only living water is Jesus, He will give us water that will quench the thirst of our souls. There were many times I just felt empty in spirit and it wasn't until I was reading the Bible and spent time with God that that void started being filled. I did not always feel this way before. Even now I know there are times I may not want to read it because of what I am facing. There were more things I felt more convicted about doing or saying, after my eyes were opened to new wisdom.
What stood out to me was that the world is full of many sayings and guidelines that come from the Bible, but people reject the Bible. They do not know that what they are saying comes from the Bible. I ran into the wisdom paradox- the more I learned the more I realized I don't know. It's a strange concept and feeling.
Reading the Bible for myself I was able to see there was more than the same 15 stories churches like to replay. I saw different characters, including many female characters; that made a difference in the Bible. Reading the Bible has a bizarre effect, because the more you read it the more it tells you about yourself and your life. You can read the same story at different parts of your life and get different revelations/perspectives. I couldn't understand how one book could teach me, make me cry, and more. How could one book reveal millions of different thoughts for me and everyone who reads it. That is fascinating. Not only did reading it check a goal off of my list, but reading it made me want to change things about me. I wanted to become a better person that resembled Jesus. I am not perfect nor will I ever be. I constantly make mistakes and could improve in certain areas, but I am making progress.
I was shown in the Bible, that Jesus loves me despite me being imperfect. He doesn't want me to stay in sin though. Growing up in church there was a lot of .. "if you do this you are going to hell." I was in constant fear of everything I was doing. Instead of being corrected or guided in love some people just fed that fear. Fear just has you want to run away and hide, instead of going to your Heavenly father with your mess. God created us and knows all parts of us. He knows the parts that you hide from everyone else. You don't have to go perfect for him perfect. Reading the Bible had confirmed to me that the priest/pastors are not the only ones that can hear from God. They are not perfect. I do not have to go to only the pastor for forgiveness, all of the answers, or healing. This can be done through God himself. They are a RESOURCE not THE-SOURCE! If you only live your relationship with God through the pastor you will only ever get a piece of it. Their relationship will be completely different from yours. They can teach and guide you but your relationship with God CANNOT depend on anyone else but yourself. I was able to go back to the Bible and see what they were teaching lined up with scripture. I was able to see what pastors I wanted to learn from and who was sugar coating the scripture.
What were my struggles?
My top struggle was remaining consistent. That is why this year I started off with the YouVersion Bible plan on top of finishing it separately from it. I wanted to keep the Habit going and not just binge reading whenever I felt like it. I wanted to form a discipline. Creating discipline foundations, in certain areas, helped me improve others. I also struggled understanding certain words, topics and parables. I felt like I had to look some things up to get a better understanding of what I was reading. It helped having different translations and also checking the internet on some more reliable sites. There was A LOT of information to take in. Taking it bits at a time makes it better to digest and apply.
I want to keep learning about Jesus and his mission and the people that accompanied him. I want to understand more of what was going on in the time and why certain things were done. If we don't have other context we may miss how impactful something is because of the little details. Culture differences, the roles of people, location, clothing, etc. You may not know why someone mentioning sandals is important in one story, but then doing more research you can comprehend that the different classes had particular footwear. So someone not wearing/wearing certain things would tell you more about where they came from. Their roles and then these things would change the perception of the story.
Reading about the animal sacrifices was very painful for me!
How do I feel?
I feel happy that I accomplished my goal. I still feel overwhelmed at the amount of information that went on in the Bible. I am grateful that I was able to do that and not be killed for even owning the Bible. It's crazy how that is happening in this day and age. I pray that more people get to read it freely and can have their lives changed. I am astonished at how one book impacted me so much. I feel like a different person than when I first started reading pieces of it 3 years ago, let alone a year ago. I used to say why is there no guidebook to life! The Holy Bible is one. The more time you spend with it, you will see how the stories can be applied to you. I feel like my heart still longs for more time with God. The God that is painted in society is not everything there is to know about him. There is a lot in the Bible. There is murder, scandals, drama, heartbreak, wisdom, death, love, humor, action, war, everything. The book that I thought was so boring before now gave me many entertaining stories to talk about. I am happy that God sent his messages to these people to impact billions of people throughout the earth and in different generations. How thoughtful of him to want to create a relationship with us, with ME. That no matter what is going on with the people around me I can go to God or the Bible for some comfort.
I also have this feeling like I get with any good book. "ok now what." I'm sitting with awe, confusion, and a lot of overwhelming feelings. In reading the Bible I was able to remember some things I had forgotten about and also it highlights to me the reality of the earth we live on. That it is not only battles of flesh we are dealing with but there are more battles going on.
God has got our back. We just have to keep following him. I know reading the Bible won't get me extra brownie points or get to skip the line to get into heaven, but I hope that God at least recognizes my sacrifice and the time I spent with him. That I want to continue to build that relationship with him.
create a plan
be flexible if one way doesn't work for you
take notes, write questions, research and pray about them.
Make it about wanting to get to know him too; not just the check off point or you can miss a lot.
give yourself grace
To see part one of this article click here. You can find my relationship with The Bible before reading it, resources, and what I did while I read.
If you have questions please feel free to comment below or send me an email!.