What I Learned From Reading the Bible in a Year

Last year, I made a Liturgical New Year’s Resolution to read the Bible in one year, following Meg Hunter-Kilmer’s one-year Bible reading plan. I didn’t technically finish in one year, but I am on track to finish by the end of 2023—much to my surprise. It was an audacious goal, and I tend to be better at big ideas than follow-through, so I have to attribute my success to the Holy Spirit. I think God wanted me to read the Bible through this year, because it has brought me so much closer to him. In particular, here are a few things I learned that have deepened my relationship with the Lord:

1. What Jesus Sounds Like

My husband and I started watching “The Chosen” in 2020, when we were still engaged. I’m a big fan of the show; it’s a powerful tool for starting or continuing to build a relationship with Jesus (and the saints who were his friends).

Reading the Bible every day is the vital next step. After having spent some time with Scripture almost every day this year, I can confidently say that my No. 1 recommendation for anyone wanting to be closer to the Lord is to read the Bible every day—at the very least the Gospels. Reading Jesus’ words and reading about his actions helps you get to know him so that you can start recognizing his voice and the way he is working in your own life. Soon, Jesus starts to feel like a friend rather than a distant God you can’t know personally.

2. How Patient God Is

When you’re dipping into it every day, you realize the Old Testament is basically one long history of people turning away from God and God continually forgiving them and loving them. It disproves the idea that the “Old Testament God” is vengeful and angry and the “New Testament God” is loving and forgiving. Rather, you see that Jesus and the Father really are one and the same—full of love for their children and always, always ready to be merciful.

3. How Important Women Are

So often, Christianity is painted as a misogynistic religion with a domineering patriarchy. That hasn’t been my experience of the Church, and it also wasn’t my experience reading the Bible. The women of Scripture are like the women of “The Lord of the Rings”—fewer in number, perhaps, but playing a unique and critical role. From trusting Hannah to loyal Ruth to brave Esther to downright scary Judith, the women of the Old Testament are strong and fierce. Then, in the New Testament, you have Anna the Prophetess, Elizabeth (mother of John the Baptist), Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha of Bethany, the woman at the well, the women who “provided for [Jesus and the disciples] out of their resources” (Luke 8:2), Priscilla and Lydia from Acts of the Apostles … and literally the queen of them all, Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

As a woman, I feel so treasured by God when I read about these saints!

A New Year’s Resolution

I encourage you set a New Year’s Resolution to read from the Bible every day. Even if you don’t finish the Bible in 2023, reading God’s voice each day will bring you closer to him. After all, how can you have a relationship with someone if you never listen to anything they say? Maybe start with the daily readings just to build the habit; then, pick a “Bible in a Year” plan for 2024. I promise it will be the most important resolution you make this year.

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