A few weeks ago I mentioned that I would start sharing reviews of the books that I have read this year. I thought it would be appropriate to begin with the book that I’ve been reading throughout the entire year. As you might imagine that book is the Bible. I have read it many times before in my lifetime, but I took a challenge from my friend Cheryl Doerr, to do it again this year. I thought it was a great idea because we could keep each other accountable. Little did I know how much I would need to lean on this precious book as the year unfolded.


The first time I accepted such a challenge was the first time I had ever read it from cover to cover. I’ll never forget that year. I was pregnant for the first time. While my son Matthew was growing inside of me, I pushed ahead with such strong conviction that I finished it while I was in the hospital after he was born on September 24, 1973.


This time Cheryl and her husband, Bob and I used one of the Navigator’s reading plans. [See www.navpress.com] The plan is called “The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan.” I like the format, which offers four different readings each day, two from the New Testament and two from the Old Testament, for twenty-five days each month. After the twenty-fifth day there is an opportunity to catch up if you happen to get behind. We are all on track to finish this Friday, December 25, Christmas day!


The difficult part for Cheryl and I was that at the same time we were both involved in Women’s Bible Study at our church. So being retired helped with all the extra reading and study we had to do. It probably helped that being asked to quarantine for months on end gave us plenty of time to read! Not that I’d recommend doing that ever again.


We began in Matthew, Acts, Psalms, and Genesis, and this Friday we will conclude with John, Revelation, Job and Malachi. What a great and rich time to study God’s word. This next year, 2021, my husband Rob plans to join in the challenge. I’m going to choose a more relaxed pace this time. I have a Life Application Bible, and I really like to read the footnotes as I go along. The Navigators and others offer several different plans. I would highly recommend digging in and doing it, especially if you never have before. So many have opinions for a book they have never bothered to read. This time I think I might like to read it chronologically. I just finished one of the most scholarly works putting all the pieces of the Bible into structure that my tendency to want to “organize everything,” finally placed it all in order.


That book is The Epic of Eden, by Sandra Richter. Next time, I’ll tell you all about that book. Stay tuned! So enjoy the holidays and think through the possibilities of the “challenge!”