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Bible Q&A: Are We Commanded to Read the Bible in One Year?

May 31, 2016

Question: I know how important it is to read God’s Word on a regular basis, but why the push to read through the Bible in one year? I have tried so many times, but have failed to do so. Is there a Scripture that commands doing this? Is there a reason why folks are so strongly encouraged to do so? Just curious. Thank you again. -Radio Listener from Pennsylvania


Your instincts on this question are very good. We’re never actually commanded in Scripture to read through the entire Bible. But we are encouraged, as you said, to read the Bible and meditate on it.

I suspect the reason there is so much encouragement out there to “read through the Bible in a year” is that there are many Christians who know only a few stories from the Bible, but who do not adequately see the “big picture” of the Bible. The thinking goes something like this: If we can get people to read through the Bible in a year, then they’ll begin to see how it all fits together.

Unfortunately, what you’ve experienced is something that many Christians have painfully discovered. Not only is it very difficult to read through the Bible in a year, but for many people, they get so anxious about getting behind, that it’s not very worshipful, and it defeats the very purpose of reading the Bible: to grow in love for the Lord and for others!

That goes without mentioning, many (if not most) people who attempt to read through the Bible get discouraged and quit along the way (anecdotally speaking, I have no scientific evidence to back that up). Trying to read through the Bible in a year is probably not the most profitable thing for every Christian to pursue. That’s why, instead of a big push to read through the Bible, we provide resources that help people grasp the “big picture” of the Bible, like the book 10 Keys for Unlocking the Bible.

I can say, confidently, that God does not expect every Christian to read through the Bible every year. There is no command to do this! So, feel free to read your Bible, mediate on the Word, but not read through the entire Bible this year. By the way, our devotional, The One Year Unlocking the Bible Devotionalis not a read-through-the-Bible devotional.

This devotional shows you how the Bible is actually one story that begins in a garden with two people, ends in a city with too many people to count, and all the way through points to Jesus Christ. It provides a daily verse and “for further reading” section, but you don’t actually read through the entire Bible.

I hope this has been helpful to you,

Pastor Tim

The Author
Tim Augustyn

Tim serves as the resident pastor, writer, and editor of Unlocking the Bible. He was born and raised in northern Wisconsin, came to faith in his 20's while working in the business world, and received a Master's in Divinity from Trinity International University. He is author of the children’s book Man on the Run, and co-author of The One Year Unlocking the Bible Devotional with Colin Smith. Tim and his wife, Janna, and their four kids live in Arlington Heights, Ill.

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