It all started in late-2009. I was introduced to a guy who had read the whole Bible two or three times each year, for the last 30 years! He had been inspired by a guy who had done the same thing – for 50 years!

The seed was planted. Truth be told, while I thought it was pretty amazing, I tucked it away for a few months.

Then I was asked to speak at the monthly men’s breakfast at my church. I felt convicted that I should do a “Bible Read Thru” and wanted to invite some of the guys to join me. Six of them took me up on it.

It was four months of reading that changed my love – and understanding – of the Bible like nothing ever has!

The same was true for the other five guys in my group as well.

All of us thought it would be nearly impossible to read the whole Bible in four months. All of us ended up finishing early – including one guy who finished in 73 days! (Not kidding. You can read about it here.) Every one of us found it easier and more enjoyable than we thought it would be.

As I read, I found myself truly entering into the story. I made connections between different “stories” I had heard individually for so many years. I began seeing the people as real people, with real families, real struggles, and real redemption.

It was truly a beautiful, exciting, wonderful journey.

Most of us have done it again and again. In fact, I now start out every year by doing a four-month Bible Read Thru. This year, I have over 200 people who have joined me. They’re sharing daily in a private Facebook group, exchanging weekly emails, and participating in monthly conference calls. It is truly a blast!

The guidelines are extremely simple:

  1. Read the Bible. – The commitment is to read the whole Bible in four months. You can start in Genesis and read straight through to Revelation. You can read the Bible chronologically. (This is my favorite.) You can read one Old Testament book, one New Testament book and work your way through. However you want to do it is fine. Just commit to doing it in four months. By the way, it doesn’t take as much time as you would think. It’s about 40-50 minutes of reading each day. More than you’re doing now? Maybe. Impossible? No way.
  2. Take very few notes. – This is actually one of the hardest parts. Once you start reading large chunks of the Bible, you’ll want to look up a bunch of stuff or write down lots of questions. Resist the urge. Take no more than five notes per day, and keep those notes short. Limit your notes to the conversations you and God had that day. If you have a question you want to look up, write down the reference, but look it up at a different time. This is a Bible Read Thru, not a Bible study.
  3. Talk about it. – Sadly, this is the most ignored guideline. And yet, it makes all the difference! Find a few people who will do the Bible Read Thru with you. Grab coffee or lunch for an hour each week. Share the conversations you’ve had – and are having – with God over the previous week. Trust me. You will be amazed and inspired!

Take the challenge. It may very well be one of the best decisions you’ve made in a very long time. And who knows? Five years from now, it might be YOU writing about an annual tradition you started in 2014!

Question: What is holding you back from taking on the challenge?

This is the first of two four-month challenges. I’ll be sharing the second one – called the “New Disciple Challenge” next month. In case you want to find out more, I have devoted a whole chapter of my book 10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believing It’s True is Not Enough) to these two challenges.