Bible in One Year: January

If you've been following me on social media you might have seen that I've set myself the goal of reading the Bible in a year. In over 25 years of following Jesus, this is something I've never done. I mean, let's face it, a regular bible reading habit for me has been sporadic at best so reading the entire Bible in a year is a bit of a huge goal for me!

However, as I like to say, go big, or go home! I'm an all or nothing kind of gal and my goals need to be so big that they're almost unachievable. I need to have the fear of falling behind in order for me to keep up. And for the first time in my own little history, I'm sticking to a plan!

Sure, I've missed a couple days, however I've also been reading ahead when I've been enjoying it so the few days that I've missed (we're talking two or three) have easily been accounted for because most of the time I've been two days ahead anyway. 

So, we've reached the end of month one and I thought I would do a monthly update to keep myself on track. Where am I at? What have I been reading? What have I been learning? What's God been saying?

But before we get into the deep stuff - let me tell you about the plan that I'm following.

What plan am I following?

If you don't know what to read, or even if you don't have a Bible, then let em encourage you to download the YouVersion Bible App. It's totally free, you can access all the different versions of the Bible when you're online, download the ones you like for when you're offline, and jump on board with loads of reading plans according to topic, season of life or length. It's all there in your pocket and you can sync it across all your devices, take notes, highlight bits and bookmark bits. You can even join a community of people and see what others are saying too.

Now, I'm a paper Bible kind of gal, so I'm not actually using the app for my bible reading, but I am using it for a reading plan. I chose The Bible Project 365 plan, and I highly recommend it!

If you're not familiar with The Bible Project (I wasn't), then I encourage you to check it out. They produce high quality videos explaining different books of the Bible, themes and topics that run through the Bible and they take the Bible as a whole and unpack it really well (the theologians amongst us might call it exegesis).

So, back to the plan! It's done in order so you're not jumping about the place and you really get to grips with the narrative. Each day averages about four chapters so it's quite manageable, even for us busy folk. Every few days you get to watch a Bible Project video which explains the part of the Bible you're reading. Now, I've been around the Bible long enough to know these stories pretty well, but I feel like I'm learning and understanding things in a deeper way despite this, and really getting to grips with how the stories fit in the wider story - so I'll say it again: The Bible Project - highly recommended!

What have I read so far?

Well, I've arrived at the end of January, neatly tying up my journey through Genesis and Exodus (very satisfying!). I've been through Creation, the fall, Cain and Abel, Noah, Jacob, Joseph and then Moses and the Israelite's exit from Egypt. Honestly, it's been really fascinating and I'm seeing things I've never seen before. I could write absolutely loads about what I learnt this month, but for the sake of length, I've narrowed it down to three, all in Genesis... If you want three more for Exodus, let me know and maybe I'll do another post one day!

Three things that jumped out at me from Genesis:

1. God reaffirmed His promise to Abraham to every generation 
The generations that descended from Abraham didn't have to live clinging to a dream that their Great Grandfather had had centuries before they were born. God knew that in their humanity, that wouldn't be enough. As humans we often need to hear and experience things for ourselves and God accommodated that. He first gave a promise to Abraham in Genesis 12, He then affirms that promise in Genesis 17, He gives it to Isaac in Genesis 26 and then to Jacob in Genesis 28 and then again in chapter 35. Jacob also passed the promise down to Joseph's sons in chapter 48. God knows that we easily forget His promises! And throughout the story, when this promise is given, we often see a reminder set up. Abraham set up an altar, for instance. And during times of uncertainty, when doubt creeps in, he returned to this altar - reminding Himself of God's promises over His life. How often do we need to remind ourselves of God's promises? 

2. Humans mess up... A lot! 
As we follow the story through Genesis we can see that, no matter who you are, even Noah and Abraham, you mess up. Humans are clearly incapable of being good. Heck, you could have walked in the presence of God himself and been His best friend for a time, and you still do stupid things (ahem... Adam). In fact, humans are so stupid that they repeat their mistakes, and then even their sons don't learn from those mistakes, and they repeat the same mistakes (take Abraham and Isaac both lying about their wives being their sisters... Twice!). We never learn. We are inherently sinful. However, God still makes a way, he still wants to bless His people, He still turns bad into good - even when we try to take matters into our own hands and mess up ridiculously and hideously, He's right there with us and He's working in the background to turn things around. There is hope for all of us - no matter what we've done. He also always has a plan, and however hopeless the circumstances appear, God can propel you into your destiny in an instant (Joseph).

3. God cares deeply for women
There are a number of women in Genesis who, by our modern day standards, are treated horribly by men:
  • Adam didn't have Eve's back and was very quick to pass the buck. 
  • Abraham let Sarah down by going along with her plan and taking Hagar to bed, and also was happy to give her away to other men because he was too weak to defend himself. 
  • Hagar felt used and abused, unseen and unknown. 
  • Isaac, like his father, was also too afraid to admit that Rebekah was his wife (can you imagine how that feels?!). 
  • Rachel had to give way to her sister Leah - who had to come to terms with the fact that she was never wanted in the first place, and Jacob also went along with Rachel's plan by going to bed with her servant Bilhah - who probably felt pretty used and abused. 
  • Then there was Tamar who was widowed and then passed from pillar to post by her in-laws, finally being driven into prostitution and sleeping with her father-in-law in order to get what was rightfully hers in the first place. 
There was also the issue of infertility which was such a burden on so many of these women and whilst I know there were many cultural factors at play here, I can't help but think that the emotional toll on this group of sisters was huge! However, throughout all these events there are little snippets of God in amongst it all.

Hagar called Him El-roi... God sees me (16:13) and then an angel told her that God had heard her son (21:17). Leah came to the realisation that God had seen her (29:32), and heard her (29:33). God remembered Rachel (30:22). 

God sees you. He has heard you. He has not forgotten you and he cares deeply for you, even when you are caught in affliction, or when circumstances seem hopeless, or when you are mistreated, used and abused. He knows. And he blessed each and every one of these women in unique and precious ways, despite the odds being stacked against them. He was close to all of them, and revealed himself beautifully to them.

So, there you have it - the Bible in January.

Now, it's never too late to start and there's nothing magical about a 365 day cycle that starts on January 1st, so if this is something you would like to do, may I encourage you to just start? Or if 365 days is too big a goal, hop on over to YouVersion and pick a shorter plan - there's plans ranging from three days through to 21 or more and you should be able to find something that piques your interest, whether it's a theological study or a life application devotional.

To follow my journey, check out my Instagram where I'll be focusing on my readings more, or check back here at the end of February for a deeper reflection (Leviticus, ahhhh!). 

Otherwise, What are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments, on Insta, or Twitter!

Photo by chris liu on Unsplash

Bible in One Year: January Bible in One Year: January Reviewed by Love Emily on February 01, 2019 Rating: 5

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