“I have just finished reading the Bible through, today, for the fortieth time in forty years.”—Hudson Taylor
I remember like it was yesterday when I read that quote (from Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, page 240). I could take you to the exact spot in our basement where I was sitting when those words tugged my heart.
Actually, they didn’t tug. They captured. They resolved.
I was thirteen or fourteen years old, and something inside of me said, “If Hudson Taylor could read the Bible through once a year for forty years, I can too. And in forty years, I want to be able to say the same.”
Yesterday, I reached the halfway mark—twenty times through.
I read Revelation 22:21, closed my Bible, and thanked God for His Word…and for the ability to read it. Twenty times through changes you.
I have several more years to get to the forty mark, so I can’t tell you yet what it’s like to reach this goal. But I can tell you a bit about the journey.
I began this journey with less than a focused heart. I just wanted to reach a goal. But somewhere in that first year, I developed the habit of journaling during my Bible reading.
It changed my life. Literally.
And now I have an eight-volume (so far) record of the Bible reading journey. What I have found is that when I approach God’s Word with a hungry heart open to the Holy Spirit, He speaks to me through it. And He changes me.
Made not born
When I started the biography of Hudson Taylor that I mentioned above, I saw him as a sort of spiritual giant, someone who I would never be like.
But in that one sentence from the book—the one about him reading through his Bible forty times in forty years—I began to understand how spiritual giants develop.
Here’s the secret: they’re made, not born. The God of Hudson Taylor is my God. And the Bible that Hudson Taylor read, studied, and loved is my Bible.
If you and I will follow the spiritual disciplines of spiritual giants with a heart of faith, we, too, will be transformed by the Holy Spirit to the likeness of Christ.
We think of spiritual giants as being above us. They’re not. They simply read and love God’s Word. Anyone can do that. I can do it. You can do it.
A simple decision
What would it take for you to decide to read the Bible through forty times?
What would it take for you to decide to read it through just once? This year?
It doesn’t really matter how you do it or where you start. I’ve used a variety of methods—beginning to end, chronological, Old and New Testament together and separately, in print, on kindle—it’s all good. Journaling definitely adds clarity to the journey and helps you know where you’ve been. A Bible reading schedule (see earlier links) is invaluable.
But the most important part is that you just do it.
Open your Bible, and read it. Start today.
From the halfway mark, I can assure you, it’s a wonderful journey!