Goal #2: Finish Reading the Bible in 40 Days!

In October I challenged myself to finish what I started, I set a number of goals for myself, the first being: Read 15 books before 2020—I finished on the 27th of December, 2019. The next day I began my second goal: Finish Reading the Bible in 40 Days! On the 31st of January, 2020, with five days to go, I have completed that goal!

Before I go further, I would like to explain in depth what I meant by “finish” in my goal title. This means I never actually read the Bible from cover to cover, as far as I know, anyway—there’s really no way to know for certain if you don’t keep track of what you’ve read. So, the word “finish” in my goal title, meant I was only going to read that which I might not have read yet—which was about half the Bible.

This goal was important for me for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I’m a Christian, I wanted to make Bible reading a major part of my life—just like breathing. In order to adopt the habit of Bible reading, I felt I needed to “blitzkrieg” it! Secondly, I’m a writer, and some of the things I’m working on are from a Christian perspective. A Christian author who has never read the Bible cover-to-cover? That sounds contradictory, doesn’t it?

How I did it.

1. Time

One of the most important things to realize when taking that first step of reading the Bible, is that we have enough time to actually do it. And you don’t have to read your daily number of verses in one sitting! 

When you’re on your break at work, instead of socializing with your colleagues, find a quiet place to read your Bible. Explaining to your colleagues what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, may open doors to spread the gospel. And your colleagues may be considerate so you’ll be able to concentrate. Or perhaps you can wake up a little earlier, or set apart time before you go to bed to read the Bible.

2. Planning

I took a look at the plan I once started (but never finished) in my Bible app ‘YouVersion’, and listed everything I had read. Then I opened a ‘Google Sheets’ document where I used to keep track of my Bible reading progress, and combined my progress from YouVersion with the existing Google Sheets document.

In total there are 66 books, 1,189 chapters and 31,102 verses in the Bible. I had read a total of 39 books, 603 chapters and 15,912 verses. That’s a little over 51%.

This meant, to reach my goal I needed to read 397.8 verses per day.

3. Reading

There are two ways you can read the Bible; by reading a physical Bible, or through a Bible app. A physical Bible has no push notifications to distract you, but a Bible app has an audio option so you can listen and read simultaneously. I personally liked to listen and read the Bible simultaneously, this way my surroundings wouldn’t distract me. I read fast, so I chose the 1.5x and 1.75x speed options.

That’s all! Just those 3 things helped me reach my goal in time!

Note: If you want to set a goal, also set a deadline!

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Click here for an example of my Google Sheets document, you can copy it to your own Google Drive and edit it there. It comes with all the resources you need to keep track of your Bible reading progress!

My progress

Because I wasn’t sure I was going to finish this goal when I started, I wanted to motivate myself. For me, this meant I had to finish as many Bible books as I could in the beginning, so I wouldn’t be reluctant to finish my goal. I decided to sort the Bible books by length, and finish the shortest first.

In total, I skipped 12 days, and I finished 5 days earlier than I originally anticipated—so I actually read half the Bible in 23 days. Five of those days, I read over 1,000 verses. If you read between 1,004 and 1,037 verses per day, you’ll read the whole Bible in one month!

Translation

I have read through the Bible in two languages and multiple translations, and I must say my preference goes out to ESV (English Standard Version)—easy to read and close to the original translation.
Now that I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover for the first time, I’ve started my new Bible reading plan: to read the Bible chronologically in one year.