Okay so we talked about reading the Proverbs and reading the Gospel.  Another way to experience the bible is from cover to cover!  This may seem like a daunting task but I recommend everyone do it just once.  Even if the only reason you do it is so that when someone challenges you about not having even read the whole bible, you can confidently state that you have.

Now, if you’re going to take on the challenge of reading the bible cover-to-cover, here are few recommendations I have:

  1. Be patient with yourself.  The Old Testament was written so long ago that it can feel like it’s written in a foreign language.  Don’t beat yourself up for not understanding all of it.
  2. Don’t let it get you down.  I know that when I first went through the Old Testament, the amount of marital infidelity and violence really cast a darkness over me.  It’s like all I could see what how hard life was back then or how little women were valued during those days.  Even the good guys were cheating on their wives!  And really after a while, I felt discouraged.  The important thing to keep in mind is that times WERE different back then.  Praise God that we’ve come so far in protecting the rights of women, children and the unborn.  And keep telling yourself that this is the whole build up to JESUS coming!  We sure did need Him to come.
  3. Yes you can skim some parts!  I run my finger over every single word but when you get to the parts where, “When Seth was one hundred and five years old, he begot Enosh.  Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after her begot Enohs, and he had other songs and daughters.”  There’s lots of X begot Y talk and though I let my eyes see everyone, I’m not exactly reading slowly and trying to memorize it.  Got me?  There are several parts in Numbers that you can do this with too.  And hey, if you want to become a theologian, by all means dig in.  But if you’re not ready for that yet, don’t feel bad about going quickly.
  4. Find a buddy!  For any big task that you take on, I highly recommend finding an accountability partner.  Even if you just check in once a week about your progress, it’ll give you that extra little motivation you need to stay on track!
  5. Ask God to help you!  The devil hates it when we read the bible.  He will do everything he can to distract you or make you want to give up.  Say many prayers to God asking for His strength to tackle this task.”Lord, I don’t feel like reading the bible today.  Please plant a seed in my heart so my desire to know you is greater than my desire to consume entertainment of this world.”

“…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Phillippians 2:12

I’ve always found it a difficult balance to think of the great God who loves me but also to be appropriately fearful of His righteous anger.  We sin against Him daily and that does make Him righteously angry.  We should feel shame for those sins.  That feeling is what prompts us to take those sins to the cross and ask for forgiveness.  And of course we are always forgiven, that’s what’s amazing about God Our Father.

But if you are always thinking of your happy Father up in Heaven, I want to challenge you to look at your own sin as well.  I’m often amazed when I read the lives of the Saints that they are so hard on themselves.  But that’s what happens the more you come to know the heart of Christ.  You begin to realize how very often we are sinning against Him even in small ways.  But this is great because awareness, even of micro-sins, brings us to Him in repentance and that is what He desires from us.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Phillippians 4:8

I simply had to include this.  I know it’s popular but it’s popular for a reason.  We have this quote framed and hanging in our schoolroom to remind us to guard our minds.  We must be constantly working to expose ourselves to beautiful and true things from God and to block out anything that does not honor Him.  That’s a tall order but especially as Catholic moms, this is a battle we must wake up ready to fight every day!

Good luck bible readers!  My hope is that all Catholics can one day say, “Yes, I’ve read the whole bible!”