I'm so thankful that Vera Jones shared this testimony with me. If you are wondering how you can soak up more of the Bible, this will be an encouragement and a help to you!
When our pastor (my husband Frank Jones) challenged our church to consider reading the Bible in 40 days, I thought, “Sure, why not? This is a win-win!”
I always read the Bible through each year. However, to read it in such large volumes at such a quick pace seemed daunting. Excuses flooded my mind, including my slow reading skills.
But as I thought about it, I realized that even if it took me longer than 40 days, and I did not meet the challenge goal, I was still reading my Bible. Pastor sweetened the challenge when he promised each participant the book by Dr. Timothy Berrey, 40 Days Through the Bible. I signed up, as did eight others in our church.
The first day of the new year was the start date and we began this journey. Pastor set up a text thread so we could encourage each other, post spiritual thoughts or nuggets we gleaned, share issues we were having, or get validation and help from the group.
But the first week of January, I became ill. I did not have a high fever, but my sickness sent me to the couch. During this down time, when I was awake, I read. Within about 72 hours, I had returned to health. But now I was ahead of schedule. I thought being ahead was important because I did not know what might derail some of my reading in the upcoming weeks. Sundays would be difficult for me to read such large portions of Scripture because the day is so packed. Thus, being ahead would allow me to finish on schedule.
Around 14 days into the reading, I found myself significantly ahead of the 40-day goal. My husband commented that it seemed like I was on pace for the 25-day challenge. When I checked the 25 Day Bible Reading Schedule in Dr. Berrey’s book, I realized I was even two days ahead of that one! I immediately switched plans and finished the reading in 20 days.
How did the Lord enable me to accomplish this?
1. I identified activities I could postpone.
Through the advice of two other people who have read the Bible in less than a year, I began looking at where I spend my time, and I quickly identified areas that could be set aside temporarily. Forty days is essentially 6 weeks. I knew I could catch up on those other things later.
2. I read and listened to the Bible.
I had a reading Bible and an audio Bible set in different books. This made it easy to mark my place in each and kept me from getting confused. I listened via the audio Bible to the majority of the OT, most of the gospels, and a few other NT books. The other books I read in my reading Bible. Taking turns between reading and listening to someone else read provided a variety that I appreciated. Between reading and listening, I was saturated with the Scriptures all day. It was transforming.
3. I multitasked whenever I could.
I listened while doing mundane duties of life like dressing, cooking, dishes, laundry, ironing, house chores, cleaning, exercising, and driving. The saturation of Scripture that was going on in my mind made these tasks more enjoyable.
How did the Lord bless me through this?
This was a challenge I will not forget. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned much.
I was illumined to a larger view of the Lord’s work. Patterns, repeated verses, and many of the Lord’s attributes and care were so much more evident.
Reading in large volumes is like a fly-over survey of the Scriptures versus a hike through the woods.
I have never read Joseph’s life and his bones returning to Canaan in the same reading section before. Reading books like Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther in one sitting brought a more complete picture of that time in Israel’s history. Reading all of Isaiah in one day was amazing!
This challenge was not a hard task and stimulated my growth in a unique way.
I would encourage anyone to take this challenge. It does not have to begin with the new year. You can even complete it in 20, 35, 40, or 60 days because Blessed is he that readeth… Rev 1:3a.
Contact us directly for a discounted price if you plan to purchase multiple copies of 40 Days Through the Bible for your ministry.
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Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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