The whole thing

The weather forecast warned of high winds, so it was no surprise that the shrieking gusts persisted late into the evening. It only took two steps onto the back porch the next morning to see the portable shed, set up only a few months ago, was destroyed. It was upended, and its frame lay like a giant, dead, twisted spider in the tomato garden.

The various pots and garden tools, never as picturesque as the clay pot groupings in the garden magazines anyway, were now littered across the neighbor’s yard.

Ah, another garden failure to mark the year’s end! My one last “ugly spot” in the yard had been finished only weeks before, and I was finally done with garden cleanup — or so I had thought.

It caused me to question this “all or nothing” mentality of not being satisfied until the whole yard is presentable.

We could look at the Bible as sums of its parts, and treat it the same way as I have previously treated the yard. We work on our favorite parts (or books), but never address it as a whole.

A question arose among my friends asking who has read the Bible all the way through, and some of the answers — and the percentage of people who have read the whole book —were surprising.

It could be my own childhood deprivation of the Bible that made me so hungry, but when I heard that there was a book that God gave to mankind, I wanted to find one and read it! When I was finally given a Bible at age 11, I read the whole thing cover to cover. I can’t say I understood it very well. Months, maybe years went by before I found someone who could tell me what “begat” meant!

Just yesterday during our family’s nightly Bible reading, I noticed something in a context that hadn’t been evident to me before. This was not the first, nor second, nor twenty-second time I had read or heard this chapter, but still I learned something new!

This is not an uncommon phenomenon, even among the most learned Bible scholars. This is why a single reading of the Bible is not nearly enough!

It takes only three or four chapters a day to read the whole Bible in a year’s time. But there is no compulsion to read it within one calendar year. If you just read one chapter instead of three, you will still read the entirety of God’s revealed word in a relatively short time. The important thing is, it’s not difficult!

Bible reading is a luxury that early Christians couldn’t enjoy. While it is not a condition of salvation, we will certainly be blessed, edified, and uplifted by reading the whole Bible. Different reading plans can give you both Old and New Testaments each day, or a chronologically ordered reading, or a simple Genesis-to-Revelation reading.

This doesn’t mean we should neglect deeper study. We need to stay recharged by regular Bible study, and we need to take ownership of our own spiritual nutrition.

We miss a lot by not reading the whole Bible. Some of my friends depended on classes and sermons at their church, others on a Christian school. These are great places to learn, but like my garden shed, things might not stay where we put them — including spiritual concepts in our brains!

Regular Bible reading can be like stacking plant pots, putting things back in order when the high winds of life seems to rearrange your world. Let me challenge you to read your Bible. The whole thing!

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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One thought on “The whole thing

  1. Tina, I love reading your thoughts and truly love the perspective you bring to the articles you write. I especially liked this one. I cannot count the times I have read a familiar passage, only to see a brand new idea or word. I have remarked to myself ‘how did you miss this before?’. I love to challenge myself to read the Bible through each year, or to listen to audio recordings. I also make a point of using a different version most of the time as my early studies were all King James and more recently have been in New American Standard (Thank you Brother Tharpe). Each version brings a different perspective. Keep up the good work with your articles. Tony Boyd

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