All 66 Books: Background
If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed I am doing something called #All66Books. It’s where I am taking the time to just read each book of the Bible in as few sittings as possible. I felt led to share that journey with you, especially if you struggle with getting into the Bible. I plan on making this a series as I have a lot to share, including the resources that helped me go deeper after I did my first run through. Let’s start with some background information.
The early days of my Christian journey are kind of murky for me. I remember going to church with my aunt when I would visit my family in North Carolina. I remember my mom dressing my sister and me up for Easter and us driving to the church she grew up in and then having dinner with family afterward. But it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that my mom began going to church regularly, and by default, I started to as well. But partway through the year, I moved in with my dad, and I didn’t keep up the habit. I don’t remember going back until after I graduated, and even then it was maybe only once or twice a month if that. One thing that came out of my short stint at church was I bought my first Bible. I felt like I needed one to keep up with them at church, even though I would feel embarrassed when I could find the book they wanted us to flip to. I also tried to read it through. I started in Genesis and gave up around Leviticus. Throughout the next ten years, even though I wasn’t big into going to church, I would pick up my Bible, time and time again, to try and see what the big fuss was about. But I didn’t understand it, so the habit didn’t stick.
Searching For More
Fast forward to 2016/2017, where I seriously rededicated my life to Christ and decided to find a church home. After realizing that the Bible was a story about God, I wanted to reread it, but I still didn’t know how. At this time, I felt an impression that God wanted me in His Word, but I didn’t see anyone in my life doing this. Even when I found a church home, I rarely saw people with Bibles. Even in the church, most people relied on the scripture on the screen or their phones. During this time, I started to take some Bible classes in college. I felt like I needed help to read the Bible. The classes were terrific, and they taught me some things that I wasn’t learning anywhere else. I learned about how many books there were, how it came about, and the different parts. It fed my need for knowledge, but I still wasn’t actually reading the Bible. At most, I was doing one or two verses a day via devotionals.
The more I was getting plugged into the church, the more I was coming into contact with people who seemed to have the same hunger for learning and wanting to read the Bible, that I did. They didn’t know how and didn’t know where to start. Unfortunately, at that time, our church wasn’t helping. You see, I felt like I needed someone else to guide me through the Bible for me to understand it. I figured since I didn’t see everyday Christians in their Bibles, maybe it wasn’t meant for us to understand it truly. That’s what Pastors were for. To teach us what the Bible says. But I would go to leadership and ask questions about the Bible, and I was always told they would get back to me, and they never did. I was a group leader at the time and asked if I could start a small group to study the Bible. I was heartbroken when I was told no, we couldn’t study the Bible. I did what any millennial would do. I headed to the internet and found some resources like The Bible Project and Bible Talk.TV. I slowly started to dive into those resources, but I felt alone, and like I couldn’t talk to anyone about what I was reading. I felt like our leaders were pushing going to church, serving in the church, and talking about different topics that would be supported by one or two Bible verses but not actually to read the Bible itself. So I got wrapped up in doing all of those things to be, what I thought looked like, a good Christian.
But my thirst for the Word didn’t go away. And the more I tried to be a good Christian, the more I felt like I was failing. I was getting all of my “how to be a good Christian” from church and still wasn’t reading the Bible for myself. Everything felt like it was falling apart, and things were honestly not sitting well with my spirit. I was having more questions and getting more of the runaround. Even going to people who I thought were my wise counsel and people who I looked up to, I realized they were doing what I was doing. They weren’t really in the Bible. They were doing things for appearances. They took the time to memorize the most popular Bible verses, but they couldn’t tell you anything more than that. (I don’t want to discount the couple of people that I knew that were indeed in their Bible daily reading and studying. But they weren’t always in a season where they were available to help.) I realized that this didn’t feel right and I didn’t want to go down that path. A turning point for me was when our Senior Pastor talked about the Book of Enoch in one of his sermons, and almost everyone in my local campus opened their Bible and started looking for the passage. Including some of the pastors. Just in case you didn’t know (because I wouldn’t have before my class), the Book of Enoch is not in the Christian Bible. (Full disclosure here: I see now that my old church home has developed a new approach to getting the congregation to read the Bible. To be fair, I never thought the no I was being told came from our main campus, but the satellite location I belonged to. I pray that all of the new programs they have launched succeed to bring the members closer to Christ and His Word.)
Time Out For A Sabbatical
At the beginning of this year, with everything going on around me, I decided to take a Sabbatical. During that time, I knew it was time to finally dive into my Bible the way I felt like God had been instructing me for a few years now. I knew that there had to be more to being a Christian outside of going to church each week, servicing at church, and being able to quote a few of the famous Bible verses. And I had a feeling that the Bible would help me understand what it was really about. I sat down with God and poured out my heart’s desire for His Word and explained I was really confused. Then I felt like I knew what God wanted me to do. I needed to get into His Word and make it a habit. I started by doing a few YouVersion Bible Plans to try and read the Bible in a year or to focus on specific books. For the next few weeks, I found more of what appeared to be random resources. And I honestly feel like He was guiding me with my next steps to prepare me for this journey. This series, #All66Books, is going to document that journey in hopes that if there is someone else out there that is struggling like I was, they can see all that I tried only to find that the answer was quite simple. Just start. Join me next week, where I talk about how I was able to do just that.