Last year, late in December, I received a challenge from a friend to read the Bible in chronological order. He told me he has been doing this for 2 or 3 years in a row and explained what a great blessing it had been for him.
I took the challenge to heart and accepted it as coming from the Lord. As in all things that I focus my attention on, I determined to set up a systematic way to accomplish the task. The easier you can make something to do, the more likely you are to do it. I felt the reading of the Bible each day would become something of a "chore" and so I thought about how to make it as simple and easy as possible.
My friend used a smart phone app to find the scripture each day, but I am not a smart phone user. As part of my daily job I spend large amounts of time in front of the computer and I wanted something I could access on the web. What I determined to do was take the order of scriptures, put them into a web page, and then link to the scriptures each day.
I forget how I first became aware of it, but the English actor David Suchet has taken the time (a great deal of time) to narrate the Bible from the New International Version (United Kingdom). It's not the version I normally use when reading the Bible, but I so much like Suchet's voice that I decided to go with Suchet and the NIV UK.
Suchet's readings of the Bible are available for FREE on YouTube, and so I took the last week of December 2020 and created a web page where I could each day click on a link that would take me to David Suchet's reading of that portion of the Bible. Some days there is only one Bible chapter to listen to, some days there can be half a dozen; some are long, some are short. Some chapters of the Bible are so long that they are broken in two over two days. Fortunately YouTube has a way to use a link to start a video at a particular time, and so if the reference is to something other than the beginning of that chapter, my link will start you exactly where that reading begins.
In addition, I have added links to Biblegateway which is an on-line version of the Bible with most of the translations conveniently located on that website. In addition to looking up passages of the Bible in different translations, it includes the ability to do word searches which I find an important resource for Bible study.
The web page that I created can be found here:
When you go to that page, I would encourage you to click on the very first link at the top of the page, which is a 2 minute interview with David Suchet where he explains WHY he decided to narrate the Bible. And so you don't miss it, you can also click on that same link here:
After the interview, the first few links I placed on the page are "Jumps" to each month's readings. The entire thing is on one page and so scrolling down looking for a particular day of the month can get a bit tedious. By May I endeavored to ad links to each of the months which has made things much easier.
The first two days of January include, in addition to the readings of that scripture by Suchet, links to Biblegateway. Those links not only take you to that portion of scripture that Suchet is reading, but to the same passage of the bible (on Biblegateway) that Suchet is reading.
NOTE: I have not completed Biblegateway links beyond January 2nd, as the page was primarily set up for me. Having said that, I like to read along as Suchet narrates. What I do each morning is I open up the page, click on the first Biblegateway link to Genesis 1. That opens up a second window for the Bible reading. I then go back to the main page and find that days passage for Suchet. Next, I copy the Bible reference for that passage (book and chapter) and paste it into the search for Biblegareway. That takes me to the scripture. Once that appears, I go back to the main page, click on the YouTube link and start the recording. The last step is to click back on the tab for Biblegateway and I am then reading and listing. I freely admit a direct link for each scripture in Biblegateway would be far better, but creating the page and links to the YouTube recordings took me many hours.
IMPORTANT: If I hear from 3 or more people that they are in fact using the page, and would like me to upgrade it to include the Biblegateway links for each day's reading, I promise to go to work on it and add the links for each passage. You can email me at email@example.com to tell me.
This is the first time I have systematically read the entire Bible, cover to cover. As of the writing of this, I have NOT missed a day. What I felt would be a chore has instead become my first order of activity each day. Before I clutter my brain up with the day's demands, I take time to "listen" to the scriptures, reading along at the same time. It is easy for my mind to wander while listening, and I find reading along helps to keep me focussed on the content.
The Old Testament, which are the scriptures common to both Jews and Christians, takes up the first 9 months of the year. I was finished the Old Testament at the end of September. Generally, as a rule, I spend more time in the New Testament because I am not a Jew and it is my understanding as a Gentile that I am not required to become a Jew in order to become a Christian.
What did I just say, and what does that mean?
Let me repeat it. Gentiles are NOT required to become Jews in order to become Christians.
A simple examination of Christianity will demonstrate that it is a sect of Judaism. There are many Jews who do NOT agree that Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) is the Messiah, but there is NO DOUBT that Christianity is deeply rooted in Judaism. Let me underline some basic historical facts.
In fact there was a lot of controversy very early in church history. About 10 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Gentiles began to get deeply involved in following Jesus. The Jews who were involved in the conversion of the Gentiles got in trouble with the church in Jerusalem which was entirely made up of Jews. You can read about that here:
Many of the Jews, after accepting that God was converting and adding Gentiles to the church, took the position that the Gentiles must now be converted to Judaism and follow all the laws of Moses and become practicing Jews. Others did not agree and that was the second controversy. It was such a big controversy that it resulted in the first ever council of the church in Jerusalem. You can read about that here:
The resolution of the dispute was simple. Gentiles did NOT have to become Jews to be Christians. On the other hand, becoming a believer that Jesus is the Messiah did not mean that a Jew stopped being a Jew.
This brings me to my final thought for this Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of the Messiah, the son of David who is "God our Savior".
Last last year I discovered this organization of Christian Jews operating in Israel:
One of the things that One For Israel has done on their websites is to record and feature the testimonies of many Jews who have found Yeshua. These people come from many different walks of life, telling their stories of how they found Yeshua. You will find a number of those stories here:
Back to the chronological reading of the Bible. One of the benefits of reading the Bible in this order is realizing that different parts of the Bible talk about the same events in different places. Christians know that the 4 gospels that start the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are 4 different accounts of the life of Jesus. Many know that you can interweave these into a single narrative. The same is true for large portions of the Old Testament. You will find that different Psalms were written at different times in the history of Israel, and this chronological order is great because it puts them into their context.
Many different portions of the Old Testament cover the same periods of history of Israel, and when organized into a chronological order, you can much more easily follow the history of the Jews and their relationship with God. I hope you take the time to read the Bible in this way. I found it really made a difference in my understanding.
Let me close by wishing you Merry Christmas