Have you ever read the Bible through? How many times?

The turning of the calendar from one year to the next is a perfect opportunity to begin the process of reading the Bible from cover to cover. I have often taken this column at the beginning of a new year to challenge us to make a decisive choice to journey through the pages of the Bible to capture the grand story of salvation.

Recently, I heard of a woman who has read the Bible through 70 times. I suspect if you were to ask her if she is bored to read the Scripture through one more time, she would be amazed. Why? Because the Word of God is living and active, and every time it is read, new insights are discovered. God uses His Living Word to teach us, train us, inspire us and guide us. His mercies and truth are fresh every day from the pages of Scripture.

All Scripture is inspired and profitable. Yes, even Leviticus! As one reads through the Bible, the grand scheme of the progression of God’s dealing with man is exposed. Insights for living are found on every page. The Word refreshes and renews. As the Psalmist says, it revives us.

Perhaps above all, reading through the Bible places us in intimate encounters with the Almighty; day by day we engage with God and come to know His ways. One cannot read the Bible through without discovering insight into the very character of God Himself. As we read Scripture, the Holy Spirit illumines and communes with us.  In the end, Scripture places us into the very presence of Holy God, and we not only learn about Him, but also come to know Him.

Today, there are many ways to read the Bible through. You can find many different Bibles designed with specific readings for each day. Most provide a New and Old Testament reading, a Psalm and a Proverb for each day. The same can be said for reading plans on the Internet—YouVersion Bible can be downloaded and provides a reading plan. There are reading charts that you can keep in your Bible also.

I encourage you to read a new version of the Bible. You may be a King James fan (if it was good enough for Paul, it is good enough for me!). I challenge you to stretch yourself. Try the Holman Christian Standard, English Standard or American Standard. A new version will give you fresh insights through the translation from the original language.

You may be reading this article a few days after the first of January, but you can still get started. Begin your reading plan on the day you choose and go from there. I can guarantee you will grow spiritually and your intimacy with God will grow as well. Happy Reading!

Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.