On September 21, 2016 I sat down with my wife, Ellen, and had her join me in reading Revelation 22 together. In doing so she was with me as I finished reading through the Bible 100 times. I started this adventure back in May of 1964 when I turned 17. My sister bought me a Scofield Reference Bible for my birthday and I immediately began reading though it. I finished on October 8, 1965 after I had turned 18. When I went to Bible College I know I read it through two more times but never kept a record of the dates when I finished. It wasn't until Christmas of 1972 when my wife bought me a copy of the New American Standard Bible that I began reading through the Bible for the fourth time. I finished that reading on December 24, 1973 and ever since then I've recorded the dates when I finished each time.
My style of reading is very simple: I read every word and every name in every verse in every chapter in every book in both Testaments in the Bible. I honestly can say I've read my Bible through and thoroughly! I wasn't setting any particular goal but I kind of tried to read my Bible through at least once a year. There were times when I would read it though twice or even three times a year. But it wasn't until I was in my 30's that I read of George Mueller, the man who ran orphanages in Bristol, England. He was a godly man who spent much time in prayer. In one of the biographies of his life I read that he would kneel and read his Bible at the rate of four times a year! Wow, I said to myself! I did the math and realized you would have to read 14 chapters a day to do that. Also, about that time I began to set a goal: I wanted to ready my Bible through 50 times before I turned 50. That would mean I would have to read at least three times a year to get caught up to a pace that would allow me to reach my goal.
I then read an exert out of a Christian periodical that said a person reading their Bible at the rate a pastor would read the Bible to his congregation, what I call "Pulpit Rate," would be able to read the entire Bible in 72 hours! I thought there was a misprint, but if you read at that rate it would take three FULL days of reading to go from Genesis to Revelation. Well, I determined to read my Bible for one hour a day and see how long it took me to go through the entire Book. I read at my own reading rate and I finished in 56 days. 56 hours to go through the Word! Well, I didn't keep that schedule, but by February 27, 1997, my wife and I sat down and read Revelation 22 together to finish my 50th time through while I was still 49. Obviously, I've picked up the pace and finished the next 50 times in 19 years.
So, why did I aim for 50 times? I remember on a couple of occasions hearlng that a great Bible expositor, G. Campbell Morgan, had a practice of reading any given book of the Bible 50 times before he would expose its truths in a commentary. He wanted to "bathe" himself in each book before he wrote about them. So, I figured, if that was true for each book shouldn't it be true for the whole Bible? Therefore, I set that goal so I would be better "versed" on each book. Also, I knew that reading the whole Bible gave me a panoramic viewpoint of the Scriptures. I could see how each book had its place and how the whole Bible kept the goal of revealing the Lord through His Word.
At present, I'm slowing way down and taking one version to study each book thoroughly and reading another version from Genesis to Revelation at a slower pace. And, by the way, I used multiple translations of the Bible in my 100 times reading through it. I wanted to gain the perspective each version gives on God's Word. That was a very valuable decision.
What was the MAIN HIGHLIGHT of my reading? I saw what Jesus said in John 5:39,40 when He spoke to people who said they were students of the Word of God. Jesus said to them, "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to Me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life." I know, more than ever, that just reading God's Word isn't enough. Not only do I need to put to practice what I read, but I need to spend time enjoying the One who is the theme of the Bible! It's JESUS! I read to spend time with Him! I encourage you to do the same. Whatever goal you set in your Bible reading, don't miss the point that the Scriptures speak of Him! Read His Word to hear Him speak to your heart and get to know Him better every day of your life!