A friend of mine is a huge Bible in 90 Days fan. She reads the Bible multiple times in a year because she is a fast reader and the Bible in 90 Days program seems to work for her. She was first introduced to it in High School (so 5-6 years ago) and I am pretty sure she has used it as her reading plan ever since. Recently, she went to Israel and before she left, she decided to read the whole Bible in a month to prepare for the trip. I thought this was a strange plan, considering she must know her Bible decently well after reading her Bible at close to 20 times in the last five+ years. What would another, more compressed, read through add to that?? Well, her rational was that by the time she got half way through (or even less) she had forgotten most of what had come before, so the solution was to read the material faster. I didn’t say this to her (though I probably should have), but it occurred to me that maybe the problem was that she was reading it too fast. I actually think that my friend is too focused on checking “Devotions” off of her To Do list of being a good Christian, rather on focusing on the content of what God is trying to convey in his word. Its like cramming down Thanksgiving dinner in the course of five minutes: you might end up damaging yourself if you try to gorge yourself in a few minutes instead of taking the time to savor and meditate on the Word.

Further, the website talks about how X percentage of Christians never read through their whole Bible. This program is almost touted as something that makes you more spiritual. “Not only will you have read through your whole Bible when you are done, you will have done so in 90 days. You will have accomplished what most Christians never do.” While this is obviously is not said, talking in those kinds of statistics makes me wonder about the motivation. And it makes me wary.

I once asked my Dad how fast he reads his Bible, and he said that he didn’t have a strict schedule, and that he often meditated on a passage for extended periods of time before moving on. At the time that I asked the question, I was trying to read through the Bible four times in the course of that year and he actually advised me against it. He encouraged me to focus more on the meditative aspect as that is what is truly transformational. I believe him, since he can quote extensively from the New Testament and knows where to find almost anything you want to know about the NT even though he has never set foot in a classroom to formally “study” God’s Word. He is a bit shaky with the Old Testament, but then, it is a LOT bigger.

“So, then why try it now?” You may ask. That is a good question. For one, I have a bit more time on my hands so I am able to go through more meditatively than I might otherwise be able to do. Second, I have been an exegetical, critical, historical student of the Word, but I have not done much of just reading the Bible. My temptation is to start studying the passages and picking them apart. This is not bad, but scholarly study is not what we are supposed to be doing when we read the Bible devotionally. We ought to be trying to discover something about the author. I feel like I know a lot about the author and about the letter he wrote to us. But I desire to know the author more intimately. If I pick smaller chunks of text, I will be tempted to zero in. I am good at this. What I need to focus on is not the microscopic bits, but the telescopic whole. My view has been microscopic for too long, it is time to pull out the telescope and see the whole arc of Scripture for a time. Now, is this the most effective way to do so? I have no idea. Maybe not. Maybe my objections to my friend’s method still stand. But she, and the people who developed the program believe strongly in it, so I think I will try to give it a fair hearing.

If you are interested, you can check out the website and read along with me (You can get a bookmark with the reading plan here). If not, that’s fine, most people don’t have the kind of time I do at the moment.

What do you think? Are projects like this actually good for the soul, or are they merely a way to check something off of our Spiritual To Do lists more quickly?