Wow. That title made it sound like a chore. Like I am excited to be done with it. Like it is a horrific thing I am finishing and moving on. It wasn't anything like that. It was so far from that I can't even explain it. What we did wasn't extraordinary. It wasn't remarkable or amazing. But in 2014 we did something in our family that I honestly did not believe we could do.
We read the Bible all the way through as a family.
Was the first paragraph some un-fancy build-up then you thought "THAT is what she is excited about?" We didn't go deep sea diving. We didn't climb the tallest mountain (or with my knee, even the smallest of hills). We didn't go zip lining through a rain forest. We didn't go on a mission trip to help save orphans or feed families. But...
we read the Bible all the way through as a family.
I am not tooting our own horns. I'm really not. Other families have done far more amazing things for humanity and the planet. This really shouldn't be that big of a deal, but it is to me.
This is what I learned.
1) We can do it! I had no doubt that the hubs or I could do it. We have both read through the Bible before a couple of times. We just never have together.
2) If we put our minds to it and it is important enough to us, we can do something long-term. Sometimes we have these brilliant ideas and they last two weeks. Sometimes we say we will do it but it never gets farther than the discussion. Like organization. Or Bible study together. Or cleaning and organization.
3) It is important. Not only did it carve a few minutes of time every night to family only time, we were focusing on God's word during that time. It wasn't a selfish time, or a time to just spend together because we have to. It was time well spent. A quiet time with family and God.
4) My kids heard the Word. Sure, they hear it often throughout the week, at Sunday School and church or in books we read at home. They also heard it every single night. This ensured it. (Disclaimer: it wasn't every single night for 365 nights, but it was probably at LEAST 350+ of those nights. If we missed a night we made it up next day, except the week of Hayley's wedding - we might have missed 3-4 nights then, but we made it up.)
5) My kids not only heard the Word, they WANTED to hear the Word. I thought we would have to practically pull teeth to get them to sit through it every night. NO. Not even the 18/19 year old complained. He may not have always wanted to sit there, but not one complaint came from his mouth. Even the littles waited for that time. They looked forward to that time to sit down and cuddle with mama and dad and big bro before going to bed. If I ever said "time for bed" and we hadn't read yet, they were quick to say "after the Bible, right?".
6) Reading this Book all the way through from start to finish gave us a broader picture. In Sunday School, you hear the "important" stories. Adam and Eve; Moses; Samson; Kings Saul, David, & Solomon; Jesus; Paul. They are all important stories, don't get me wrong. But they don't give you the big picture. They don't help you see that since the fall of man, we have a God who is lovingly and painstakingly trying to woo us back to Him. You don't see that throughout history, He has been building up, story by story and brick by brick, to our redemption and restoration. Reading it page by page, story by story, my kids have a better understanding of what the Word is, who God is, and who they are in His story.
7) Hearing the Word of God out of your children's mouths is amazing. A was a good reader. She has been since the moment the reading light bulb came on. However, reading from the Bible, I honestly believe, has helped her become an even better reader. What is more precious than hearing your 7/8 year old read Scripture? Or how about that 5 year old who can't read yet, or is barely reading now, but wants so badly to "read it" that you take the extra time to read a half sentence and have him say it back? P.R.E.C.I.O.U.S.
Sure, there was a LOT they didn't understand. Shoot, there is a LOT I don't understand. But they have heard it. They craved it. They have hidden it in their hearts. I pray that this first reading was the first tiny seed of many seeds in years to come that fall on good soil and produce a great crop (Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop - some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown." Mark 4:20). I pray that it was a foundation for their daily reading of the Word in many days and years to come.
Sure, reading the Bible all the way through in a year isn't something that people are amazed by and that some would even call foolish. However, it honestly was the best thing we have ever done. I didn't write this post so people would think "YAY Traver fam!" I didn't writ it so people can be amazed at our feat (and for us it was a feat!!). I wrote it so you can know that with small children it IS possible if you really want to do it AND So I can remember in years to come why I felt so blessed at the end of this year.
A truth quote has been floating around Facebook. I believe this wholeheartedly so I am going to end this post with this anonymous thought:
"If we don't teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to."