Some friends of mine in London are beginning a 120-day Bible read-through on April 15th. Check out the plan here. And here's their explanation...
At the age of 67 George Müller started to read through the entire Bible 4 times a year. He continued that for 25 years until his death, which means he read through the Bible more than 100 times in his life. Likewise it was said of John Bunyan, author of pilgrims progress, that his blood was "bibline". In whatever place you cut Bunyan, he bleeds the Bible because he was able to relate every situation in life back to God's word. And also Charles Spurgeon once said that he found the Bible more thrilling after having read it through 100x than at the first time. Men like these are the inspiration to read through the whole of Scripture in less than a year. So on 01.01.2012 a group of people started out to see what it was like to read through the Bible in 90 days and - they loved it. But because most of us got behind at some point we thought we make it a bit easier and share the experience with more people. B120 is a more moderate attempt to follow George Müller's example by simply trying to read through the Bible in 120 days.
Throughout those first three months a few significant realisations emerged: the Bible can be read through in less than a year and be great fun! But some might say; "What good is that supposed to be? If I rush through the Bible I won't be able to take everything in! The Bible is special and shouldn't be read like a novel." But let me say something to that.
a) A reading plan was created with the help of an audio Bible which is always a very slow reading speed. Based on those times, one has to read about 32-40 minutes a day, to get through the Bible in 120 days. No rushing is needed. People who want to read through the entire Bible usually have two psychological barriers to overcome if they use the standard 365 days reading plans. A big book with 1189 chapters on the one hand and a long time commitment with the goal at a far distance for most of the time on the other. B120 brings the desired goal 3x closer without making the daily reading commitment unmanageable.
b) It's a myth that with slow reading you will take in 'everything'. Actually on average a person only remembers about 10-15% of what they read afterwards. Repetition works far better. Therefore slow reading is more in the category of meditation than reading. But in order to mediate well, you need to have a good amount of context or you will read things into the passage, that the Holy Spirit never intended. We all read the Bible through the glasses of our own experiences, theological bias and cultural presuppositions. Starting out with broad reading helps to wipe those glasses clean so that through the context we get a better view on what the Holy Spirit actually intended to say to us. First we assemble the borders of the jigsaw puzzle and after that we find the correct place for the details inside much more securely.
c) It's easy to only read your favourite passages and books and avoid others. But just as expository preaching protects the congregations from only hearing the favourite topics of the preacher, so broad Bible reading protects the Christian from focusing on his theological hobby horses and making big issues out of what the Bible considers small issues.
d) B120 takes discipline because the flesh hates spiritual truth. And it takes effort because it takes a bit of time every day. Therefore it's done best in community. When you share the same reading plan with other people, you can naturally and regularly bring the Scriptures into the conversation. You teach each other by sharing insights and sharpen each others attention for details because your friends asked questions you didn’t and vice versa. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 comes alive.
e) The Bible is both the word of God and the words of men, which were used by the Holy Spirit to pen down exactly what He intended to say. There are different ways of engaging with the Scriptures; meditation, memorisation, study, and the most basic and foundational is reading. It would be wrong to focus on Jesus' deity at the expense of his humanity and why would it be any different if we only engage with the divine revelation, at the expense of treating it as a book, written in human languages. Most of the Bible is stories and letters. Give it a try and add novel-style reading to your Bible study tools.
Lastly, f) Tim Keller said, in order to see Jesus in all the Scriptures you got to know it really well. First you need to get yourself familiarised with the big storyline, before you recognise it in the types, shadows and allusions. Then Luke 24:27 comes alive as well.
Many more reasons are to be found on http://b120.bible-reading.org/
Because it's great, to read together, let's also start together on the 15th of April 2012. Many who hear of it here in London get really excited. Of course it's up to you, if you have the time, when you start etc. Neither is it meant to be a religious cool-club or Christian elitism. Far from it. To us it has been an eye-opener and I hope you will just as much enjoy it.