The idea was so simple it almost doesn’t count as one. Let’s eat God’s word. Together. At a fast but reasonable pace. Let’s encourage one another to get over whatever obstacles stopped us in the past. We want to become women of his word, not women who dabble in it occasionally.
Last fall, we settled on a pace of six chapters a day — some Old Testament and some New Testament, pairing books like Leviticus and Hebrews together, and matching psalms we could to the historic context in which they were written. We wrote catch-up days into the plan (because we have regular lives with regular interruptions). We would get through the whole Bible in the academic year with around 20–30 minutes of reading each day and none on Sundays.
We prayed that God would use our plan to ignite a love of his word in other women too. The project has grown beyond all of our ideas — spreading quickly far beyond our own community and even into other languages. Thousands of women have joined in over the last year. We like to say we are a theologically diverse group, but literally on the same page.
Time to Eat
We need God’s word more than we need food. We are strengthened by it. We are equipped for every good work through it. We can trust that where God sends out his word in our lives, it will not return to him void. It will accomplish the thing for which he sent it.
We’ve simply come to feast. We have all been invited. There is a place prepared by a loving Father for each of us. The food is abundant, endless, nourishing, restoring, perfect, and occasionally confusing. The task is simple. Eat it. Be filled. Do it again. Do it forever. Enjoy the bounty before you — enjoy what your Father has done for you and said to you. Trust the Master of this feast, and enjoy the table fellowship.
But many of us are not in our chairs. We’re under the tables, scavenging for crumbs dropped by the “good eaters” at the table — famous bloggers, Christian teachers, great preachers. We can find enough crumbs at their feet to survive, maybe even live well, but we wouldn’t be obeying God. There is a place with your name on it, a book for you to eat. Get up and eat. Do not be satisfied with crumbs, because your Father is not satisfied with that for you.
Why We Don’t Read
Many Christians are not eating at all. They are busy. They don’t have a quiet life. Often they are not eating simply because they are on a streak of not eating and breaking it seems hypocritical. I cannot eat dinner when I did not have breakfast or lunch! Many Christians quit reading their Bible when they feel like they have failed in some way.
Lost track, fell behind in a plan, didn’t understand, not good enough, forgot. Better wait for a new year, and try to be a better person then. Whatever reason you have, it isn’t good enough. Lay down your pride, and take up your fork. This is the continuing feast. The feast you should never leave, and that is yours to enjoy forever. You are never behind if you are eating today.
Others think you have not taken a bite unless you understand everything about it. As though the word of God is only powerful when we have weighed and measured it, attempted to label all the ingredients, taken voluminous notes, and gone to several lectures about it. We don’t approach this meal that way. There is a time for food science, but it is not at the dinner party. This is our time to simply eat.
Still others have been persuaded that the only way to eat is first thing in the morning in silence. They will not eat unless conditions are perfect, and conditions in this life are rarely perfect. But we always need to eat. We need to learn to take bites with crazy background noise, a squirming baby on our lap, and raucous laughter at the table.
Learn to Eat
It isn’t complicated, but it can be hard. We all face resistance from three directions. The world distracts, the flesh is weak, and the devil accuses. “Do anything but eat!” says the world. “Do something easier! Try Netflix!” says the flesh. “You aren’t good enough anyways and will never succeed! Just remember last time you tried,” says the devil.
Your answer to all three should simply be, “Watch me eat.” We are a scrappy group. We listen on our phones, jump in on the current day’s reading when we get behind, read while standing at the stove making dinner or while nursing babies. We encourage one another to confess sin but despise lingering guilt. When we don’t understand what we read, we do not worry about it — we will be back soon.
What we are becoming through the grace of God is an enormous party. Women laughing together, eating together, rejoicing in our God together. Cheering when our favorite courses come in again, and rejoicing with one another as we see the results of this perfect food in our lives. This past year we celebrated with many women as they read their whole Bible for the first time, some of them thirty or forty years into their Christian walk. It was time to learn to eat.
Is it your time to learn? Whatever strategy or plan you choose, find a couple women and decide together that you will refuse not to read the Bible this year.