When Bite-Sized Is Still Too Much

Over the years, I’ve thought it would be nice to read the entire Bible so my knowledge isn’t just the bits and pieces plucked out for the weekly message in church.  I’ve also had visions of completely organizing my house, filling in all the blank pages in the kids’ memory books, and loading pictures onto our digital picture frame.  Alas, none of this gets done.

Last week, I heard about Bible reading plans on the internet.  Perfect.  Someone else has done all the work of dividing the Bible up into 365 digestible chunks so I don’t have to do it.  I found a chronological reading schedule that groups reading selections so that I can read about things in the order they happened.

Click Image to View oneyearbibleonline.com Plan in Adobe PDF Format

Silly me, I thought reading from beginning to end would do this.   Never have I encountered a book where you read chapters 1 and 2, then go to chapter 45 then back to chapter 3…well, you get the idea.

A few months ago, my older son asked some questions about the Bible so I pulled out the Children’s Living Bible that I had from when I was a child.  I told him we should read it each night before he goes to bed.  We’ve stayed so busy, it has gathered dust on my desk since then.  After I printed my reading schedule, I got the idea to read the Children’s Bible to the both kids so they could learn along with me.

The first night, we sat on the couch, TV turned off, and the kids eager to hear the story I planned to read.  I had just finished reading about God’s creation of birds and fish on the fifth day when my younger son interrupted me.

“Mommy,” (said in a whining voice) “Are you almost done?  This is borrrrring.”

Perhaps the story of Cain and Abel would be exciting enough for him?  On second thought, maybe I should skip that one…it could give them ideas.

Undaunted, I continued reading.  When Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, my older son stopped me.

“If Eve hadn’t eaten the fruit, does that mean we would all live forever and walk around naked?”

“Well, I guess so,” I answered.  I suspected he was more interested in the idea of not having to wear clothes than living forever.

Satisfied, he sat back and let me continue reading.  I finished the reading for day 1 and thought I’d start on day 2, since we’ll miss a few days at the end of February.  I read the first sentence of Genesis, Chapter 4 in my head.  “Then Adam had sexual intercourse with Eve his wife, and she conceived and gave birth to a son Cain…”

“So, who wants to watch Scooby Doo?”

I decided day 2 reading could be done another day.  Besides, hubby was at work and I wouldn’t want to deprive him of the opportunity to field any of their questions with me 🙂

I’ve already missed 2 days of reading this week, so I think the 1-year plan is too aggressive.  I would love to find a 3-year chronological daily plan, but until then, I’ll have to ignore the schedule dates and create my own smaller portions.


20 thoughts on “When Bite-Sized Is Still Too Much

  1. Carl D'Agostino February 5, 2012 / 7:13 AM

    The Old Testament does not really speak to me so I focus on New Testament. One way to really read is to hand write the verses. Perhaps chapter a day. I have written Mathew and half through Mark.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2012 / 8:12 AM

      I have a harder time with the Old Testament, too, Carl. I did want to read it at least once, though just to know what it’s about.

      That’s a lot of writing you’ve done! I can see how this exercise makes you stop and think about the text – thanks for sharing your process with me 🙂

  2. suzicate February 5, 2012 / 7:55 AM

    This started my day off with a smile! Yes, the bible does provoke questions…some of them we might not be ready to answer to our young children! We went with the childrens version when our kids were small as well…made it much easier for them (and me!) to understand.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2012 / 8:17 AM

      Hubby laughed at me when I told him about this, SuziCate!

      I hope the Children’s Bible will eventually capture my younger son’s interest. In the meantime, I let him play quietly while I read because I don’t want it to be torture for him. At least my older son isn’t complaining yet 🙂

      • philosophermouseofthehedge February 5, 2012 / 3:19 PM

        Good idea with drawing/ quiet play while reading – they absorb more than you know.
        Just an thought, maybe try reading short (selected) passages from an older version like the King James once in a while. The sentence structure, the vocabulary, the musical language, and the rhythm as it is read aloud will enrich their vocabulary and writing skills (you gain a lot by hearing “advanced” language). You will have to talk about what is being read at time. (restate in simple language) Maybe draw illustrations about what is read? Just keep it short and enjoy the sound….a joyful noise in itself?
        Good for developing ear for language – and improves their own use of language

        • jannatwrites February 5, 2012 / 8:40 PM

          I like your suggestion, Phil. I have to confess: I have a King James version Bible but quit trying to read it because I don’t understand much of it myself. I may have to dust it off and give it another go:) Tonight, I read them one chapter out of my study Bible and talked about some of the additional explanations provided in the sidebar.

          It went better today because I already decided I couldn’t adhere to the one year schedule. The reading was about ten minutes – perfect for their attention spans – and that included a couple questions from my older son. They were still eager to watch Scooby Doo, though. I’ve got to work in a different reading time somehow!

  3. Debbie February 5, 2012 / 8:54 AM

    I bought a picture book bible for my son when he was little. It tended to skip the “uncomfortable” parts and tell the stories in ways little ones could understand — so much easier for parents! You’re to be commended for trying to wade through the entire Bible, Janna. The Old Testament, in particular, contains list upon list of names, places, rules, etc. and that doesn’t exactly make for “bedtime reading”! Still, I think reading it cover to cover should be on everyone’s bucket list!

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2012 / 8:44 PM

      Well, I’m cheating a little…I am skipping the name sections. I’ve read through them before and couldn’t follow it, so I’m sure my little guys would just glaze over.

      This is more like ‘after dinner’ reading. I have a Bible Stories book that I read to them from a few days a week that condenses stories into a single page. Would love to do it every night, but things just get too busy around here.

      Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts, Debbie!

  4. nrhatch February 5, 2012 / 10:02 AM

    My days of wading through the Bible are behind me . . . it’s not on my bucket list. But good luck to you, Janna!

    And have fun fielding those questions. 😉

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2012 / 8:50 PM

      Rather than ‘wade’ through the Bible (like a chore), I’d say I’m ‘floating’ through the Bible. One chapter a day isn’t too difficult (skipping the confusing name sections, as I mentioned in a previous comment).

      I’m not going to force the kids to listen to it, but as long as they want to, I’ll read it to them. We made it through the section without any questions. (Hubby actually asked my older son if he knew what sex was. My son’s response: “No. And I don’t want to know.” He shut that conversation down!

  5. colonialist February 5, 2012 / 3:21 PM

    Ah, a writey-type. Any particular genre?

    Bible-reading to the young is becoming quite hazardous. They are logically-minded from an earlier age, it would seem, and swiftly pick holes in the unlikelier bits!

    I have just posted on a set of tricky questions from a nearly-four pf the type you may be getting into ….

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2012 / 8:58 PM

      Thanks for dropping by, Colonialist!

      It’s probably not a good sign that I get stumped with the genre question 🙂 Most of what I write could be classified as Mystery/Suspense or Christian Fiction. (But not ‘preachy’ fiction.)

      It’s funny you should mention the analytical nature of today’s children. I already caught a glimpse of that when I was reading about how God created the sun to shine during the day and the moon to shine at night. My older son corrected me and advised that the moon doesn’t actually shine…it reflects light from the sun.

      I’ll stop by and check out your post.

  6. pattyabr February 5, 2012 / 11:13 PM

    Nice job Mama Janna! Keep up the good work!

    • jannatwrites February 6, 2012 / 11:08 PM

      Thanks, Patty! Didn’t get to read tonight, but tomorrow looks better 🙂

  7. sonsothunder February 6, 2012 / 12:52 AM

    I think it is wonderful you are introducing the kids to the Bible…
    And, I wouldn’t worry too much about the bits and pieces, as God has a way of bringing the right scriptures to our minds in the most opportune times… Some, I don’t EVER recall reading in fact… But, They seem to come to the surface in just the precise moment. I actually have read the Bible through, a few times… though…have to admit.. I skipped speedily through all the Begats in Chronicles…

    Stupid Me…

    By reading ALL the Begats…Bruce Wilkinson became a Multimillionaire-Best selling Author…As while reading ALL the Begats…he finds one of Gods little buried treasures nestled in the middle of the family tree called the “Prayer of Jabez” …and wrote a simple 96 page devotional book on it…Love the Book too…and the Prayer
    Bless You

    • jannatwrites February 6, 2012 / 11:11 PM

      This shows how much I know, Paul: I don’t even know what the Begats are. I’ve never heard of the devotional book either, but it sounds like it was truly inspired by God! Thanks for visiting and sharing your comment (and reading tip.) I appreciate it 🙂

  8. knotrune February 6, 2012 / 3:40 PM

    As a teen I tried it and got half way through the whole Bible before giving up, so I read most of the OT stories but never got to the prophets. I’ve probably read most of the NT but not in order. Like a child, I get curious about things and want to sidetrack to find out the answers to my questions, which I think is a good thing, so I don’t intend to try the whole thing a year or three. I prefer to do a study of a book or a theme.

    If that makes me sound too virtuous, I’m sorry to say I go through patches, maybe a month or so I might manage every day, then another month or so (or so…) I’m a lot less diligent. 🙂

    • jannatwrites February 6, 2012 / 11:15 PM

      It sounds like you have been more diligent than I have, Knotrune. In total, I’ve read maybe half of the Bible. If I go off on a tangent when reading, I’ll follow that course rather than a set-in-stone schedule. I’ll let God’s hand guide me down my path.

      Thanks for sharing your reading process. I learned something else about you through your comment.

  9. pattisj February 7, 2012 / 12:04 AM

    Daily Bible reading is a good habit to adapt. I like to read until I come to something that really speaks to me, or I reach something I don’t understand completely, then pray for clarity. It comes to life for me. Enjoy your journey through, no matter how long it takes. Psalms and Proverbs are good ones to read aloud.

    • jannatwrites February 7, 2012 / 12:17 AM

      I hope with time it will become a habit, Patti. I do like Psalms and Proverbs…the little I’ve read, at least. Thanks for sharing your reading strategy…it just might help as I figure out my own way!

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