Randee Paraskevopoulos shares what reading through the Bible has meant to her. Learn more about getting started reading Scripture at TMUMC.ORG/bible.
Did you know Disney movies all have a hidden Mickey Mouse in them? Or that Stan Lee appeared in a cameo in every Marvel movie until he died? These little surprises are called Easter Eggs. They’re hidden by the movie makers simply to give the audience some fun in discovering them. These days, they can be found in video games, movies, comic books, and even cars.
I’m a big Marvel fan, and I love rewatching the movies because I often find something unexpected in the dialogue or background that I hadn’t noticed before.
It’s a delight I’ve also gotten many times in reading the Bible each year. I started reading the Bible annually in 2004, when the first “Read Through the Bible” class was offered at Trietsch. That year, we did The Grand Sweep, 365 days from Genesis through Revelation. It’s one of the most transformational studies I’ve ever done. (Disciple I is the other, which will be offered again at Trietsch starting in the fall.) I went back, again and again, to whatever class was going to read through the Bible, for at least the next ten years (and I’ve missed it when I wasn’t doing it).
And during every single read-through — at least a few times each year — I found myself thinking, “I swear that wasn’t in there when I read it last year.” Discovering those Biblical Easter Eggs always makes me smile.
More importantly, what wasn’t there last year was usually something I didn’t need until the year I discovered it.
Back in the early ‘90s, I read Illusions, by Richard Bach, the guy who wrote Jonathon Livingston Seagull. I don’t remember much about it, except it was about a barnstormer and had a bunch of quotes in it. It also gave me a piece of philosophy I’ve added to my own since then, the idea of a “magic book,” or that you can find what you need most at any time on any page in any book. All you have to do is think about your problem, open a book, and you’ll find your answer.
Of course, I don’t believe it’s that simple. There must be something psychological going on, wherein our subconscious is filtering information through the lens of our specific problem at the time. However it works, I know it does. I’ve found answers this way too many times to discount it.
When I’m reading the Bible every day, this happens at least once a week. I wouldn’t call the Bible a “magic book,” but I would call God talking to me through it a “God thing.” God answers prayers, and one of God’s primary methods of communication is through Scripture.
I’d highly recommend tackling the Bible in a year. It usually only takes about 20-30 minutes a day, and you’d be getting your answers straight from the source, not through the lens of someone else’s theology and agenda.
Switch up the version each year to get the most out of the experience. Maybe read CEB this year (my favorite because it’s word-for-word and the language is so simple). Next year try the Message or the NIV or listening to it on audio. It won’t get repetitive, because you’re a different person each time you read it. Each year, you’ll discover something new.
P.S. Go into Bible reading knowing you’re not going to be perfect. You will miss days or weeks. It’s okay not to do it all. But don’t let that stop you from doing it at all.