Thursday, June 23, 2011

Extreme Bible Challenge

Okay, this Bible challenge thing.  I keep saying that I will say something more official about it, so here goes:

I am challenging myself to read the Bible in 90 days.  It all started on May 31st when I was updating my Bookworm Challenge list.  I had just crossed off my seventh book and begun my eighth, when a very eloquent thought suddenly occurred to me.  It sounded something like this:  
This is stupid. 
The thing is, I already love reading.  So how can challenging myself to do something I already love doing possibly be considered a "challenge"?  That's like challenging a junk-food addict to consume a dozen twinkies a week.  Don't get me wrong, I still love having a yearly book list (especially over summer) to keep track of the novels I have read or intend to read.  But I'm just done pretending that it's actually a challenge for me to read twelve books a year.  So then, naturally, I asked myself this question:
What would be a challenge?
That's when a lightbulb sort of went off (or is it on? I may have butchered that expression).  The Bible.  It has always been my biggest literary adversary.  I've tried several times to read it, and generally have no issues getting through Genesis and Exodus.  But once I hit Leviticus (and don't get me started with Numbers), I start to drown in all those laws and eventually lose interest.  
So why would this time be any different?
In the past, I was never on any schedule.  My reading the Bible was contingent upon my interest in what I was reading, so inevitably I would eventually drift away.  But once I determined that I for-sure wanted to read the Bible, I jumped online to see if I could find any reading schedules to help keep me on track. There was a slew of year-long schedules, but I wanted something shorter to keep me motivated.  With Google's assistance, I found a Bible-reading challenge that offered a printable schedule to allow anyone interested to read the Bible, cover to cover, in 90 days.  This shorter time constraint gives me a sense of...panic, for lack of a better word.  A year-long Bible challenge gives me too much leeway to skip a day here and there, until eventually I get into a cycle of not reading.  But a 90 day challenge doesn't offer much wiggle room.  You miss a day; it's over.  It's nearly impossible to catch up (trust me, I've had the misfortune of already discovering this).

Some churches actually offer official 90 day challenges for their congregations to participate in, hence the logo above, and this one from last year:

But they start such challenges right after the New Year, and end them by March 31st.  Unfortunately, since summer is my optimal time to do mass-reading, I am forced to do this challenge alone.  That's the only downfall I am experiencing so far.  I would love to be able to discuss what I'm reading with others, especially when I'm feeling confused by some of the verses.

Below, I am keeping an ongoing list of the books of the Bible as I finish reading them.  This will be really boring for anyone else to read; it's just a personal reference for me for motivational-purposes.  I'm planning to link this page to the "Bi90 Eleven" logo on my side margin, so I can continue to add on to this list.  Wish me luck--or better yet--more self-discipline than I currently possess!

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Start-date of Challenge:  June 1, 2011
End-date of Challenge:  August 30, 2011
Date each book was completed:

Genesis:  June 4
Exodus:  June 7
Leviticus:  June 11
Numbers:  June 15
Deuteronomy:  June 17
Joshua:  June 19
Judges:  June 23
Ruth:  June 23
1 Samuel:  June 26
2 Samuel:  June 28
1 King:  June 30
2 Kings: July 2
1 Chronicles:  July 5
2 Chronicles:  July 8
Ezra:  July 8
Nehemiah:  July 10
Esther:  July 10
Job:  July 12
Psalms:  July 23
Proverbs:  July 25
Ecclesiastes:  July 26
Song of Songs: July 26
Isaiah:  In progress