Conner and I have challenged ourselves to read the entire New Testament before the year ends.
A couple of years ago, when we were active LDS members, the president of the church challenged all its members to read the Book of Mormon before year end. This was done in August, I believe. Conner and I both began in September, or maybe October. And we both finished with a couple of days to spare. (It is possible that I skipped some of the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi, but who can blame me?)
I found the whole process to be quite spiritually rewarding. At the time, I believed that the BoM was God’s word. I believed I was following a prophet’s directive. And I was doing my best to be the best that I could be. I would read the BoM on the subway on my way to or from work (usually not both, because I wanted to be able to knit on the train too). I wound up thinking about what I was reading about throughout the day, and making connections between the stories that I wouldn’t have noticed with a slower read through.
I’m hoping that our current challenge will have a similar positive effect. If nothing else, it will make me more familiar with the Bible, as I haven’t read all of the NT before. I’m currently reading The Message paraphrase. At some point I’ll probably get a Bible study (any recommendations? Why did you or didn’t you like what you used?). I also hope that reading it will have some of the transformative power to make me a better person. And, probably most important, I hope that it will help me draw closer to Jesus.
I’ve started with the Gospel of Mark. There are two reasons for this. First, at church they’ve been doing a sermon series on the Gospel of Mark. Second, I’ve often decided to read the entire NT, and started at Matthew… and stopped within Matthew.