There have been so many reasons why my boys have made me proud over the years, however nothing could come close to this accomplishment. Commitment, consistency, and daily sacrifice were the building blocks for this task. A task which took them 12 months and 14 days to complete.
On the 22nd October of last year Jordan and I were browsing through a new Bible his grandfather gave to him. Our District Council gave our church a range of NIV Bibles for distribution, so I requested a copy for Jordan. Up until this point Jordan only read Kids Story Book Bibles, but at the age of 9, it was time for a change.
So, here we were, browsing through his new Bible. As we flipped through the pages, we came across a one year reading plan which peaked Jordo’s interest. Explaining to him that a reading plan helped you to read the entire Bible within a year was surprising as I did not expect him to be so interested in the concept. Jordan was excited at the prospect of reading the entire Bible from start to finish and could not get his mind around the fact that it would take him an entire year to do so.
He asked me if he could do it? So, I explained to him that if this was something he wanted to do, it was going to take a huge effort on his part and that he would have to stay committed and focused. It would be of no use to start and stop after a while, especially if he got bored or felt it was too difficult. Jordo, however, was still keen to try it and promised that he was going to stick at it and that by next year this time he would have read his entire Bible. (I did not take this child seriously at all, I was convinced that he would get no further than a week… 🤔)
Nevertheless, I gave him some guidelines on how it was going to work and the times of the day he would have to read to make sure that he was able to read on every day of the week. On school nights he was to read in the evenings before bedtime. This would have meant that he would have to move his schedule at least 30 minutes earlier. An earlier supper, an earlier bath time and more shockingly an earlier TV cut-off time. (Surely, I thought, TV time would be the deal breaker, there is no way he will give that up! Wrong again, sister! 😕 ).
Still he was determined that he was going to do this. On weekends and holidays to avoid the cuts he faced during the school week, we agreed that he would read as soon as he woke up in the mornings, this way, he would have the rest of the day to do as he pleased.
My Jordo boy was extremely excited, usually when he is so thrilled about something, he cannot hold back from sharing the news with his brother. This time was no different. He showed Judah his reading plan and shared how he was going to start this new and exciting challenge. Jordan’s enthusiasm stirred up within Jude and he too wanted to join his brother on this new venture. (Jordo made me laugh when he insisted his brother could not join him, because Judah’s bible did not have a reading plan of its own. 😂)
Anyways, Judah and Jordan started that evening with the plan. They continued throughout the months which followed, sticking to the times set out. (Hmmm, how surprising was that! As you can see, I am a very skeptical person, who is always proved wrong! 😋) These boys surprised me on so many levels. Firstly, I did not expect them to stick to the plan. I thought that they would grow bored and give it up. They did not. Every night they would take their Bibles without any prompting from Japheth or myself and go to read the designated passages. It easily became part of their bedtime routine and they became each other’s supporters. When one would forget the other would step in and remind them that they needed to go to read.
Secondly, it surprised me that not only were they reading consistently but they were enjoying it. The boys found it interesting that the stories they were reading was exactly what they heard preached in church. Every Sunday morning or whenever they would hear a scripture or Bible story mentioned they would say to each other that they already read that or explain the story to me. Every now and again the boys would keep me posted when they finished a book, or when they were heading into a new one. They were most excited when they finished the Old Testament and started with the New Testament, counting down to how many books they had left.
The biggest challenge they experienced was catching up after lost days. On one or two occasions they did miss days, either they were away and did not carry their Bibles with them, or the activities within a day proved to be too much and reading time was cut short. But whatever the reason, the boys fell back by 14 days. But to be honest with you, I was not going to make a big deal of 2 weeks since this was already such a huge accomplishment for 2 incredibly young boys.
This has been such a valuable experience; I would recommend this exercise for any child who is of age. There are so many benefits, besides the fact that your kids are reading the Word of God. Think of all the benefits of what they would learn from just that. But the discipline it takes to do it every day and the fact that they have access to great reading material. The Bible is not just stories, there’s poetry, songs and wisdom, laws, history and do not forget great imagery. The Bible has all kinds of beneficial literature, letters, and has a whole host of different writing styles all packed in. This makes it a challenging and exciting read all at once. The boys had 20 odd minutes a day of good solid reading material.
If you are going to start a plan with your child, I also would highly recommend a good kids Bible; Judah has the VeggieTales Bible in Hardcover and I promise you it is one of the best Bibles for kids. The VeggieTales Bible is in the New International readers Version (NIrV). This version is perfect for kids to understand with its simple and easy language. I feel the NIV was just a little more difficult for Jordan, he came to me often with things he did not understand. Judah however really got a good grasp of what he was reading. (it could also be that Jude is an entire year and 7 months older than Jordo? I don’t know?) The type of Bible they read is important, it needs to be age appropriate and you want your kids to gain a good perspective of what they are reading.
Reading the entire Bible in a year is not easy by any means. These guys gave themselves a challenge and achieved it themselves. Japheth and I were extremely impressed by their tenacity in completing what they started. Giving the boys a gift, if they finished, was never in our agreement, but we decided we were going to reward them for their effort. We do not want to spoil them, but to teach them that there are benefits to working hard and achieving what they set out to do. Jude and Jordo did not think there was anything to gain, when they started, and yet they went on and finished the plan gladly to the end.
Honestly, I could not be any prouder, and I pray the Lord continues His marvelous work in and through them… Please see below, I have included a link to a great YouVersion chronological reading plan, similar to the one the boys completed. There was a lot of jumping around through the books in this plan, but it made for better reading, I guess… Do let me know if your kids want to start with a plan and how it goes, it is a great challenge but with incredible rewards…
The One Year® Chronological Bible Reading Plan found on the YouVersion Bible App.