As my husband and I sat reflecting on the past year, we felt the urgency of being intentional in our discipleship of our kids in their last years with us before we launch them as adults. For my oldest, we only have a little over a year left! How did we get here?
As Classical educators, our desire is to liberate the minds of our kids so that they can be free thinkers. We came up with two simple tools we want to equip our kids with before they leave our home:
How to study the Bible - we've been working through Living by the Bookby Howard Hendricks...more on this later.
Giving them a big picture understanding of the Bible. This is where reading through the Bible in a year comes into play.
When I first met my husband, we were in college and were a part of CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ). I'd always find him in the university center between classes reading his chronological Bible. Our connection to God's word is one of the things that most drew our hearts together that year. The challenge in making it through the entire Bible in a year is that often you start strong, but by March, when you're stuck in the middle of Leviticus or Deuteronomy, the luster has worn off.
While reading every chapter and every verse is a great thing to do, it doesn't necessarily help readers see the meta-narrative of scripture. One of my favorite books that helps draw out the themes of the grand story is The Big Picture by Tom Nelson. With this in mind, we wanted to take a gentler approach to reading through the Bible that allowed time for conversations, curiosity, and consistency.
One of the concepts that sparked this idea came from an idea Howard Hendricks introduces in his book: Reading Telescopically. The idea is based on our dangerous tendency to zoom in and study a single verse outside of it's context. When you read telescopically, you zoom in to study, but you also zoom out to see how that sentence fits in the paragraph, in the chapter, in the book, and in the grander story of the Bible.
So my husband and I sat down and outlined the key stories and passages from the Bible that we can zoom in on and discuss with our kids, but we can also zoom out from and help our kids see the bigger picture of what was going on in that time period.
Read through MOST of the Bible in a Year
So here's the plan. We're going to focus on twenty points of interest each month for eleven months, leaving the twelfth month for Advent reading, and make it through the entire Bible. Here's the general outline:
We decided on selecting twenty points of focus for each month for a couple of reasons. First, I typically over plan my ambitious endeavors. This usually ends in falling behind and not finishing out the plan I made. With twenty tasks per month, this leaves time for following a rabbit trail of curiosity or having a sick day. Those happen.
Additionally, if there's a story that we didn't select that you feel is essential to the grand scheme of things, or was particularly meaningful to your own spiritual growth, you have time to add it in to your family's devotionals.
Grab your guide to the first month reading plan, and read through most of the Bible with us this year.
Extra Resources for Background Info
If you're just interested in reading the Bible through, go for it! My desire is to also equip my kids with a basic understanding of the context and overview of all 66 books in the Bible. Therefore, on the reading plan, I've included references to additional resources that you could read to draw out greater understanding of the cultural or historical context of the event. Here's what I recommend:
Self-Guided Tour of the Bible - by Rose Publishing. This is a concise, yet excellent resource that if you only get one additional resource to help you with your road trip through the Bible, it will be an invaluable resource.
The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook - edited by Daniel Hays and Scott Duvall. If you have older kids that are ready for more than a simple Bible story, this book is a rich source for background information. My son purchased this one for himself, so he'll be reading these selections on his own, but I'll probably borrow it occasionally for my own education. I'm just as hungry for understanding as they are!
The Victor Journey Through the Bible - by Gilbert Beers. I included this resource because many homeschool curricula recommend it. It's been on my shelf for a number of years, and it's time to put this baby to use! It does a great job of drawing out the cultural context of many of the stories. I'm looking forward to learning from this one as well.
All of these resources are really just optional extras, but they are not necessary to glean the goodness from God's word alone.
Are You Ready to Embark on a Road Trip Through the Bible?
I love a good road trip. Kids always tend to slow things down in unexpected ways. You'll need to leave time for pit stops and unexpected excursions. Just like a road trip, you can't expect kids to travel like adults do. So often I expect them to just know what I know. However, these things are not just intuitive, they need to be trained.
So buckle up, get your map ready, and enjoy the journey through the Bible in a year! I'd love to hear from you if you decide to join us! Blessings on your year and pursuit of knowing God more!
Want the Rest of the Plan?
Click on the links below to download the complete reading plan, or just start where you'd like to jump in.