2016 Guilt-Free Read Through The Bible!
by Al Lowry
Founder of GIG, a music ministry at Saddleback Church
Note from Eric Elder: If you’ve ever wanted to try reading through the Bible in a year, my good friend (and a member of our ministry’s board of directors) Al Lowry will be heading up another “guilt-free” read through the Bible for 2016. You can read Al’s thoughts on it below, along with the thoughts of some other members of the group from last year. I hope you’ll join him for this exciting way to get more out of the Bible than you may have ever gotten before! Here’s Al’s letter…
Last year at this time, Eric Elder informed me of a “guilt-free” read through the Bible for 2015 and challenged me to head up a forum for others who might like to join in.
Though I had a desire to embark on this endeavor, I have to confess I’d tried on many occasions, always falling short.
This is when he emphasized that “guilt free” was the theme of this read (hmm, “guilt free,” I liked the sound of that. )
He gave me a few examples:
If you miss a day, you can make it up later, or just pick up where you want to.
If one passage stands out, focus on it and realize God can give you the message he wants you to receive, simply by being faithful in plodding along… Guilt free, eh? Well, maybe!
So, that is exactly what I did.
Some days I read less than the entire plan. Other times my attention level was low and I felt like I probably didn’t comprehend much of what I read. On other occasions, I confess, (wait, NO GUILT), I skipped the reading altogether.
This may not sound like a high level of commitment, but I would like to report that 365 days later, I have completed somewhere between one-half and two-thirds of the Bible. And though far from being the Bible scholar I would wish to be, I’ve read more of the Bible in a year than I’ve ever read before, and I’ve definitely received insight far beyond what I would’ve anticipated.
This all began a year ago when Eric published my intention on his Sunday sermon for The Ranch. About 200 people signed up, and mainly because of the positive comments I received from others who participated, I’ve decided to repeat the reading this year and see if I can fill in some of the gaps that I missed. I would like to invite you to join in.
There are many other great yearly read-through programs, a lot of them with smart commentaries and great depth. Though I sometimes include my own insights or devotionals, what you’ll mostly find in my writings is encouragement for struggling readers. I am a very regular guy who struggles, but who wants to step up my walk. I have come to realize there are many like myself out there.
If you are one of them, please feel free to take a stab at this guilt-free participation in reading the most important book ever written. The easy steps on how to sign up and access our reading plan are included below. You can sign up and adjust the plan at any time.
To join our Facebook group where you can learn more and interact with me and others who are reading along with you, click here:
To access the daily Bible readings we’ll be using, just click this link from your computer, tablet or smart phone to sign up. You’ll have a choice to read the passages or listen to them, in whichever version or language you choose. There’s also an option to have the daily readings emailed to you in the version you choose, too, by going to the settings after signing up for the reading plan. It’s all free, as well as guilt free! Sign up for the Bible readings here:
And for extra encouragement, here are a few comments from people who took this journey with me last year:
“Yay – are we starting the No-Guilt One Year bible reading over again!? I am in…..”
“It was amazing how the assigned Word spoke volumes to my daily situation most days… and I loved checking off when each book was completed. I spent 2015 reading through one translation of the Bible, so I’m considering doing the same structured reading using a different translation.”
“I have appreciated your honesty as you walked us through a year of guilt-free reading. After missing days here and there I probably would have given up, if it were not for your authenticity in sharing that you also missed days. I have read the Bible all my life, but this is the first structured read through in a year, and I am a changed person. I long to know God better. I crave His Word and what He wants to reveal to me.”
“I tried to read everyday but when that didn’t happen, I caught up when I could. Thank you for the way you have explained different passages, and thank you also for letting us know who to pray for in the different situations that have arisen over the past year. We all need each other when we are struggling through the storm. Please let me know if you have any more plans for Bible reading.”
“I’m sure I speak for many when I thank you for your commitment, diligence, creativity, vulnerabilty, honesty, wisdom and simply being human in all of your faithful writings all year when many of us have stumbled in our commitment to reading (but no guilt!). I know that the day you meet our Lord Jesus Christ, his words to you will surely be, ‘Well done, fine servant!'”
“I thank God this was a ‘guilt free’ commitment…….. however, I still fee guilty must admit……. I did read your synopsis and comments faithfully over the past year…… seldom reading the actual scripture……….. seldom missing your message……….. I really enjoyed and reaped much benefit from your insights…… so honest, real, and on target…………….. THANK YOU!!! I would love to try it again in the next year………. your insights were enlightening, and encouraging…….. just post those again this year please………!”
Again, to join our Facebook discussion group, please visit:
And to sign up for the daily Bible readings themselves, click the link below. We’re using the YouVersion “Read Through The Bible” plan, where you’ll be able to easily access the daily Bible readings and choose your preferred version and language.
Hope you’ll join us!