Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why I Read the Bible Cover to Cover - Q & A with Katie Stilp

Last year our daughter Katie decided to read the Bible cover-to-cover.  She was nine years old when she made this commitment.  Katie printed off a reading plan from our church's website and systematically tackled five chapters a day.  On December 31st, she showed us her completed reading schedule - every box checked off!  We rewarded her with her first mani/pedi and still owe her dinner at the restaurant of her choice.  We are SO proud!

Many people who hear about Katie's accomplishment are shocked that a nine-year-old would WANT to read the Bible and that she actually FOLLOWED THROUGH on such a lengthy, time-consuming commitment.  We've also gotten feedback from confused parents who think we're crazy to have our kids read the Bible.  Doesn't it have sex and violence in it?  What about the Song of Solomon?  GAH!

Our perspective is this.  Curt and I are ALL IN when it comes to following Jesus.  We have chosen to receive the salvation Jesus offers.  As an outpouring of our love and thankfulness for this gift, we will follow Him as He leads.  That's a HUGE commitment.  If I'm going to make that type of commitment, I want to know WHO I'm committing to.  

I find Jesus in the Bible.  It's God's love letter to His creation.  The Bible tells the story of creation, free will, love adulterated and then redeemed through Jesus.  In the end, God makes all things new.  The more I read the Bible, the more I understand who God is, grasp my need for a Savior, and begin to understand my purpose and calling in His kingdom.  Without the Bible, I would have a surface level knowledge - at best - of who God is and what I'm supposed to do with my decision to follow Jesus.

Our kids don't know or understand everything about following Jesus (neither do I), but they know enough to say, "Sign me up."  They made a commitment to receive Jesus' forgiveness of their sins and follow Him.  By reading the Bible consistently the image of God comes into focus through the person of Jesus.  The big picture starts to make more sense.  As our kids dig into the Word, they fall more in love with the God who died to save them.  The lightbulb goes on and as it burns brighter, their passion grows for their Jesus who love them outrageously.

It says, "I'm done!"

I sat down with Katie to ask her WHY she read the entire Bible and WHAT she learned.  Here's what she had to say.  I think you'll be encouraged.

Q:  Why did you choose to commit to read the Bible cover-to-cover in one year?
A:  I chose to read the Bible cover-to-cover in one year because Grant (my older brother) and my parents told me it was fun and very good. I wanted to see for myself.

Q:  Were you nervous about reading so many chapters each day?
A: Yes.  I was nervous that I wouldn't keep up with the assigned reading.

Q:  How much did you have to read each day?
A:  I read two chapters of the Old Testament, one chapter of the New Testament, one Psalm, and one Proverb each day.  That means I read the book of Proverbs twelve times and the book of Psalms two-and-a-half times, and the rest of the Bible one time.

Q:  How on earth did you find time to do that?  Aren't you a busy student and athlete?  I've heard your parents make you do chores too.
A:  At first, I struggled to keep up with the assignments.  But once I got used to the plan and schedule, I didn't struggle very often.

Q:  What do you mean by "plan" and "schedule?"
A:    My plan was to read every morning before school.  If I didn't finish it all in the morning, I would read at night before I went to bed.  The schedule was a sheet of paper that I checked off for every day.  I already told you that Mom.

Q:  How long did it take you each day?
A:  It took me probably about twenty to thirty minutes.

Q:  Did you have to start getting up earlier?
A:  In the beginning of 4th grade, I moved my wake up time from 7 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.  This was before I started reading the Bible every day.  But the extra thirty minutes turned into my Bible reading time once January started.

Q:  Was the Bible hard to understand?
A:  Some parts of it were.  Some parts I was familiar with and they weren't confusing at all, but some parts I hadn't heard before were confusing.

Q:  Can you give an example of something that you hadn't heard before that was confusing when you first read it?
A:  The book of I Kings and the book of Revelations.  I had never read either of these before.  Nobody ever taught us about the end of the Bible which is where Revelations is.  Revelations has unexpected things in the plot like dragons and creatures that I've never heard of before.  I Kings talked about a bunch of Israelite kings that I had never heard about before.

Q:  What was your favorite book of the Bible or story?  Why?
A:  Ruth and Esther.   They were women who were heros.  That was a nice change from all the men the Bible talks about.  I like their personalities.  They are different, but have similar traits.  Ruth grew up in a bad place and became good by following Jesus and married a godly man.  Esther grew up in good places and married the King, not a farmer person.  The King was not that good, so God used Esther to lead the King to make good choices.

Q:  Are you reading the Bible cover-to-cover again this year?  Why or why not?
A:  No.  I'm reading the New Testament and a devotional book my parents gave me.  I think devotions will be a nice change from a lot of reading each day.  I still want to be in the Bible so I'm also reading one chapter a day from the New Testament.  This plan will get me through the entire New Testament this year.

Q:  Why would you read the Bible a second time?  Didn't you already read it?
A:  I wanted to understand it more, especially the New Testament, because it talks more about Jesus and how to live for Jesus.

Q:  Do you feel like reading the Bible every day has been helpful to your quality of life?  Why?
A:  Yes!  Now I know how God can speak through me and to me.  He speaks to me through the Bible and prayer.  He speaks THROUGH me when I tell my friends about Jesus and how much I love Him.  I can also understand stuff about the Bible that my parents tell me.  Before it didn't always make sense but now I can see a connection to what I read.

Q:  What would you say to people who are considering reading the Bible cover-to-cover but say they don't have time or are "too busy?"
A:  You don't have to read it in a year on a time schedule, but you just have to be in the Word every day.  That's what matters.  Stick to it.  It doesn't have to be fifteen minutes.  It could be five or ten minutes or just one chapter.  You just have to decide to do it and follow though.  If I can do it, so can you!

And there you have it.  If Katie can do it, so can you.  Why not take some time to get to know the God of the Bible?  You might be surprised by what you discover.


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  2. That's awesome Jodi....teach me to be a great mom like you!! I'm sure she will remember that year as a big milestone!! Blessings, Stephanie

  3. Tell Katie she is such an inspiration to us! So proud of her for following through on her commitment and her hard work! May it bear much fruit in her life. Love you girls. - Faith

  4. I loved this. Loved her deduction in the last answer...the important thing is to be in the Word each day and moving through it. Sometimes God has had me in a book for months, because He's teaching me through it. There is much freedom as we move in obedience. Love, love