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10 Things I Have Learned as a Pastor From Reading the Bible 100 Times

reading the bible

When I was a pastoral student at Liberty University in 1989, I made a commitment to Jesus to read 10 chapters of the Bible a day until I had read it 100 times. I began this commitment on Aug. 16, 1989, and I fulfilled this commitment on Feb. 27. It took me 34 ½ years to read the Bible 100 times.

It should have taken me 33 1/3. I should have finished it about 500 days sooner. So, I missed my goal, but as Dr. Jerry Falwell used to say at Liberty University, “Shoot for the stars, land on the moon, and nobody will notice the difference!”

This one discipline has single-handedly changed the trajectory of my life and pastoral ministry. It has carried me through the past 27 years of raising a family and church planting as a pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in Colorado Springs called Vanguard Church. I talk about this discipline and commitment in the book, “The Good Pastor,” published by Leadership Books.

I hope my story of commitment to this discipline will inspire a new generation of Jesus followers to make the Word of God the central piece of their lives. I pray this discipline will become the hub that dictates to them everything else about their lives.

Now if you knew me personally or as a pastor, you might say to yourself or to me, “Kelly, if you truly spent that much time reading and applying the Word of God to your life over the past 35 years, it would seem to me you would be a lot godlier than you actually are.” 

I agree!

One of my favorite authors is Henri Nouwen, whom I can relate with. Once someone remarked to him, “Henri, it surprises me that you are not godlier than you are given how much time you have spent with the Lord and His Word in your lifetime.” To which Henri responded, “I know, can you imagine how bad of a man I would be had I not spent any time with Jesus and His Word.” 

My sentiment exactly!

I look at my life and think to myself, I should be godlier! But I can’t imagine where I would be today without this discipline of reading and applying God’s Word each day. 

As I reflect on the past 35 years, I wanted to capture my top ten lessons I have learned from reading the Bible 100 times. 

Here are my top ten lessons:

  1. The God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New Testament.
  2. God is perfectly holy throughout the Bible.
  3. God is perfect love throughout the Bible and commands us in Leviticus to love one another.
  4. The entire Bible is about one person, and his name is Jesus. He is the ONLY way to eternal life.
  5. God hates our sin. The shame you feel before repentance is always from God.
  6. God always and immediately forgives sin when we repent. Shame you feel after repentance is never from God.
  7. God seeks every private means possible to convict us of sin for repentance before He brings public destruction in our lives.
  8. God’s judgment in this life is always to lead us to repentance and restoration.
  9. God’s kindness to us is never random; It is always for the sake of either showing His goodness to us or to turn us back from our sin.
  10. All Scripture is profitable for us. Don’t unhook your plow from the Old Testament. Nothing in the entire Bible is a mistake or inconsistent to who God is or inapplicable to our lives today.