The Davis family, left to right Leslie, Susan, Otis, Holly and Christine, gather around the Bible. The family is reading the Bible in its entirety for the third time. (Freedom Newspapers: Leslie Spence)
By Helena Rodriguez: Freedom Newspapers
PORTALES — The Bible can look like a huge and intimidating book to open.
A local ministry believes they have the answer to not only get families reading the Bible together, but to read it in a year. Under their Read the Bible in One Year Plan, an average family, person or group can go from Genesis to Revelation in 365 days, according to Sharon Davis of the Matthew 6:33 Academy in Portales.
People can use any Bible, although Otis Davis recommends the Life Application Bible because of its helpful notes, and can begin the plan on any given day of the year. The daily readings take an average of 30 to 40 minutes and consist of three of four chapters a day, usually from the Old and New Testaments.
“We try to encourage people not to be too logistical, to be a little flexible with this plan,” Otis Davis said. “It’s OK if you take just a little longer or shorter to read the Bible.”
The main thing the Davises stress is just opening the Bible on a daily basis and making it a part of a daily routine.
“To form a new habit, research shows you that it takes 20 times. It takes 20 days to make this a habit,” said Holly Davis, one of the three Davis girls, who, along with their parents, Otis and Susan, make up Matthew 6:33 Academy, a family ministry which has performed 58 dramatic productions to date at a variety of churches and denominations. They estimate they have distributed about 5,800 copies of their Reading the Bible in One Year Plan following their dramatic productions.
“It’s not really about reading the Bible in a year, but reading it daily,” Otis Davis reiterated. “The goal is that by the end you will find it so beneficial, you will want to continue to read it day by day.”
Susan recommends that people break down the readings if that helps them, saying that they can read a few chapters in the morning and then a few in the afternoon.
Her daughter, Christine, said, “I read the New Testament at night and the Old Testament during the day. If you break it up like that, then it doesn’t seem so hard to swallow.”
By breaking the readings up, and also by following the plan and reading three or four chapters a day, Susan said people will begin to see the progress they’ve made in only a few months.
Otis Davis said that may people today only know little snippets of information from the Bible and don’t have the rest of the story, so to speak.
“We all know that Solomon was wise and very wealthy, but we forget the part near the end where he fell away from God,” he said. “Reading the Bible has really enriched our lives. Some people think ‘I’m going to have to give up this or that …’but it really enriches your life. A lot of things that we spend our time and effort on really don’t make a difference.”