My Journey Reading the Bible

Andy Cabistan

A few weeks ago I finished reading the entire Bible. It was a one-year plan, but it took me ~ 5 years to complete it.

I started reading it right after college in Savannah, Georgia. It was a time full of many unknowns and dreams that felt humanly impossible to achieve on my own.

A little background on my story: I grew up in Costa Rica and moved by myself to the U.S. when I was 16 years old. In college, I was in a safe bubble of campus jobs, scholarships, and student loans. The time had come for me to get out of that bubble and face the real world. I knew that the only way I was going to be able to get through the next seasons of adulting was by getting close to God.

Reading the Bible helped me through lots of ups and downs. In those 5 years, I started a business and experienced failure as an entrepreneur, changed careers, moved across the country to San Francisco, and navigated job changes, promotions, and a full pandemic. One passage that I kept going back to is Philippians 4:6–7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

When putting all my worries in God’s hands He always guided me and gave me peace.

Something fascinating that happened during this journey is that I assumed that I was going to finish The Bible in one year and then remember everything perfectly, but I learned that God would actually speak to my heart in different ways through the specific passages I was reading in different seasons. At points, I spent several months on specific books and topics. It’s so true when Hebrews 4:12 says:

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Ecclesiastes helped me realize that so many material things that we obsess over are pointless and futile. Proverbs had amazing wisdom for daily living. The Psalms helped me with honest prayers. Genesis and Revelation have the most thrilling stories about the creation and power of God. The Gospels showed me God’s love for us by sacrificing His own Son, Jesus, to forgive our sins. Jesus was an iconic rebel of his time. I could go on and on, but this brings me to the most important point of the story.

LOVE.

This is the biggest lesson I learned from reading the Bible.

When someone asked Jesus at a wedding banquet what was the most important commandment, he said:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. — Matthew 22:37–39.

Loving your neighbor means listening to your neighbor, seeking peace, calling out injustice, being compassionate, giving to others more than you take. The world today needs more people who love their neighbor as themselves. I understand why Jesus said that love was the most important principle.

Lastly, I learned to make it a habit to spend time with God by reading the Bible. It breathes life into your soul and gives you the wisdom to strive to be the person you were created to be. Not perfect, but a decent person in a complex world.

I encourage you to spend more time reading the Bible, having conversations with God through your prayers, and spending more time in community with your church family at Canvas. It has made a huge impact in my life and I know it will make a positive impact in your life as well.

God bless.

– Andy