Reading through the Bible in a year is a challenge many Christians aspire to complete.
It’s considered a major achievement and an inspiration.
But for one “senior saint,” it’s simply become a habit!
Helen Tyler may be 99 years old, but she’s young at heart and still deeply committed to pursuing Jesus.
As a member of Brentwood Baptist Church in Tennessee, Miss Tyler heard her pastor, Jay Strother, issue a challenge to his congregation at the start of 2020.
Pastor Strother wanted his congregants to read through the entire Bible in 2020, calling his challenge “The Whole Church in the Whole Word.” Strother hoped that his congregation would deepen their knowledge of the Bible and encourage each other in seeking God’s truth.
Immediately after the service, Miss Tyler told Strother that she wanted to be the first to sign up for the challenge!
But Strother didn’t learn until later that it wouldn’t be her first time reading through the Bible.
In fact, Miss Tyler told him later, “I’ve been through the Bible 60 times and I might as well make it 61.”
She’s read through the Bible several dozen times already, what a wise use of her 99 years on earth!
Miss Tyler, the widow of a pastor, helped her husband minister to churches all throughout their marriage. The first time she read through the entire Bible was during World War II when her church issued a challenge to “Read the Bible through in ’42.”
Since then, Miss Tyler has combed through the Scriptures over and over, faithfully immersing herself in God’s Word.
“You’d think I’ve heard these stories, but every time I read it or hear it being read, I catch something,” she admitted.
The truths in Scripture are truly timeless, and they impact our lives differently at different seasons. Miss Tyler can testify to that!
“God shows me something new every time,” she said.
“Just like she learns something new every time she reads it,” Strother encouraged other church members, “we learn something new every time we come to it.”
“In the same way on the road to Emmaus, Jesus revealed to His disciples something new and fresh that they needed to see and that we need to see today, and it’s that the whole counsel of Scripture points to Him.”
Reading through the Bible, even if you’ve done it before, is never a waste of time. It’s an important part of knowing God, seeking His will, and understanding His plans for the world and for your life.
In Miss Tyler’s case, Scripture has kept her on the path of righteousness. She regularly attends Brentwood Baptist’s 8 a.m. service and inspires other members of the church in good works and commitment to their faith.
In fact, after Miss Tyler signed up for “The Whole Church in the Whole Word” challenge, 560 other individuals and families in the church were inspired to make to same commitment! They followed her example of love for the Word and “got in line behind her” immediately.
Strother called Miss Tyler a “hero” of the faith and “a great example of faithfulness” in the Christian walk.
“I love the idea that our senior saints can lead the way in setting that example for us,” he noted. “I love that resolve to find a way to get the Word of God into your heart and into your life again and again.”
Due to poor eyesight, Miss Tyler hasn’t been able to read on her own for the last ten years, so she asks her friends and family to read Scripture aloud so she can hear it and soak it in.
Not even these physical problems have stopped her from seeking God through His Word. But Miss Tyler is, sadly, a unique person in the church today.
Pastor Strother shared that Bible reading is a “matter of priority” in the Christian life—and many of today’s Christians don’t believe that they need to prioritize God’s Word.
“It’s not that we don’t have the time, it’s that we don’t choose the time,” Strother added. “You could read the entire Bible throughout loud in about 72 hours…in the time that people usually watch TV…in two weeks.”
As Christians, we need to commit to spending time in God’s Word. It’s essential for our spiritual wellbeing.
Are you inspired to follow Miss Tyler’s example and read through the Bible? Consider investing in a journaling Bible to keep you focused, think through how to incorporate the Scriptures into your day, or download a daily Bible reading plan to get started!