by Molly Jo Nyman
The challenges of 2020 brought about something amazing in the life of Levi Gonzales. When the pandemic, the turmoil of the election, and the uncertainty of life left him feeling anxious, depleted, and desperate for God, he decided he needed a total “reset.”
And he was willing to take what some might call radical steps to revive his heart, steady his soul, and renew his mind. He also knew the source of what he needed was found in God’s Word.
Levi said, “I used to read a lot of my Bible. It was pretty common for me to sit down and read an entire book of the Bible, but over the past three years there was a career change and a move, and I wasn’t reading as much. I was desperate for a reset; for God’s word to realign my thinking. I needed to run away from the world, ignore the news, delete social media. I needed to get God’s perspective. So my initial plan was to read through the entire Bible in three months.”
Levi talked with his wife about his plan, and she was fully supportive, knowing that after Levi worked his full-time job as a software engineer, nights and weekends would be set aside for Bible reading. As it turned out, Levi most frequently settled into his wife’s comfortable chair, often reading 4-5 hours at a stretch.
His Bible of choice was the NLT Thinline Reference Filament Bible.
“I was in the Barnes and Noble in Salt Lake City and chose this Bible. When I was talking with my wife about getting back into Bible reading, she was looking into the NLT. I also have friends and family that read it and enjoy it. I liked the font size, and the Bible was easy to hold up,” Levi explained.
Three months seemed like a rigorous pace, but after acquiring his new Bible and starting to read, things did not go as planned…Levi read the entire Bible in 30 days!
He said, “I’ve read through the whole bible before but this time, at this speed, I was able to really see the ties and connections back and forth between books of the Bible that align historically and prophetically. And seeing the grand picture of Scripture… witnessing the story of redemption unfolding… it was what I needed to be reminded of the absolute and sovereign control of God.
“I feel like the NLT does a great job of explaining what it is trying to say. It is so easy to read. I don’t have to guess at what I’m reading, and I needed a translation that did all the heavy lifting for me.”
His method, his motivation, and his advice for Bible reading all go hand-in-hand.
“My advice is to soak up as much as God’s Word as you need. Consume as much nourishment as you need. Goals are not for goal’s sake, but for what you get out God’s Word,” Levi shared.
“My method was to not go about it like many who start in Genesis and try to read through. I tried that before and got burnt out in 2 Samuel. I feel like I need a little more Jesus at that point!” So Levi’s approach was to follow his interest.
“I just picked a book and read it all the way through, most of the time in one sitting. As I tackled each book I mixed Old and New Testament, usually not in any order and sometimes historically backwards. I read what piqued my interest at the time, because you put more effort in what you’re interested in.”
It was a method that not only led Levi to far exceed his initial plan, it also led him to achieve the results he needed.
“Who I am now, after doing it, is a much less stressed and anxious person.”