Julie Reynolds – West Ryde 

I’m 84, a widow and live by myself. I have plenty of time to read the Bible. People who have young children just don’t have the time that you get much later on [in life] when you retire.

I get up in the morning, make myself a cup of tea and for the next hour and 30 minutes I read my Bible, read devotions and pray. I feel very privileged to have the time to do that. 

I have various ways of doing it. I can read a whole book of the Bible [and] I use “Explore” notes from the Good Book Company. I’m quite varied with what I do, but basically I’m working through books of the Bible using notes to help me.

If you want to get to know somebody, you talk to them

I became a Christian when I was 36 and came to Australia from England. A neighbour took me to church. I wanted my children to have good playmates and meet people, so my neighbour took me to meet the people running the [children’s programs]. 

I heard a sermon by my first minister, Peter O’Brien, at that church. When he preached, he preached about the woman at the well. I thought, “He knows all about my life,” so I asked him if I could talk to him. He explained the gospel to me. I became a Christian in his sitting room.

I’ve been reading the Bible in the morning for almost 50 years.

Peter encouraged me in daily Bible reading. He said, “If you want to know somebody, you talk to them. If you want to know God, you read the Bible. That’s God talking to you”. The sentiment was that reading your Bible as a Christian was absolutely essential and I took that on board. Even though my children were [young], I still had a little time in the morning before they got up. So I just started reading in the morning. I’ve been reading the Bible in the morning for almost 50 years.

It’s meant to show us how unlike Christ we are

It certainly has been a blessing. People can read the Bible and quote it. I can’t say “That’s from verse fifteen.” I’ve never been able to do that. What I do remember is the scriptures themselves. It’s very challenging. 

I’m always distressed at how sinful I can be, and I think, “Why can’t I get out of the habit?” or “Why do I still do that?”. If you’re reading the Bible, you’re going to feel like that. There’s no other way to react to it, because it’s meant to do that to us. It’s meant to show us how unlike Christ we are, even though we want to live the way he wants us to live. 

It’s meant to show us how unlike Christ we are, even though we want to live the way he wants us to live.

I find the words of the 23rd Psalm [comforting], the thought of the Lord being my shepherd. It’s probably one that is used by many people. Whenever something distressing has happened, I only have to think and dwell on that Psalm for that to be a calming, comforting Psalm. 

I also love the book of John. Often Mark’s gospel is used for somebody when they first come [to church], and that’s lovely because it’s the story of Jesus. But somehow, when you read John, it’s so rich in every way. I love the Bible really. 

After 50 years of daily Bible reading, it just keeps getting better

Reading the Bible is the way to get to know God. If you wanted to make a good friend, what would you do to get to know them? I’ve always thought about it in that way. It’s more than just reading words, it is God speaking to us through the words of Scripture. I can’t wait to speak to him face to face, once I’ve gotten off the ground from bowing down before him. 

I think that people who don’t read their bibles are missing out on such a lot of richness in their Christian life. All the riches are in those words. Not that the words are magic, but the richness is in the things that Christ is sharing with us. We never need to fear what is going on in the world. It’s horrible to read about, and makes us frustrated or angry, but we don’t have to worry. We know the truth. There is only one truth. 

It just gets better with God. It’s not that he gets better, but hanging in there with him is amazing. He never leaves you or forsakes you.


We interviewed several Sydney Anglicans as part of a series on personal Bible reading habits. Read the other stories in the series:

How a text message started a 5-year Bible reading habit

Bible reading lead me to start a Facebook group

The surprising connection between eating dinner and Bible reading