When it comes to delving into the Bible, there are various methods to consider. This article seeks to introduce what we can term “A Better Way” of engaging with this sacred text. While the focus is on reading the Bible, it’s important to acknowledge that studying, meditating, and memorizing it also holds immense value and enrich our understanding of God’s Word.
Before diving into the preferred approach, let’s confront an essential question: Are we truly reading the Bible? It seems that many individuals who identify as Christians have a limited engagement with the Bible. If they do read it, the practice is often marked by inconsistency or scarcity.
By “inconsistency,” we refer to the lack of forming a habitual reading practice. Reading the Bible is not a regular part of their routine; it’s sporadic, undertaken occasionally, and without a consistent pattern. It’s a case of “Maybe I’ll spend time in the Word today, or maybe I won’t.”
This inconsistent approach hints at a lower priority assigned to reading Scripture. The sentiment may lean towards “I’m occupied with work, family, and other commitments. Reading the Bible isn’t a high priority for me.”
“My faith remains strong. I regularly attend worship services, contribute financially, and serve in my church in various capacities. I don’t feel the need for a ‘Quiet Time’ or ‘Devotions’ as others do. It doesn’t seem necessary for me.”
On the other hand, “scarcity” points to brief moments spent with the Bible, often confined to reading a single verse from a daily devotional book. These devotionals present a format: they quote a verse, offer explanatory paragraphs, and applications, and conclude with a prayer.
These devotional books continue to be popular, serving as conduits of God’s truth authored by devoted believers with the aim of communicating the Word. These materials have their merit, and they’ve benefited many. For instance, my wife and I found value in John Piper’s “The Dawning of Indestructible Joy,” a collection of daily readings for Advent.
However, if solely adopting a “verse a day” mentality, aren’t we depriving ourselves? While it’s certainly better than not reading at all, there’s a feeling that something significant is missing. This leads us to the proposition of “A Better Way” to Read the Bible.
Let’s unravel the concept of “A Better Way” by drawing an analogy from another cherished book in your life – not the Bible. Think of a favorite book, whether fiction or non-fiction. It might be a childhood treasure, a classic, or something more recent. Recall why you love it, how it enriched you, and how you experienced its worth.
Imagine you’re sharing this book with someone unfamiliar with it – a friend, family member, or coworker. They’ve heard of it but never read it. You’re not explaining why you love it; instead, you’re describing how to read it effectively.
So, what would you advise? Would you say:
- Don’t start at the beginning.
- Don’t read the entire book.
- Instead, choose a random sentence or paragraph from anywhere and read that each day for the next year.
- The order doesn’t matter; read a small portion every day, anywhere in the book.
- Unsure where to begin? Pick any page randomly. Or, ask someone who has read the book for suggestions on 365 sentences to read over the year.
- If you find a favorite part, you can keep rereading it.
- Over time, you might have many preferred sections. It’s okay to keep rereading those, without worrying about the unread parts.
Does this approach resonate with you for reading your favorite book?
Or would you likely say, “Start at the beginning and read the whole book”?
It’s evident that the latter response holds more weight, right?
Hence, the proposal for “A Better Way” to Read the Bible is to approach it like any other book. To comprehend a book thoroughly, doesn’t it necessitate reading it in its entirety? Understanding is a key goal of Bible reading, and isn’t that why we read any book?
Perhaps some find the Bible perplexing because it hasn’t been read holistically, like other books. A sweeping view, from Genesis to Revelation, provides context for its parts. To understand the entirety, we should read it as we do other books.
Have you pondered how many Christians have read the entire Bible? It’s a pertinent question, and while numbers might elude us, individual commitment remains significant.
Let’s redirect the question toward ourselves. Have we read all 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation? If so, commendable! If not, why? Reflecting on this and seeking God’s insights can be rewarding.
Returning to your favorite book – chances are, you’ve read it cover to cover in weeks or months. The Bible’s length exceeds that of typical library books; depending on the format, it can exceed 1,000 pages. The familiar “read the Bible in a year” framework is realistic. Roughly 3 chapters daily, approximately 20-30 minutes, leads to completion.
Let’s consider the investment. Allocating 30 minutes, a daily activity for many, allows for reading the entire Bible in a year. Amidst digital distractions, why not allocate time for this endeavor? Embrace the Bible like any book and encounter its fullness.
This approach transformed my understanding. Reading the Bible entirely elevated comprehension. Insights emerged the Scriptures intertwined, and the diverse books harmonized. Old and New Testaments, diverse genres, different authors – this collective work became a coherent narrative.
The Bible, diverse yet unified, penned by God, necessitates holistic reading. Embrace this approach and let God’s Word flourish in your life. For guidance, numerous online Bible reading plans are available. Search “Bible reading plans,” select one, and embark on a transformative journey.
In conclusion, “A Better Way” to Read the Bible emphasizes approaching it like any other book. Engage with its entirety to grasp its profound message. By appreciating its unity, you’ll uncover deeper truths. Let this method empower your faith journey.