Reading James 20 Times

I just got through reading James 20 times. Here is a post about this method.

I picked James because I just got done spending a lot of time in Proverbs, and James has many similarities, which will be shown in a future post. It’s also a small book so it would be easy to read 20 times on my first time doing it. And I need to work on how I say and write things and not just say whatever comes to mind without thinking about how it might affect people.

I would love to read every book of the Bible 20 times but I don’t think that will happen. I will definitely do it with Colossians when I study it thoroughly. Doing this with the whole Bible would be pretty incredible.

I took the opportunity to read just about every translation that I have in book form and also put a few of them on my Nokia eReader.

Here are the translations used. REB is my primary translation.

1-GW
2-GW
3-REB
4-REB
5-REB
6-GNT
7-MSG*
8-NCV*
9-Amplified
10-CEV*
11-NLT
12-CEB
13-TNIV
14-NRSV
15-HCSB
16-ISV*
17-GW/NLT (some comparison)
18-Lattimore
19-ESV
20-REB

* These are the ones I don’t have in book form.

I was surprised at how much I like the CEV. The Amplified was the only one I really didn’t like at all. It has brackets for alternative renderings, paragraphs and italic text that drives me nuts. I will never read that one again. Edit: Brian said it’s the multiple choice Bible.

I can’t say I got anything special from it. I think it would be better to use one or maybe two translations, using your primary translations for the majority of the readings. It was interesting to read all of those translations, but I think using one or two would somehow bring more out of it than reading such a diverse mix. You would also better know where things are. Even after reading it 19 times, I couldn’t remember where a passage was in James during group Bible study. I think if I read the same translation I would be able to see in my mind where on the page it was.

I think this would be a great thing to do before studying a book of the Bible. Familiarity is what it’s supposed to bring about. Then you can study it after getting to know it so well.

Before studying Proverbs I read it about 6-7 times and that was at least as valuable as reading James 20 times. I would encourage you to try it, especially if you will be studying a smaller book of the Bible.

7 Responses to “Reading James 20 Times”


  1. 1 Brian

    Well, congrats on reading it 20 times! lol! this is a reason I tend to advocate being a one Bible person – pick one translation you like or that you connect with and read that one over and over through and through and in the process gain an overall comprehensive understanding and familiarity with the Bible. If you want study with multiple translations, but pick one to read regularly and consistently. But this is just my opinion.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks. I think you’re right on that. I certainly broke the rules this time, just for the fun of it, but it wasn’t profitable.
    Jeff

  3. 3 Nathan Stitt

    I enjoyed reading your response to this method. I have also found that there isn’t a lot of profit to reading something in more than a handful of translations. This only seems to be true if I am focusing on a specific verse or passage and I want to compare them.

    I also have very poor recall abilities when it comes to details, so it is easier for me to read from the same Bible that I will refer to later in church. For this purpose, using the same physical Bible is helpful because you can often remember what part of the page the verse is found on.

    For repetition, I’ve found that by my third reading I am starting to remember the majority of details already. I currently am not reading anything more than twice in a row in large chunks. Actually, the current method I’m using is to read the entire book through in one sitting followed by a second read through in large chunks. Specific studying follows and focuses in on the smaller passages. It’s a happy medium that isn’t too time consuming but helps with both the big picture and study.

  4. 4 Nathan Stitt

    this is to subscribe to comments

  5. 5 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks.

    I think yours is the way to go for studying unless I’m doing Fee’s NT Exegesis, which I’ve only done 2-3 times or reading through a commentary. When I’m done concentrating on the OT I want to get back to that.
    Jeff

  6. 6 Nathan Stitt

    I actually need to borrow NT Exegesis from my dad again. I returned it when I was done reading it, but now I need to reference it again.

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    I was given A Handbook of New Testament Exegesis. I’m looking forward to trying that too.

    I wish I could do it so much that I could just remember it all. Although Bibleworks would take me through it too. Abundance of riches to help learn the real riches. The book was a gift and I got a review copy of BW.

    Jeff

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