Reading The Book God Lavished On Us

As the new year comes along, it’s always a good time to consider reading through the Bible, and this blog can’t go without a post on something so important. Scripture doesn’t command us to read it once a year, but there are many who live by a book they haven’t read in its entirety. There was a long period of time when I didn’t read my Bible as much as I should have, but I always loved it, and because of God re-instilling the want to do it, thankfully the enthusiasm and purpose returned later on.

It’s a mystery as to why this is difficult for so many people.

Some don’t seem to care, which is obviously a big problem.

Some want to, but just can’t get themselves to do it. I suppose time management is part of this. It shouldn’t be difficult because it only takes about ten minutes of reading a day to read through the book in a year. It may seem like a big task that’s hard to get started. More importantly, asking God to help one want to read it is as important as anything.

Some feel that they need to understand everything they read. I’ve learned that there are different objectives in the various types of reading and studying. Reading through the Bible is to familiarize ourselves with what it says. This needs to be done regularly, whether it’s once a year, twice a year or once every few years. We need to be saturated in Scripture to learn and be reminded of what it says, which is something the Holy Spirit helps us with (John 14:26). But we have to read it for him to remind us of what it says. Also, if Scripture interprets Scripture, then we need to read the Scripture that might interpret the Scripture that we’re interpreting. There is also repeated reading of smaller portions for even more familiarity. I did this with Proverbs when we studied it in a group and couldn’t get enough of it. I recently read through Colossians in just about every translation I have. There is ‘devotional’ reading, for lack of a better term, where we read a very small portion very slowly and intently and pray over everything we read. There are also various levels of study. Most of us can’t do all of these things at once, but reading through the Bible is primary.

Getting back to that–here is a great post on this subject:
How to Read the Whole Bible in 2014 – Justin Taylor

You can also find just about every type of reading plan there is on YouVersion. I would stay clear of the devotionals.

If you’re really ambitious, then you probably know about Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System. If you like to use the bookmarks, Nathan Bingham points us to some redesigned ones. YouVersion, or possibly your favorite Bible study site will have an app or other computerized way of telling you what you need to read.

One thing I love to do is read a chapter of Proverbs a day for a month. This book is so rich and full of wisdom, I think it should be read regularly. I’m finishing up with that right now. I think that for those who are new and intimidated, doing this (be sure to read an introduction to it, and understand the wisdom genre being about general truths, not fast and hard promises) and reading part of a chapter of a gospel, or one of Paul’s shorter letters would be a good start. Of course, Genesis may be the best.

In case anyone would care, I like to read at different ‘speeds’ at different times. I’ve read through the Bible in a year maybe two or three times, one of them being The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. I also read through it (NRSV) in 8-10 weeks which definitely has its benefits. When reading through it in a year, by the time you get done, you’ve forgotten what you read a year ago. After reading it that quickly, I read a comprehensive book on Christ, and I remembered just about everything in Scripture that was mentioned (which was a lot) that the Catholic scholar (!) wrote about. Too bad that doesn’t last longer. I read the Bible more this year than past years and read through the OT. I’ve started studying Colossians as deeply as I can, which will be a very long project; I’m sure there will be breaks. As mentioned, I’m reading through Proverbs so that I’m not concentrating on only one book of the Bible, which was a suggestion I read on a blog regarding devotional reading. I’ll probably visit Psalms again, and then I just can’t pass up one of my favorites, Ecclesiastes, to round out most of the poetry, after having read a commentary on Job. Maybe Mark and Revelation after that, having not read them in a while.

What a great treasure we have. I pray that we will all relish Scripture more and more, and that God will reveal more of himself through His Spirit as we read and study.

Also see:
On Reading the Scriptures, Part I
On Reading the Scriptures, Part II
These are written by my friend, Esteban Vázquez, who used to blog. Those were the days.

4 Responses to “Reading The Book God Lavished On Us”

  1. 1 Eric

    Good advice, Jeff. I tend to do better with Bible reading plans that go by day (Day 1, Day 2, etc.) rather than the ones that list the month and the day. That way WHEN (not IF) I get behind, I don’t feel as bad. I’ve also taken to reading the Bible quietly out loud – I know there’s a blessing for reading Revelation aloud (Rev. 1:3) and it helps me to focus more. I think A.W. Tozer made it a practice to read Scripture on his knees so that he would be in a better posture to receive. Eric

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    “Quietly out loud” – I like that. I can’t stand to hear my own voice, so I read silently loud. Focusing more because of it is interesting though.

    I remember reading (probably you too) that Tozer’s suit was wrinkled when he preached because he was praying beforehand. I hadn’t heard about him reading while on his knees too. A friend of mine prays on his knees and I think it’s a good practice.

  3. 3 Eric

    Yeah, the “quietly” was so you wouldn’t think I was shouting it to all the neighbors. All the best in 2014 – less physical and emotional pain and more intimacy with the Father!

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    Same to you and thanks again for commenting.

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