Tag Archive for 'Bible reading'

Around the Web – Bible Reading Edition

Unlock the Riches of Scripture | Desiring God

When I read a sentence, what I want to know is What did the author intend by it? not What new ideas do I have when I read it?

He promotes active reading by asking questions (he has eight), which is exactly what I’ve been learning when it comes to improving reading comprehension.

Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year! – jtcochran.com

If your driving motive to read the Bible is to get it done in a year, rather than to meet with the living God and become entranced by his glory, then you will burn out, right around now in fact: January 15th.

I think this is a good post. I also think it’s good to read the Bible in large quantities, like the ‘ten bookmarks‘ method he sarcastically alluded to. (I’m not offended by the remark.) I like to switch it up every 9 to 18 months, and often do more than one type of reading or studying at once.

On the other hand, a post about reading through the Bible:
A Spreading Goodness » Bible Read Throughs

20 Reading Tips | HeadHeartHand Blog – for regular books

5. Double-up: Research has shown that our understanding and recall starts diminishing after about 30 minutes of reading a book. But science has also shown that if we change to another book after 30 minutes, it seems to refresh and refuel our minds and we return to higher levels of comprehension. Many experienced readers read two or more books at a time.

I’ve been doing this and it’s been working very well.

Andy Naselli recites Romans from memory:

Romans from Bethlehem Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Photo of a Bible

Intimacy and Awe of Scripture

Those times when I fail to find any intimacy or awe in the text [of Scripture] (which are far more frequent than I care to admit), I find three primary culprits: I’m not reading it often, I’m not inviting the Author into my reading, or I’m not bothering to do what I read. When any of one of those three occurs, the Bible quickly becomes a dusty textbook. For those who find no joy in the Bible, I offer the following suggestions (and for those who don’t care to, I offer the following challenges): (1) Try “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so,” like the Bereans did.1 (2) Ask with the psalmist, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”2 (3) Take James’s advice to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”3 Read it, ask the Author for a sense of wonder, do what it says, and watch what happens.

–Thaddeus J. Williams, Reflect: Becoming Yourself by Mirroring the Greatest Person in History

1Acts 17:11
2Psalm 119:18
3James 1:22-25

I’ve found the benefits of reading it often after I started reading more of the Bible more consistently. Reading our Bibles often helps us to: 1.) Develop the habit of reading daily (Acts 17:11). 2.) Enables us to trust the Bible more (Acts 17:11 again). 3.) Allows the Spirit to speak to us and influence us (John 14:26, Romans 12:2, Romans 15:4, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Among many other things.

9 Minutes With God – Learn Who Jesus Really Is

This is a repost. I made a few slight grammar and punctuation changes with the PDF document, and added an experimental Epub file.

When I first became a Christian, after or while reading through the book of John, I used the little pamphlet put out by The Navigators (NavPress) called 7 Minutes With God. This got me started on having a “quiet time” or what I now call devotional time or spiritual disciplines (what a scary word) which has stayed with me for over 25 years now.

While looking for this online, I found some adaptations and decided to write my own. If you like it, I would be thrilled if you use it for yourself or to give to others.

Nine Minutes With God (PDF File)

Nine Minutes With God (Epub File)

If you’re wondering how to start, or need to restart with some structure, this may help.

If you have any suggestions for ways to improve it, please let me know. This is meant to be printed and I purposely used a rather large typeface for the older folks.

Photo of a Bible

Bible Reading Plans

As the new year comes along, many people evaluate their Bible reading or want to start reading it, and this blog can’t go without a post on something so important, so here is a modified repost. Scripture doesn’t command us to read it exactly 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.

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. There are a wide variety of plans, and if the whole Bible is daunting, there is something about that below.

Many 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. There is ‘devotional’ reading, for lack of a better term, where we read a very small portion very slowly and intently and pray through everything we read. Reading the whole Bible is essential.

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 many of the devotionals on this site.

If you’re really ambitious, then you probably know about Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System. I wrote about it in a previous post.

There are some of you reading this post who have an extraordinarily difficult time reading anything that takes concentration, whether it’s because of mental illness, medication, pain, learning disability or whatever. As the first of the previous links quotes, “it is better to read a single chapter of the Scriptures every day without fail, than to read 15 or 20 on an irregular, impulsive basis1.” And as someone else has said, nowhere in the Bible does it say that we need to read through it once a year.

There is no timetable, schedule, deadline, demand or guilt put on us by God. Although those who are able must get to know and spend time in the Bible, for those who it is a great challenge, just read one paragraph a day and think on it afterwards or later in the day. If you can’t read, there are many audio sources out there for free. For this too, you can do a small amount a day. With all this talk of reading through the Bible in a year, or twice a year or 90 days, I want to encourage those who may feel guilt because of an unusual situation, to give it their all to just read a little and know that God is pleased with you because of what Christ did on the cross for you, not because of what you do. If you have limitations, God knew you would have these (Psalm 139:13-16) and created you to glorify Him (John 9:2-3).

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:

1. Cf. Orthodox Daily Prayers (South Canaan: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1982), page 3: “It is better to say a few prayers every day without fail than to say a great number of prayers on an irregular, impulsive basis.”

Quotes on Bible Reading

Here are some quotes I’ve posted before on the most important thing we can do along with prayer. In order to pray, we need to use the language of the Bible.

The primary purpose of reading the Bible is not to know the Bible but to know God.

–James Merritt

If I want to love God more, I have to know Him more deeply. The more I search the Scriptures and focus my mind’s attention on who God is and what He does, the more my soul breaks out in flames.

–R.C. Sproul

Next to praying there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible reading. By reading that book we may learn what to believe, what to be, and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace.

Happy is that man who possesses a Bible! Happier still is he who reads it! Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice!

–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion, p. 97

We measure Scripture’s story by ours. The attitude the psalm [Psalm 1] commends involves delighting in Yhwh’s teaching—especially (we might add) when its story seems irrelevant or it takes a different stance from us. That is the moment when studying Scripture becomes interesting, significant, and important. We then delight in it. The way that delight expresses itself is by talking about it day and night–-in other words, ceaselessly.

–John Goldingay, Psalms 1-41, pg 84, referring to Psalm 1

We have become so accustomed to hearing preachers or expositors, as important as that is, that many in the process have abandoned the grand privilege of personally hearing from God’s Word daily.

–Ravi Zacharias

The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Acts 17:11

Bible Reading

This is a modified repost of something I wrote a couple of years ago. I also added in part of a post for those who feel that reading through the Bible is daunting. I was going to write a post on different types of reading and studying, but had forgotten I already mentioned that in this post.

I have been using Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System, mentioned below, and it’s been terrific. Some seem to think it’s an all inclusive thing when it comes to Bible ‘consumption’. It’s only one of the ways in helping us to know Scripture better. In the future I’d like to write more about it, and helpful apps that I found.

——————–

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.

Many 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 many 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 has an app that will last you 250 days. I may write about a few others in the future.

There are some of you reading this post who have an extraordinarily difficult time reading anything that takes concentration, whether it’s because of mental illness, medication, pain, learning disability or whatever. As the first of the previous links quotes, “it is better to read a single chapter of the Scriptures every day without fail, than to read 15 or 20 on an irregular, impulsive basis1.” And as someone else has said, nowhere in the Bible does it say that we need to read through it once a year.

There is no timetable, schedule, deadline, demand or guilt put on us by God. Although those who are able must get to know and spend time in the Bible, for those who it is a great challenge, just read one paragraph a day and think on it afterward or later in the day. If you can’t read, there are many audio sources out there for free. For this too, you can do a small amount a day. With all this talk of reading through the Bible in a year, or twice a year or 90 days, I want to encourage those who may feel guilt because of an unusual situation, to give it their all to just read a little and know that God is pleased with you because of what Christ did on the cross for you, not because of what you do. If you have limitations, God knew you would have these (Psalm 139:13-16) and created you to glorify Him (John 9:2-3).

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:

1. Cf. Orthodox Daily Prayers (South Canaan: St Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1982), page 3: “It is better to say a few prayers every day without fail than to say a great number of prayers on an irregular, impulsive basis.”

Blogging Less, Reading More

I’ve been told that people who read blogs like to read regular posts. For those who for some reason like to read this blog, I apologize for that. I also apologize for not having anything dramatic to say about why I haven’t been blogging much lately. My reading has been going very well, and I haven’t wanted to take time away from that to blog. That’s about it. I may do some reposts for now. I don’t plan on quitting though.

Other than the Bible, I’ve been reading Victor Hamilton’s Handbook on the Pentateuch, along with the Pentateuch, which I’ve been wanting to do forever, and Michael Horton’s systematic theology called The Christian Faith, which is a bit of a blend between Biblical and systematic theology. It’s 1000 pages, so I’ve had my head down getting through it. I also don’t usually read two books at a time.

Speaking of reading books, I’ve always wondered about the proportion of time that many of us book lovers spend between the Bible and other books. This quote, along with the article has recently had a profound impact on me:

“In time,” Luther opined, “my books will lie forgotten in the dust.” This was no lament on the Reformer’s part. In fact, Luther found much “consolation” in the possibility — or rather likelihood — that his literary efforts would soon fade into oblivion. The dim view he apparently took of his own writings was intimately related to the high view he took of Sacred Scripture. Indeed, his high view of Scripture resulted in a rather dim view of all other writings, not just his own. “Through this practice [namely, writing and collecting books],” he wrote, “not only is precious time lost which could be used for studying the Scripture, but in the end the pure knowledge of the divine Word is also lost, so that the Bible lies forgotten in the dust under the bench.” Making the same point in more colorful terms, Luther complained of the “countless mass of books” written over time which, “like a crawling swarm of vermin,” had served to supplant the place which should belong to “the Bible” in the life of the Church and her people. In sum, Luther judged that folk would be better off reading and hearing the Bible than reading and hearing anything which he or anyone else had written, and the last thing he wanted to be found guilty of was producing words which distracted anyone from the Word.

Luther on Book-Showers and Big, Long, Shaggy Donkey Ears – Reformation21 Blog

Maybe this is hyperbole, as Luther was wont to do, but taken literally, I seem to have a higher view of books that he did. I’m sure he thought they were very important too, to some degree. I think it’s important for everyone to read outside of Scripture to help us understand it better. Much of the Bible is perspicuous, and some not so much. Scholars debating about the degree of the ‘perspicuity of Scripture’ won’t end anytime soon.

As I began to write above, I wonder about how much time to allocate to each. A friend of mine was saying that this could be God nudging me to make some changes or it could be arbitrary. Another friend mentioned objectives. I remembered that what I really want at this point is to know Scripture better. Then I understood what he meant by arbitrary–if I’m spending XX% time with Scripture and feel guilty about it, and then change the percentage to 30% more, that’s arbitrary. It’s just to make me feel better about myself. At this point, what I really want is a better knowledge of the Bible with more emphasis on time in it.

I’m considering Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System, which is something my wife has done. Many of you are familiar with it. Since compliance is more important than time or exact method, whether it’s diet, exercise or any other disciplined endeavor, I might modify it slightly to be reading eight chapters a day and see how that goes. If I do this, the other reading will fall into place. I’m not concerned with exact proportions or minutes spent on each. I also like to vary reading styles/objectives and amount of studying, as you probably do too, so who knows if this might be something I’ll do every day for the rest of my life, should it work out, God willing and without any major chronic fatigue or other types of flare-ups.

Here’s a great article that is about the ESV reader’s Bible (I wish my translation had one) and Professor Horner’s plan:
Abandoned to Christ: Professor Grant Horner's 'The Ten Lists Bible Reading System'
I really identify with what she’s saying as far as wanting to understand everything, but I’ve also benefitted so much from reading through the Bible.

I’ve also learned that people don’t like reading long blog posts, so I will leave it there for now, since I’ve failed in that regard.

Also see:

Quote of the Day: Reading the Bible by John Newton

The Old and New Testament, the doctrines, precepts, and promises, the history, the examples, admonitions, and warnings, etc. would mutually illustrate and strengthen each other, and nothing that is written for our instruction would be overlooked. Happy should I be, could I fully follow the advice I am now offering to you. I wish you may profit by my experience. Alas, how much time have I lost and wasted, which, had I been wise, I should have devoted to reading and studying the Bible! But my evil heart obstructs the dictates of my judgment, I often feel a reluctance to read this book of books, and a disposition to hew out broken cisterns which afford me no water, while the fountain of living waters are close within my reach.

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
Jeremiah 15:16 (verse is omitted in the article below)

See the rest: Reading the Bible by John Newton

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.

Bible Reading

As I’m dealing with health problems and starting to work on a blog series, I thought I might write some short posts.

I’ve never read the Bible in a staggered way, meaning, two chapters of the OT, a chapter of Psalms and a chapter in the NT, like I’m pretty much doing now. It was either slow reading (devotionally, for lack of a better term), or reading through the Bible straight through or in “chronological” order. I just finished Leviticus and am starting Deuteronomy where God tells the older folks and Moses that they can’t go to the new place because they didn’t believe. So they couldn’t go and rest from all of that time in the desert. Then I happen to read chapter 4 of Hebrews the next day and the writer, certainly not Paul (let’s see if prof. David Black is reading), says that believers have now entered in God’s rest (Hebrews 4:5-7). Although lately I don’t feel like I got no rest (Greek allows for double negatives as emphasis, so I’ll adopt that), I am in his rest. I’m not wandering aimlessly, complaining, not believing, not receiving God’s benefits. Maybe some of those middle two, but God has given me the faith to believe in Him, and I have His inheritance that will never disappear, wear out, get old, change over time or anything like that (1 Peter 1:4). It’s mine, and ours who are believers, and we and our inheritance are protected by God through our faith in Him (1 Peter 1:5) that He’s given to us (Ephesians 2:8). I suppose that’s blessing on blessing or grace on grace.

That’s all for now.

~Jeff

Scripture of the Day: Early Church and Bible Reading

Nehemiah 8:7-8 HCSB
Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, and Pelaiah, who were Levites, explained the law to the people as they stood in their places. 8 They read the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.

Reading the Bible S L O W L Y

Michael Acidri (one of my favorite Calvinists–not that ‘Calvinist’ matters at all here) says:
Largely forgotten today, George Whitefield was probably the most famous religious figure of the eighteenth century. Newspapers called him the “marvel of the age.” He preached with clarity and with tenacity. When George Whitefield, a Calvinist studied the Bible…

“here he is at five in the morning . . . on his knees with his English Bible, his Greek New Testament and Henry’s Commentary spread out before him. He reads a portion in the English, gains a fuller insight into it as he studies words and tenses in the Greek and then considers Matthew Henry’s explanation of it all. Finally, there comes the unique practice that he has developed: that of ‘praying over every line and word’ of both the English and the Greek till the passage, in its essential message, has veritably become part of his own soul.”

–Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield, I:82-83.

Apart from the Greek, and five in the morning, this is what I’ve been doing. I decided to spend some time reading very slowly and carefully, using Henry and Calvin if necessary, starting in 1 Thessalonians–no reason why I started there. You could say the Spirit led me if you’d like. After I re-read this quote (thinking it was Spurgeon), I decided to pray about everything I read. I started this in Hebrews 11 and I’m in 1 Peter right now. I’ve been having a great time doing this, partly because this portion of Scripture has something obvious to pray about in every verse.

I read somewhere out there that if you’re doing this, it’s good to read at least a chapter somewhere else in the Bible in order to keep up with familiarization of it, so I decided to read in Hosea and will go on in order from there.

Next year I may do a reading plan for reading the Bible in less than a year, or reading at least parts of it more than once and probably not do as much of the slow type of thing, although always meditating when I think of it during the day.

I’ve been learning about the purposes of the various reading and studying styles. It’s OK to read a lot of the Bible and not work hard to understand it because being familiar with the big picture and reading the whole thing is important. And it’s OK to not cover a lot but spend a large portion of time on a small passage.

Do you have a specific way of covering the different styles? Do you stick with one? I make sure that I read the whole thing at least every few years and cover the Psalms, Proverbs and NT regularly. Otherwise I just do what I feel like.

One method I tried a while ago was reading through a book (James) 20 times. For me, it was a miserable failure. For some reason I didn’t retain it any better than reading it twice, as I just found out.

Quote of the Day: Scripture by Sinclair Ferguson

All of the word of God is for all of the people of God all of the time.

–Sinclair Ferguson, Message 4, Interview with Sinclair Ferguson & Chris Larson (June 22, 2011)

Part of what concentrating on the Old Testament for two years showed me is how true this statement is. I don’t believe in ‘progressive revelation’–that the later part of the Bible is much more important than the earlier (as I understand it). Edit: please see the first comment below for a correction. You can say that the cross is the most important component, but then that’s what the whole of the Bible points to or is geared for and compared to. Not every verse can be tied directly to the cross of course, but every verse has value and the whole book should be read many times. If we don’t see the value of the book of Numbers, there are plenty of authors we can read who will tell us why which will pique our interest in it all.

I’ve been a Christian for over 25 years and I’ve read through every word of the Old Testament only three times. I can say there are other books I’ve read over 25 times but that doesn’t necessarily make up for it. And even though that’s more than 90% of what other “Christians” have done, it just shows how Biblically illiterate the Evangelical church has become.

I will be announcing a new e-book coming out (not by me) regarding enthusiastically reading and studying the whole Bible in a gospel centered way. Stay tuned.

Reading Plans

Since people have suggested I write about more mundane things because people like to read it, I thought I’d tell you what I plan on reading for a while, and keeps with the purpose of the blog.

Last year, as part of my “three year plan” which will end up lasting more than four years, was “the year of the Old Testament”. But with surgery right in the middle, it really slowed me down. So this year continues concentrating on the Old Testament.

I just got done with a commentary on Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. At some point a review is coming. I loved it.

I’m going back to Genesis now. I plan to read it through, then read Creation and Blessing by Ross, then read it again. Then read Handbook on the Pentateuch.

A very generous pastor who’s name starts with an M and blogs near somewhere gave me the first volume of a commentary set on Psalms by Goldingay. I’m going to read the introduction, which I’m sure will be very helpful overview, and then read the commentary on just the first two Psalms. Then I plan on reading one Psalm a day along with The Essential Bible Companion to the Psalms and use the commentary when I have a big question, until the first volume runs out. Then I can use Spurgeon’s Treasury of David. I’m not looking so much to study at this point, just get to know them better, pray better and worship God through them. I have to admit I haven’t been as big of a fan of the Psalms as many people are and I hope this will help.

While reading Psalms I plan on reading Is God a Monster? and Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament.

All along I will continue to work on my Greek at a snail’s pace.

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.