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With the new year always comes the opportunity to read the Bible through in a year.
Everything we’re about to say has already been said before, so nothing here is going to be novel.
But we do want to put this out there, as we know that many are going to start fresh today.
We want to give a few tips for faithful bible reading.
We’ve done an episode before on "How To Read the Bible", but this will be a quick one, giving some tips for Bible reading plans in particular.
We hope it will be helpful, and encourage you as you begin.
**Also, let us throw out an advertisement.
If you’re looking for a bible reading plan to do with others, visit: https://missiodeifellowship.org/biblereading
It is a Youversion community plan. Read with others, where you can encourage, and be encouraged by doing it with others, and interacting through comments.
--- Men, Women, and Spanish plans.
--- Great to do with your children.
--- You get Sundays off.
(1) You must resolve to actually read the Bible.
This is where it must begin. It is so basic, yet very important. If you don’t resolve, and establish Bible reading as a discipline, then no amount of tips are going to help you finish well.
If it’s something that you’re going into half-heartedly, then guaranteed you will be done by mid-Genesis. And if not, Numbers will kill it.
Establish it in your mind and heart that Bible reading will be a priority. Bring this in prayer before the Lord, understanding that meditation upon His Word is His will for your life.
In fact, this was clear, even in the mind and heart of Jesus.
Matt. 4:4 - "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"
Saturating yourself in the Word is God’s means of sanctification for your life, and the only way you’re growing to grow and mature.
John 17:17 - "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.”
Here, the means of sanctification is truth found in the Word. There is no other means.
So if you’re desire (and resolve) is to grow this year as a Christian, then it must begin with a resolution in your mind to soak yourself in the Word.
(2) Read broadly, but then read deeply.
Most reading plans have you reading through a few different passages each day. Our recommendation is to read 2 or 3 quickly, but then slow down for 1 of them and meditate on it.
We recommend to read broadly through the OT for the purpose of getting an overall sense of the storyline, but then slow down in the Psalms, or one of the NT readings.
The OT is usually narrative, where the main point is at the end of the narrative (sometimes several chapters).
The NT (especially the Epistles) are usually more dense.
So slow down on these.
Think on their meaning. Follow the logic of the argument, noting the connecting words (e.g., for, therefore, so that, because, etc.). Then think through some of the application for your own life.
Don’t try to be too deep on the application.
Keep it simple, and something that you can easily do throughout the day.
Write down the application on a notecard, if you have to, and put it on your desk, or in a place that your eyes will come across it throughout the day.
(3) Read Prayerfully.
The goal of reading is to gain the knowledge and wisdom of God.
If you come to the Word, but are not hungry, you will merely graze. If you’re not thirsty, you will merely sip.
Pray that God might help you see your neediness every single day. Pray yourself desperate, and then pray yourself dependent.
You will never come to the Word of you don’t understand your desperation. You will never apply your heart and mind, if you don’t understand your desperation.
Psalm 119:9 - “Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law.”
Notice, he first needed his eyes to be opened before he could see the wonderful things of the Law.
We’d argue, you first need your eyes opened before you can rightly understand your need and desperation. This is a supernatural work of the Spirit, and you need God’s help to understand this each and every day.
So pray before, during, and after you read.
Your prayers don’t need to be long.
Psalm 119:9 is very short, but very sufficient.
This will also help keep Bible reading from becoming rote. Some days will be easier than others, but if your discipline is to soak the entire process in prayer, it will help.
(4) Two Training Tips:
---- Train your mind to ask Who, What, Where, When, and How.
In fact, this is something that you don’t even need to slow down for.
As you read, simply train your mind to be making these observations as you read.
You can begin my circling these observations with a pencil, but once you’ve trained yourself to do this, you’ll no longer need to mark them in your Bible.
It will help you become an active reader, as opposed to merely passive.
---- Train yourself to ask three questions:
What is this text saying about God?
What is this text saying about Me (or mankind)?
What should I, then, do in light of these two truths?
So these are our tips. It’s short and quick on purpose.
We want to encourage you that Bible Reading plans don’t have to be a chore. Don’t overthink it.
It is a discipline, but if you can commit to these basic principles, it will simply become part of your life and day.
If you’re a person who needs consistency, then purposefully carve out a time of the day, and stick to it everyday.
Again, this doesn't happen by magic.
Nothing in the Christian life happens by slouching into it.
Having said that, don’t be a legalist. If you normally read in the morning, but something comes up, just find another time to squeeze it in, later in the day.
People spend 10 minutes a day on FB/Instagram while they’re in the bathroom. This is an excellent time to do your Bible reading.
John Piper ~ "One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time."
I would say the same is true of bible reading.
We all have plenty of time, but it simply comes down to whether or not we will resolve to make this a priority and discipline.
So we hope this has been of help.
Again, go to www.missiodeifellowship.org and find our Bible reading plan, and sign up through the YouVersion app. You can join many others who will be on the journey with you, and you can interact with them each day as you read the same passages. It was very successful last year, and we’re hoping for the same this year.
If you need help signing up, send us a message and we’ll be happy to help.