Our daily bread
Before I get into this, I have to admit something. I’ve not always been the most faithful reader of the Bible. Sure, I’m always reading articles, books, stories, illustrations, whatever, about the Bible but it always seemed difficult to really buckle down and read it on a daily basis. I would have great aspirations to accomplish that feat, but never seemed to climb the mountain.
Like many people (and I’m sure some of you reading this right now) I would find a reading plan and start it, trying to make sure that I covered the whole Bible. Many times I’d find myself bogged down in Leviticus, slogging through what seemed to be an endless list of laws about sacrifices and animals and hair care and so many other things.
Then I stopped.
I stopped looking at the Bible as what I was going to glean out of it. I quit seeing it as a requirement and started looking at it as a privilege. Right now, I could reach out an arm and put a hand on at least seven Bibles on my bookshelf. This doesn’t count the multitude of Bibles that can be found in either my Logos software, through YouVersion on my phone or iPad, or on the web at multiple different places. Through technology and my own bibliophile habits, I have the ability to read the Bible in any language, any version, from anywhere.
So why don’t many of us do it?
We view it as a responsibility. We view the Bible as part of our religion1 and nothing more. Should we view it as more though? Christ himself tells us to pray, “give us this day our daily bread.” He’s not talking about physical bread, but about the daily sustenance we require from the Word. Just because it’s a habit, yes, something that we do religiously, doesn’t mean that it should be dry.
Here is what I would recommend.
First, find a version of the Bible that you are comfortable reading. Yes, the King James is old and hard to read. So find another. I study out of the New King James, but typically will teach from the New American Standard or the English Standard. I don’t use the New International much just because I am more comfortable with the other translations.
Second, find a good reading plan. YouVersion has a multitude of different ones. Currently I’m going through the chronological reading plan. It does give a different feel as I started on January 1st in Genesis, read through about 15 chapters or so, and then skipped to Job. I’ll finish Job this next week and then it’s back to Genesis. After that looms the trek through the rest of the Pentateuch, but I’m ready for it this time.
Which brings me to my third point: do something different. This year I’ve started keeping a journal with me when doing my daily reading. I write (scribble to be honest) notes, questions, observations, whatever comes to mind while I’m reading. I’ll admit it is a little bit exciting to see that book fill up. I’m already on the fourth page and I think that it will be an invaluable resource in the future for me. If I run into something where I want to know about a particular section of the Bible, I can pull out that notebook and read what I was thinking the last time I read through it. It might become my own personal commentary set. You might not do this, but find something else that excites you about reading the Bible.
Fourth, make it a priority. I found myself over the last year going to my phone as soon as I woke up. I would check emails, scan over Facebook and Twitter, browse my RSS reader and then maybe get to my Bible. If I had time. It was too easy to not find time to read the Word. To combat that, this year I have changed that habit to where I won’t read anything else until I have done my Bible reading. Honestly, it’s not been difficult at all. It has been refreshing to have that be the first words spoken into my mind and heart every morning rather than someone complaining about how the Cowboys coaches are morons.
Finally, find a way to share that with someone. Let someone else know what you’re doing and allow them to hold you accountable for it. Now my tens of readers (probably not even that high) know what I’m doing, and I give each one of you permission to ask me about it. Ask to see my journal if you want. Ask me if I’ve been keeping up with it. Thirteen straight days of reading is simply a good start. I’ll be more excited when it is 364 days and I’ve only one more day to read until I start the next plan.
To sum it up, just like I’ve said already this year: just start. Resolve to show up. Grab your Bible and get into God’s word. If you need help with a reading plan, shoot me an email and I’ll help you out. I’d love to hear about how you read the Bible.