I am reading less of my Bible this year.
Let me explain.
It’s a new year and that means more resolutions. I like resolutions. The older I’ve grown the wiser I’ve become. I only make resolutions I might actually keep I know, that seems obvious, but it’s taken me time to figure it out.
Like many Christians I make reading through the Bible a new year resolution. I make this resolution even though reading the Bible isn’t a challenge for me. I love reading the Bible and try to make it the center of my life.
But I have tended to make reading the Bible a project versus actually reading it to hear from God.
I tend to ‘study’ the Bible. I plow through the texts without reflecting on their significance in my life. I neglect my private devotional readings and instead read the Bible in order to teach or instruct on it. if you’re a church planter or pastor-teacher you know what talking about. At the end of last year, I realized that I was making the Bible into a project to be studied and prodded and finished, rather than treating it for what it is—the most important thing in my life.
So one of my new resolutions this year was to spend time reflecting on the Bible. Even if that meant reading less of it.
I looked for a reading plan to help me meet my goal. The plan needed to help me read systematically through the Bible AND give me plenty of time to do it.
This wasn’t so easy. See, I also bore easily. Not of the Bible–just the reading plans. I usually make it a month or so, grow bored and chuck the plan. Then feeling the pressure, I start reading the Bible straight through. This has happened several times over the past couple of years.
So I invested some time in December thinking, praying and looking for a plan to read less of the Bible and actually spend more time mediating on what I read…a plan I would stick with.
After much research, I decided that the best plan for me was to ‘hear’ the Bible, rather than read it.
I am on day 17 of reading along with the Daily Audio Bible. The Daily Audio Bible follows the One Year Bible Reading Plan that Tyndale (I believe) originally published. The plan provides daily readings in the Old and New Testament, the Psalms and Proverbs. It takes about 15 minutes for me to listen to the narrator (Brian Hardin) and then another 15 minutes or so meditating on the text.
After 17 days of hearing the Bible, I am embarrassed to admit that I’ve been missing out. I mean I know my Bible because it’s what I am basing my life on. It’s just that with a ‘limited’ amount of text each day and hearing the words…well it’s quite wonderful. I am hearing from God in new ways. It’s literally changing my life—again.
Here are some things I do to ensure I attend to my readings:
- I usually make space for reading in the early AM before ANYTHING else.
- I listen to the App on my iPhone with headphones.
- I have a hardcopy of the One Year Bible that I read while hearing it.
- I keep my journal open nearby and write down questions, reflections or the things that I think God is saying to me.
Look, I ain’t no saint.
I am just saying that if I am going to profess to follow Jesus then I need to carve space into my day to hear from God and be disciplined about it. And there is no better means of hearing from God than through his Word, even if that means I read less of it to spend more time reflecting on it.
What about you? Are you reading through the Bible this year? What’s that look like?
Have you struggled to read for life versus read for study?
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And thanks for reading–I really appreciate it.