Like so many looking to revitalize their faith or to dig deeper in their understanding of their faith, I began a Bible reading plan as of New Years Day. I have a handy little shortcut on my home screen shooting me to a PDF with all the verses I need to read each day and I haven’t missed a day yet.
Two weeks in though, I’ve learned a few things about myself.
First, for me personally, reading for the sake of reading is about as good as conversing with someone without looking at them. With everything going on in life, it’s so easy for the words to zip through one eye and mindlessly exit the other. Reading passages for the sake of reading passages has provided very little benefit other than knowing that I’ve read the passage and discovering the very occasional tidbit I didn’t know was there (this is specifically the case when growing up on the KJV and reading now in the ESV). Two weeks in, and I feel like I’m reading for the sake of checking the box at the end of the day.
Second, some prefer Bibles without cross-references and study notes. Some prefer single column, paragraph-driven formats so they can study the Word of God directly on its own. I get way less out of this type of study. I’m an analytical type and I tend toward finding the glory of God in historical events, majestic locations, and in rational logic and reasoning. Others find the glory in music, or in nature, or in the service of others. For me then, I get so much more out of what I’m reading when I read short passages — say, three verses, tops — with study notes at the bottom of the page, a devotional on the iPad beside me, and a highlighter in hand. Sometimes the devotional is useless. Other times it provides the right background context to bring out a newness in the passage I’m reading.
It has taken two weeks for me to realize what type of Bible studier I am, and I’m realizing “reading the Bible cover to cover” is likely something I’ll never be able to achieve. This is disheartening, in a way — I’d love to be able to say “Well I’ve read the entire Bible!” when having faith conversations.
But what good is being able to say that if all you did was place your eyeballs over top of the words and never really breathe in the goodness of the Word?
For anyone else who has let their New Years resolution subside for whatever reason, take heart in knowing this Bible reading resolution isn’t for everyone.
I don’t believe for one second there’s anything wrong with taking a short passage and praying, meditating, and pondering that short passage for the entirety of your worship each day.