Guilt-free Bible Reading
Why are we scared of the very book that defines everything we believe? Why is the Old Testament a closed book to so many of us? Why is the 'what about the God of the Old Testament?' question the one we hope we won’t get asked?
It just might be that we don’t read it.
Ron Frost, in his book Discover the Power of the Bible suggests a highly innovative solution! Read it. Just read it. Take 10 chapters a day, and read it like a novel. Highlight any verses that strike you along the way but just read it.
Just reading it doesn’t mean no time to slow down. Perhaps one of our problems is that we try a mid-speed reading that is neither slow enough or quick enough. Lukewarm. The answer might just be to go really fast and really slow. As you speed through, take one book really slowly too.
And all completely guilt free. No dated plan. Just read it. No worries if you get behind. No pride if you get ahead.
The fear factor disappears when you can get through the whole Old Testament in three months, and the New in another month. The plot becomes much clearer when you arrive at Sinai just one week after the creation of the world, as a student I’m mentoring discovered last week.
The whole Bible sits on the Pentateuch. Jesus said it was all written about him. And when you can read the first five books of the Bible in less than three weeks it’s not so hard to see how. Themes and threads and plot lines hold together when you pick up the pace.
Chase God as you read! Follow what he’s doing, and it turns out that it’s actually the same God in Genesis as John’s gospel, the same God in Exodus as 1 Corinthians, the same God in Levitcus as Hebrews. Same God, same story.
Sam, a retired missionary, was planting a church on the coast of British Columbia north of Vancouver, and two of us on a summer mission were helping with the building construction. We ate breakfast with Sam each morning in his beachside cottage before starting work. On each occasion we managed to trigger a delightful discourse of biblical truth. As often as not he’d start with quotes from Genesis and end up in Revelation after touching down four or five times in between.
Sam’s Bible knowledge amazed me. His Scripture awareness had penetrated all aspects of his life, not in a rote fashion, but in a way that seemed accessible and practical. I asked how he gained it and he laughed.
“I just read my Bible.”
“How much reading—how do you approach it?”
“I try to get through it at least two or three times a year.”
I almost dropped my coffee. He had been reading at that pace for most of his Christian life, about fifty years!
Don’t wait until January 1st and make Bible reading another failed New Year’s Resolution, just open up the Bible and start chasing God through the pages. Ten chapters of reading a day takes about four months. Do it by listening and it’s about 70 hours, which is less time than a series of X-Factor… Pursue God today as he pursues you.