Soliciting input. How do you read the Bible?

I’m curious to know how you approach reading your Bible? Particularly, how do you ensure you’re maximizing what you read?

Back in college, Chi Alpha (the campus fellowship I was involved with) did an outreach during the week of freshmen orientation. I remember being out there one day handing out Pop-Ice wearing my Chi Alpha t-shirt.

A guy came up to me and my Pop-Ice cohort curious to know more about the group. Part way through the discussion he saw we had 2 Corinthians 5:20 on our shirts and asked what the verse said.

I looked at my cohort. She looked at me. We stared at the guy blankly.

We had no clue what 2 Corinthians 5:20 said.

Needless to say I immediately went and memorized that verse.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

My motivation for wanted to regularly read through the entire Bible is similar. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to profess and stand for something you are unfamiliar with.

So for that reason I’ve read through the Bible twice (mostly) within the past two years. But I’ve gotten to the point where I need to shake things up a bit, which is why I’m soliciting different ideas from you.

There are a few goals I’m looking to achieve with my Bible reading.

  1. Regularly reading through the entire Bible.
  2. Applying what I read in my daily life.
  3. Learning more about the Bible.

I’d like to read fast enough that I can familiarize myself with the main characters, history, flow of events, major milestones, etc. of the Bible.

But I’d also like to read slow enough I give God sufficient opportunity to speak to me about what I read.

And all of that should be rooted in sound doctrine/theology and knowledge of the Word. So I’d enjoy reading a good commentary on top of all of that.

So! How do you approach reading the Bible?

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Comments

  1. I'm your biggest fan says

    Have you ever been really hungry for food that when you eat, you eat really fast. Lets say you are craving something specific, you’ll get that feeling, that desire inside your stomach. I’d say that being physically hungry is pretty close in explanation to being spiritually hungry. Its when you open your fridge, you know what you are looking for, but you are not certain, you can’t just think you know, you need to see it. In that, in certain times when i read the bible, I have been know to write out the whole book I’m reading. Other times I’ve highlighted every powerful verse and then gone back to it. When you read, and that verse hits you, don’t just mow over it, let it soak into you, even if you don’t understand it. Allow the richness of the verse to move you. There are certain verses that are just to rich in knowledge to understand, but you know that what your reading is gold. If anything, read one book all the way through first and beat the revelation out of it. So in short, take an epistle, read it over and over and over. Just don’t read it slow, demolish it, and do it again.

    • Alex Tran says

      @My Biggest Fan: Demolish it, and do it again. Heh. I like it. What you said reminds me of what I read this morning.

      Proverbs 2:1, 4-5 (NIV)
      1 My son, if you accept my words
      and store up my commands within you,

      4 and if you look for it as for silver
      and search for it as for hidden treasure,

      5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
      and find the knowledge of God.

      One way to “look for it as for silver” is to “beat the revelation out of it.” ;)

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. W says

    I read through the Bible very very carefully. I did read it twice from cover to cover but that was a pretty useless exercise in just meeting goals just for the sake of meeting a goal. It was never what God wanted me to do.

    Before I did this, I often wondered why the Bible was such a small book. How could you fit the answers to humanity in so little pages? After I started reading it slowly, I began to realize the complexity and hugeness of it. Each verse literally has enough material to give me enough to think about for weeks to months. The Bible is like the function Object.ToString() or E = MC^2. That tiny little function has so much more to it that if it were fully explained – it would be pages upon pages of documents.

    Just My 2 Cents. Your mileage may very depending on how God wants you to read it ;) Just remember, if you don’t read it the way God wants you to read, let’s just nicely say this will be a very very difficult journey.

    Though I do have a problem. While I enjoy reading it, trying to get others to read it has been difficult. I find people who would rather listen to others, read contemporary books, listen to sermons, etc etc etc….. I think it would be easier for me to convince them to go to the dentist & have all their teeth pulled w/o anesthesia then it is to get them to read the Bible by themselves. Just them, God, and the Bible – no other human distractions along the way. It seems like a lot of people are terrified of reading it.

  3. Alex Tran says

    @W: Appreciate you putting in your 2 cents. And also the Object.ToString(); reference. ;)

    I’ve also thought about the problem of getting people to want to read their Bible. It’s actually something I’ve been thinking a lot about . . .

  4. Alex Tran says

    @Glen: Way to represent XA in your gravatar! “Are you in a fraternity?” ;)

    Ahh, the good ol’ days. I have a special place in my heart for XA . . .

    Thanks for the video from Len. I just got done watching it.

    How do you think the apple/orange illustration applies to reading the Bible? How can we take a holistic approach as opposed to consuming in neat little chunks?

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