New Year’s resolution: Don’t read the Bible – Part 2

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Life, Me and God, The Bible

If I had to chose only one of my blog entries for people to read, if I could pay people to look and consider only one of my writings, if I could publish and distribute only one post, this would be it. Please please read it and consider it.

Introduction. If you have proposed as a new year’s resolution to read the Bible in this new year, please continue to point 4. However, if you have not even considered such goal, or even if you don’t call yourself a Christian -or if you have doubts about Christianity, if you are a skeptic, please read part 1 first.

4. New Year’s resolution: Read the Bible. So we agree that the most profitable, fruitful and fulfilling resolution for this new year is to know God through the Bible. Great!, awesome goal!. There are so many good Bible reading plans out there (click here for some ideas). Some chronologically, some ‘through-the-Bible-in-one-year’, there is even the one ‘a-proverb-a-day’. However, I think a Bible reading plan is just as good as the reader’s perseverance. I would venture saying that maybe 80% of Christians propose to read the Bible as a New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, most fail by February. Why?
There may be several reasons. To start, I wonder if we set up a too difficult and unrealistic of goal. Don’t get me wrong, I am one who thinks and wishes we were like Paul’s times in which he taught the Bible for hours and crowds listened even deep into the night. Unfortunately, 20 minutes sermons and 15 minute devotionals seem to already be too much for many of us and hence, committing to 30 minutes of Bible reading may be an easy target for failure once the holidays and vacation days go by and daily life gets back in full throttle. Perhaps we need to aim to a less challenging but more realistic objective.

5. Reading vs. studying. Another reason I believe so many of us may so easily give up on our Bible reading resolutions, is that exactly –the reading part. I could be wrong here but, think about it: We come with the expectation that The Bible has the power to speak to our lives and change us, so we start reading, 2 or 3 chapters in one day.. Usually most people start with Genesis….. and what did you ‘get’?. I am sure many ‘get’ a lot. However, I want to be perfectly honest, often times when I read through a few chapters, is more what I don’t get than what I do get –specially in books like Deuteronomy or Isaiah. Am I the only one? Maybe not. How often either we get discouraged and don’t continue reading -or worse, continue reading getting ourselves used to ‘not getting it’ when we read the most important book of all books. This is my theory: It is good to ‘read’ the Bible –God can and will speak to us that way. But it is more fruitful, necessary and instructed by God to ‘study’ the Bible. I can think of two passages as basis for this concept.

In Acts 17, Paul, the big theologian, comes preaching to Berea. The Bible tells us that the Bereans listened Paul with eagerness but double checked examining the scriptures. The Greek word here for examining (anakrinō) is also translated as investigate, enquire into, scrutinize, look deeper, cross examine, understand, etc. They didn’t just read, they studied the scriptures. Also, in John 5, Jesus himself chooses to make reference to ‘searching the scriptures’ instead of just reading.

6. My Bible study plan. So, what if, for those of us who for some reason don’t seem to be smart or disciplined enough to read 3 chapters a day for a whole year, what if instead we set a shorter term goal with a smaller footprint. Let’s say that for the next month I am going to study –no just read, only one book –let’s say, the book of John. Make your own plan, read a chapter a day, or 3 verses a day or a story every two days. You can even make it as open as ‘for the next few weeks…’. Then, not only read by yourself, but listen to other more knowledgeable people in the area, pick one or two Bible teachers that you may enjoy and listen to what they have to say about the chapter you are studying. You will be able to hear the insight and knowledge that years of study bring, just with a click. Also, find a good Bible commentary that you understand and follow along, learn different opinions, points of view and interpretations of each story and passage.

7. The end result. You may not read or study the entire Bible in one year –it may take you a few, but I can guarantee you from my own experience and many others, you will learn and understand better than ever, God’s plan, His passions, His desires and His feelings towards you. You’ll begin to better understand God’s big picture for humanity in history and the smaller pictures as well, how to enjoy and make the best of any pain, suffering, victories, struggles, love, hate, job loss, job promotion, parenting, marriage, finances, and so many other things we face every day. By not just reading but studying God’s word, you will know Him, you will grow, you will fall in love more and more with Him and learn to be effective in making Him known to others.

This may not work for everyone, but I know It has worked for many including me. You don’t lose much trying it, but you can gain much if you do and it works for you. If you want to give it a chance, please click here for some recommended resources and let’s get start it, you won’t regret it!

Happy new year!!

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Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Thoughts with accent and commented:

    Starting on Genesis 1 today? Think again…

  2. Thank you for posting this one Luis. This has been on my mind, too, because I actually did read the Bible through in one year in 2012, but, it was not easy for me. I had some health issues in the middle of the year related to my eye sight but had a lazer procedure done to make it better (got behind two or three different times for different reasons). Each time, I plowed ahead and got caught up. With the Lord’s help, I read the last installment on the last day of 2012. But I also decided I don’t want to do that again — at least not in that way.

    I really like your suggestion to study the Bible instead. That is exactly what has been going through my mind, too. I prayed before I read, each time I read, but my focus seemed to be more on accomplishing the goal of reading that day’s assignment than anything else. I found myself, sometimes falling asleep, and then had to pray that the Lord would show me how to get around that, too. Finally, in December, He showed me how I needed to arrange for the reading to get done and not fall asleep. Wow.

    Now that that is over I feel relieved — and I am embarrassed to say that!

    I usually get such pleasure in reading the Bible — but the pleasure I get comes from studying His word — not just mechanically reading it to accomplish a goal. Thanks for addressing this issue. I was feeling rather guilty about this one. Having experienced it, I’m glad I did it. I’ve now read the Bible through, in order, twice, but it is the study that lifts my spirits, It is the study and the pondering of God’s word that really touches my soul deeply and gives me ways to share and to encourage others and that is what I’m planning on doing in 2013. Letting the Spirit guide me.

    You are a blessing! Thank you!!

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