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  • Writer's picturejacarroll71

Bible Reading--3 questions to answer

Maybe you are one of those people who have said, “I should read the Bible. Someday I will do it.” Maybe you are also like one of those people who still have not read the Bible despite your sincerity in planning to do so. If this describes you, can we talk?

I do not mean to discourage you but let us be honest. The Bible is a huge book. If we say “someday I will read it” we need to realize it cannot be read in a day or a week. Probably not even in a month. If you intend to read the entire Bible you need to answer three questions.

1. Motivation. Why do I want to read it? The success of most large projects depends on motivation. What would drive you to read such a large book? Let me suggest the following possible answers:

· I want to be able to say, “I have read the Bible.”

· I want to read it because I am curious about why that book has endured for so long and continued to be read by millions of people.

· I want to read it so I will know the truth about life: who am I? why am I here? And where am I going?

· I want to read it because I want to know God.

One or more of these motivations might be yours. They are listed in order of strength from weaker to stronger, from personal pride, to curiosity, to practical questions, to deep spiritual hunger. Whatever your motivation(s) the point is to get started. I know of people who first read the Bible in order to enhance their resume or win arguments. Some of those same people (myself included) have ended up having a more significant motivation before they were through.

On one occasion Jesus spoke to some who had professed to believe in him and to be his disciples. He said to them, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32 ESV).

The stronger your motivation the more likely you are to finish reading the Bible. It is better to start with a shaky motivation than to postpone reading until your motivation is of the highest order.

2. Knowledge. What do I need to know about this book before I read it? It will be helpful in reading the Bible to understand what it is. Although it is usually bound in one volume like most other books, it is more like a library than a book. It contains two testaments (Old and New) which were written or dictated by prophets or apostles over a period of 16 or more centuries. The Christian church has taken it to be the very Word of God, breathed out by the Holy Spirit and recorded by human writers so that it has the authority of God and is without error (2 Timothy 3:16). [1]

3. Organization. How will I organize myself in order to get this reading done in a way most beneficial to me? Any large task requires organization. When it comes to Bible reading having a plan will be a great help. There are many resources available online. [2]

My book Concealed and Revealed: a year in the old and new testaments includes a reading plan which, if followed daily, takes you through the Bible in a year. There are also daily devotionals which model how you can focus on specific truths and apply them to life. It is almost like having a friend who reads along with you and makes comments on some key portion of the reading.

Beginning on January 1, 2021 you will also find overviews here each Friday about the readings for the upcoming seven days.

In the preface to Concealed and Revealed Dr. Jerry White commented on the importance of the spiritual discipline of daily Bible reading:

“People have asked me what the primary discipline is I would put above all others. There are many spiritual disciplines that I practice and which I recommend to others. After reflection, I concluded that the one spiritual discipline I would fight to keep is a daily time with God in the Word and prayer. I have practiced this discipline for many decades. Certainly, I have missed days. It is not just a legalistic, check-off-the-box, habit. But it is like brushing my teeth – a habit that I know I need for my health.

“I also keep a simple journal to remind me of what I have read. Admittedly, I did not always understand what I was reading. In my younger years (and even today) I would whisk through the Old Testament, longing for the Psalms and the New Testament. Yet I dutifully sludged through it. Occasionally, I would turn to a devotional guide that would give me some insight. I knew I needed help in grasping both concepts and historical understanding. Concealed and Revealed is the kind of book that would have helped me grasp so much more of what I was reading.”[3]

It is my hope and prayer that you will consider reading through the Bible. Would you consider making a serious commitment to daily Bible reading? Is it not the most important thing you can do for your soul?

Think about it, please.

[1] For an excellent series of free lectures on Knowing Scripture by RC Sproul click here [2] Bible Gateway offers a number of options for Bible reading plans here at no charge. [3] Concealed and Revealed: a year in the old and new testaments p. 7-8 (used by permission)

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