Dig Deep

In a recent blog post, I suggested reading the Bible in big chunks, rather than snippets, or even worse a verse here and there.  It’s important to get the big idea, the context, of what you’re doing, and you only get that when you read bigger chunks.  I even recommended you pick a shorter book of the Bible and read it all in one sitting.

I want to go a step further and suggest that you not only read a whole book at once, but that you read the same book every day for a week.  Why in the world would I say that?  Won’t that throw off your read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan?  I may get skewered by some people for saying this, but I would rather you go deep and only read a few books a year than go shallow and skim the whole Bible in a year.  Sure, you may get through the entire Bible in 365 days, but how much did you understand?  How deep did you go in the reading?  Did you wrestle with the meaning of a passage, and specifically what it means for you (notice I did not say what it means to you, but for you; in other words, how the passage changes your life)?

Now having said that, let me put a caveat on it.  It is important to have a big picture view of the whole Bible.  If you’re new to the faith or have never surveyed the whole Bible, I would strongly recommend stepping back and seeing the Bible as one story before you dive into a specific book.  There are a number of good books that survey the Bible, but this one’s my favorite.

Once you have a good overview of the whole Bible, put the one-year-reading-plan on hold for a bit and take a few days/weeks to really dig deep into a book.  Try reading that book every day for a week.  Get a good study Bible and maybe even a commentary on your Bible book.  If you’re really serious, get a Bible study program on your computer.  Come to the Scriptures expecting to encounter God, not just gain information (think of reading the Bible as going on a date with God).  Ask good questions as you read, and journal your experience.

When you’re done with that book, pick another and do the same thing.  Keep on doing it until you’re dead.  Then, just ask Jesus in person what the Holy Spirit meant when He inspired the Scriptures!

3 Comments

  1. That is exactly why I have resisted reading the Bible through in a year. It’s an arbitrary time frame that means nothing if the brain is not fully engaged in absorbing what is read. It may work for some people but I need more time to chew over the meatier passages. Hooray for a pastor who is more concerned with how people take in the Bible than at what speed!

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    1. Thanks for your insight! I like the analogy of “chewing” on the meatier passages. There’s a ton of stuff packed into God’s Word that we miss so easily when we read to check off a box…

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  2. Hey, Andy, I love your blog! It looks wonderful. 🙂 I completely agree with you about Bible reading. It’s only when you spend time reflecting on God’s Word in small doses that you gain the biggest treasures! Sometimes one verse or phrase in a verse can speak volumes. As you correctly pointed out, though, it’s important to also have a sense of the big picture, whether it’s by chapter, book, testament, or the entire Bible. Verses cannot be taken out of context.

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