I try not to but I feel ripped off when I remember that I never read the Bible as a kid. I even went to Catholic school but was never clued in that opening God’s word everyday is like drinking water or filling your car with gas except that (by Gods grace) reading the Bible is more enjoyable than pumping gas.
I used to get the sneaking suspicion that I was an imposter of sorts. I felt Gods love, believed that I was going to heaven, and knew the stories in the Bible (relayed to me by teachers/priests). But, I never felt the ripple effect of my walk with God touching every corner of my life. A few times I “caught the bug” and it would last maybe a few weeks.
So, when I FINALLY discovered that (for me at least) reading the Bible everyday is the golden ticket to living for Christ, I was overjoyed! I realized many Christians knew the whole Bible like the back of their hand.
My family had this giant Bible that my parents got as a wedding gift. The words were confusing and the amount of text was insurmountable. I once got yelled at for accidentally ripping a page and never opened it again.
When I realized I was lacking in knowledge of what the Bible really said, I dug in. Meeting people who knew and could quote verses so well gave me the confidence that it wasn’t so insurmountable after all. And I wanted to get on their level, fast.
It was a bad idea and that’s why I titled this post “put down your Bible”.
Taking the whole bible in in a short period is not that hard (if you’ve got the time). There’s only around 32 actual reading hours in the whole thing. But breezing through it just isn’t the way to go. This isn’t like the textbooks your teacher assigns and you read way ahead so you can answer questions by hinting at topics you know you’ll get to eventually (am I the only one who does that? If so, take it from me, professors are seriously impressed by this!)
You need to read the Bible in small excerpts and reflect, pray, and meditate on their meaning in your life. But, the urge to not be left in the dark on all the contents can be overwhelming. So here’s my strategy.
My daily Bible study contains two parts.
1. Reading an extended amount (several chapters or sometimes a whole book) with little to no reflection.
2. Reading a short amount (usually max out at 5 verses) and reflecting, journaling, and praying about that one part.
This new strategy has been more influential than the “information dump” tactic I was employing before.
God asks us to count others before ourselves. It’s a discouraging feeling when someone’s quoting scripture you’ve never read and you’re scrambling to keep up thinking “Well God, you don’t have to worry about me counting others before me when they clearly are all ahead of me anyways.” But don’t give up! Take your time. Reading the Bible is a lifelong journey. One day you’ll surprise yourself by recalling the perfect verse for just the right moment. But, in the end, it’s not about quoting or knowing scripture, the Bible is a vehicle that lends a helping hand in what it’s really all about, your relationship with God.