If you are a Christ-follower there can be a pretty regular sense this time of year that you should be reading the Bible and maybe starting a reading plan, but you just don’t want to. The #1 reason: The fear that you are going to flame out somewhere in Leviticus. Even if you haven’t made it through the whole thing before, don’t shy away from the opportunity to refresh some healthy rhythms in your life.
Honestly, the more I read the Bible the more I love and crave it. It took me while to get there though. (Is that ok for a Pastor to say?) Here are some things that help me keep it fresh:
1) Try a different translation. It’s not so much that it is going to make a huge difference in your understanding, but refreshing the language is a great way to mix of the cadence of your reading. How do you know if you have picked the right translation? As long as it doesn’t have the words Mormon, Jehovah or Witness in it you are probably ok.
2) Listen to it. When I first started listening to scripture it totally changed my understanding of some passages. Especially if you can carve out enough time on a drive or a workout (I listen while riding my bike) to listen to a whole book (Like one of Paul’s letters) all at one time.
3) Read it chronologically. You may not realize this, but the Bible is not written in chronological order. It’s grouped largely by the types of writing it contains (Like books of Poetry or History). It can be really eye opening to discover who are contemporaries of one another in scripture, and make you want to dive in and sleuth some things out a bit more. This is great for the little ‘CSI’ in you that is waiting to be let loose.
4) Read It Real Fast! If you have never done it I would encourage you to read the Bible as a narrative at least one time. From cover to cover and front to back. Whether or not you have ever read the Bible before take the posture of someone who has never read it before, and ask yourself the question, “What is this book about?” I’d love to hear what you come up with.
The best plan I ever saw for this was a 90-day one that came out some years ago. Here is a link to the reading plan I found; http://www.haventoday.org/schedule.pdf. For ideas on a bunch of plans that will fit your goals and growth for this year head on over to Bible.com.
Any other ideas out there? I’d love to hear what you do to keep it fresh!