bits from bob....

You Can Read the Bible!

by Robert J. Young
©, 2003, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Many try each year to read the Bible and fail. I know no failsafe approach or panacea to guarantee that Christians persevere in their commitment and resolution to feed regularly upon the Word of God, but I have found encouragement in regularly reviewing basic concepts and principles related to the Word of God. In the same way that basic educational subjects were in times past referred to as the three R's (reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic), I have identified six R's to describe principles of Bible reading.

1. Recognize the importance of Bible reading.
If Scripture is light for the path, truth, powerful, and a complete package for equipping saints for service; if Scripture capable of reproving, correcting, and instructing; if Scripture is the very breathe of God exhaled upon his people and world to communicate his wisdom, will, and way, the Bible is important. If the Bible is important, our understanding of it is also important. Here is spiritual nourishment, here is spiritual life, here is spiritual vitality.

2. Be realistic.
In Scripture reading, one must realistically set forth toward a goal which can be accomplished. How much time do you have? How much time are you willing to devote to reading the Bible? How rapidly do you read? For a number of years early in my ministry, I read the New Testament through every month. At other times I have continually read the Psalms (5 psalms per day) and Proverbs (one chapter per day) each month. It is certainly a realistic goal to read the Bible through each year. A friend reads the Bible in a different translation each year. I try to read the Old Testament annually, and the New Testament several times each year, in addition to my regular ministry studies in the text. I find it helpful to read by pages. I have a New Testament with 322 pages--I try to read 10 pages per day when I am reading the New Testament in a month. Because chapters are of such varying length, this more equally divides the text. I can testify, however, that any aggressive approach to Bible reading takes a lot of time. Therefore, we must be realistic. Better to begin and continue to the end on the pace of the tortoise than to run like the hare for a while, and then fail to finish. I have a theory why so many people have read Genesis and Matthew countless times. Have any idea what my theory is?

3. Be regular.
The best plan for Bible reading is regular. Find a set time in the day when you will read, and stick to the plan. Build in times for catching up, perhaps on the weekend or Sundays.

4. Seek relationships and accountability.
While one might, at first glance, think this point a reference to finding God in our reading, and certainly, that is a primary goal, what I am thinking about in this point is that in our Bible reading we share our intentions and results with others. Perhaps a brother or sister in Christ, or a spouse, is reading the same material at the same rate. Encourage one another; talk about your readings, and hold one another accountable. It is easier to accomplish something if we have told others we are going to do it.

5. Read to reach the goal; read with the goal in mind.
While it is wonderful to read the Bible for the sake of reading the Bible, there is more to be accomplished than mere reading. The Bible is God's revelation of himself. When you have read, do you know God? Have you found God? Have you met Jesus? Have you found relationship? It is in this fifth point that I would include the search for relationship with God.

6. Reach onward and persevere.
There will comes times of discouragement and times when it seems nothing is being accomplished in your reading. Because Bible study is important and our knowledge of God matters, keep on keeping on.

Here are the 6 R's: Recognize that what you are doing is important; be realistic; be regular; read in the context of relationships, to reach the goal, to reach onward and upward. May God bless you in your commitment to read the Bible. May we once again become people who know the Bible, and thus know God, the Christ, and the Spirit.

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Last updated October 9, 2003.