Do you enjoy reading novels? (If not…pretend you do for the next few sentences!)
Now, imagine that your favorite author recently released a new novel. You have it in your hands. You grab a cup of coffee and make your way to your favorite chair. You can’t wait to dive in. You flip open the front cover, and, much to your surprise and delight, there is a handwritten note from the author.
To My Favorite Reader,
I hope you get more out of this novel than any other I have ever written. I want each word to stick with you. So, to make sure you don’t miss anything, please commit to only reading one page per day.
Your Favorite Author
What?! Read ONE page a day? That would be a horrible way to read a novel, right?
Obviously, the Bible isn’t a novel. But some of the principles of reading are the same. While the events are true, much of the Bible is told as a narrative story. They are real stories with real people.
There are also many “letters” in the Bible. Take a look at the reading for today. 2 Timothy. It’s a letter from Paul to Timothy. It’s four chapters. (BTW…It will only take you about 12 minutes to read the whole thing.)
Imagine getting a 4-page letter that starts out “I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.”
Would you read the first page…then stop? No way! It is more likely that you would read all four pages and realize you’re still standing by your mailbox!
Try that with the Bible. If you’re reading a letter (like II Timothy, Ephesians, or Philippians), read the whole thing in one sitting. It will only take about 15-20 minutes. If you’re reading one of the longer, narrative books (like Genesis, the Gospel of John, or Acts) simply read for somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes.
Then watch what happens. Watch how much your mind “gets into it.” You will start to naturally sense the tone of the letter. You will see the people and places. You will smell the smells. It will all start to feel very similar to reading a novel.
By the way, I highly recommend doing this even if you plan to study a book in-depth. First, read the whole thing. Better yet, read it several times before you start your deeper study.
Think of it this way: Would you ever pause a movie after each scene to analyze or discuss it? Of course not! But after you’ve watched a movie, discussing a single scene, character, or plot twist is really fun!
The same is true with the Bible. Read a big chunk – even an entire book – to start with. After you’ve “watched the movie,” then it’s time to go back and study the scenes.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at one of the best ways to not only enjoy the Bible, but remember it at the same time!