Guilt. Fear. Dread. Drudgery.
Are these the words you use when you describe Bible reading plans? Did you make it a goal to read through the Bible this year and 15 days in, you are so hosed that you don’t know how you are going to catch up?
Well, lovebug. Let’s do a switch. Let’s change our outlook on reading the Bible. Let’s find ways to read the Bible that don’t drag up feelings that are equivalent to cleaning out the gunk in the shower.
There are many ways to read the Bible, but only one goal. Our goal in reading the Bible is to understand and get to know the God that created us. He is writing the world’s history, and we are going to want to be a part of it. I do think reading the whole Bible is phenomenal. It helps you to understand the sweeping picture of God.
However, it is not the only way to read the Bible. One way to look at it is if you have a best friend and you didn’t talk to her for 15 days, you wouldn’t just give up trying to connect and start again next January. You, also, wouldn’t sit down with her and relay every detail that happened over the past 15 days. No one would want to listen to that. What would you do? You would just start where you are at and go forward. There might be some catching up, but over the course of the conversation, you would get the gist of what was going on with your friend.
Have you ever had a friend that you didn’t talk to for months and when you did get back together it was awkward? Then, you went another few months without talking, and the friendship just fizzled? This is the concern with having an all-in-or-nothing approach with reading the Bible. You have to figure out how to not let yourself fizzle. God is constant. We are the fickle ones.
There are many different ways to read the Bible and you have to play with what works best for you. I ebb and flow on my difficulty-level. If I have a lot of energy (like at the beginning of a semester), I will study a person, a whole book, or a topic. Then, as I begin to lose steam (Hello, the month of May, a.k.a. the busiest month for a mom), I read some of my favorites (Philippians, Mark, Psalms, all the Peter books), Then, I choose summer to pound out a tricky theological study, where I can go slow and ponder on a thought.
That is how I do it, but you get to figure out your ebb and flow. The end goal is to stay connected. God loves you more than you can even understand. He loves you and this book is His letter to us. May you spend this year finding ways to read the Bible that will bring you hope, not shame. Be faithful to the God that never leaves you and you will experience the joy you so desperately crave.