When was the last time, you read a complete book of the Bible, maybe even in one sitting? Have you ever? If not, why not? If yes, how was it (feel free leave a comment)? My guess is that many Christians these days don’t read or listen to the Bible book by book. Rather, we see the verse of the day pop up on our phone or we read the daily Bible reading portions from some sort of reading plan or devotional. But why not read the Bible a book at a time? After all, we don’t treat any other book this way. When was the last time you picked up your favorite fiction book and just browsed through the pages until you found a sentence that stuck with you? Oh, that’s not how you read a book, you say – exactly my point! It’s not how you read the Bible either.
I believe there is tremendous value in reading the Bible book by book, sometimes even a complete book in one session. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s the natural way to read any book.
- It protects you from taking single verses or sections out of context.
- It introduces you to the main themes and the big argument of a book.
- It leaves you with the whole message not just part of it.
- It helps you understand difficult portions, by putting them in the context of the entire book.
- Did I already mention it protects you from taking things out of context?
Sadly, we have a lot of excuses when it comes to reading the Bible this way. Here are my top three:
- I don’t have time.
- It takes too much thinking – I can follow Paul for about three verses and then I’m lost …
- My attention span is that of a five-year-old. I get distracted by the details.
Luckily, I have found a good answer for reasons one and three: the audio bible. Have somebody read it to you while you go about your day. I’m sure you’ll find some time to squeeze in a few minutes here and there and before you know it, you made it through a book. If you commute, you can probably manage to listen to a whole book in one session. In fact, if you already use an audio bible, I’d be curious to know which one, so feel free to leave a comment!
Now, as far as reason two is concerned, I’ve found that a reading guide is helpful, as it points you towards what to look for when reading or listening. On this blog, I will simply be sharing a handful of things that helped me make sense of the different books of the Bible, and if there are things you think are essential to understanding a certain book, feel free to leave comments.
Grace & Peace