It’s the beginning of a new year—time to put the past behind us and look forward to the future. It’s also time for making resolutions: You’ll keep your dorm room clean. You’ll finish that term paper in order to wipe out that incomplete in English Literature I. You’ll eat healthier food. And you’ll faithfully study the Bible.
So many times, so many of us have determined in our hearts at the beginning of each New Year to read the Bible from cover to cover in 365 days. And so many times, around March or April, but by June for sure, we have slowed the pace or even broken the habit completely.
So what can we do to make sure that this year we remain faithful to our goal? How are we really meant to read God’s Word?
- First of all, don’t think of the Bible as a rule book that you’re supposed to measure up to.
- Neither is it just a book of wonderful promises.
- nstead, it’s a book about life, your life. And your life is full of drama, emotion, and mystery.
The life of each of us is a story. And the Bible is about your story and mine. It is also about God’s story. And we are all part of God’s passionate story about His relationship with us.
So just how should we read the Bible to gain the most from both our personal stories and God’s story?
- First of all, read the Bible in a version you’re comfortable with.
- To help you understand what you’re reading, purchase a reputable Bible commentary that has an outline and a brief introduction to each book of the Bible. Some Bibles already come with this type of information. Also, there are many free Bible apps you can download onto your smartphones or tablets.
- Start a Bible study group. Find people who also are interested in reading the Bible.
- Get organized. Find a routine. You might enjoy one of the many Bible reading plans that are available online.
- Read broadly to get an overview. But also read deeply: (a) What does the passage say? (b) What does it mean? (c) How can you apply it to your life or to a situation you are currently facing?
The Bible itself has this to say about spending quality time with it:
“ ‘I have not departed from the commands of his lips; / I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread’ ” (Job 23:12, NIV).
“Your promise preserves my life” (Ps. 119:50, NIV).
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it” (Rev. 1:3, NIV).
Indeed, the Bible is the most important book you’ll ever read!