I came across this helpful information on the Cerulean Sanctum blog when I was looking for a different way to read my Bible. You can read the entire article here
Cerulean Sanctum was a new discovery for me. I found it interesting and thought-provoking so I added it to My Blog List, and plan to check it out more thoroughly when I have more time. There are so many good blogs out there in cyberspace (wherever that is) that I could spend my entire day on the computer!
How to Read the Bible for Life, Not Just a Year
The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program, as I see it, moves beyond this piecemeal approach to reading the Scriptures. It has nothing to do with the proud announcement that “I read through the entire Bible this year!” Instead, it has everything to do with knowing the word of God and putting it into practice. It’s not a one-year reading program, but a “rest of your life until they bury you in a pine box” program. The first way of thinking is marketing; the other is transforming.
Here’s how The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program works:
1. Find a quiet, undisturbed place to read. Start in the New Testament since the New Covenant is necessary for perspective on the Old Testament. Might as well begin with Matthew.
2. Read through one entire book in a single sitting. Obviously, the first five books of the NT are going to require some time. But do it. (You’re eternal. Live like it!) These books are whole units and are meant to be read as such. We need to experience their coherence. Trust me; the Holy Spirit will bring the entirety of the book to your mind in the future in a way you’ve never experienced before.
3. When you’ve read the book once, don’t move on! Read through it again. For the first five books, if you must break them into chunks, go with five or six chapters—whatever maintains the arc of the narrative.
4. Re-read that one book. Note the way the narrative and themes flow. Commit those stories and themes to memory. Note where they exist in the book.
5. Re-read that one book. Pay special attention to the way the Lord is portrayed.
6. Re-read that one book. Examine the relational aspects of the book, God to Man, Man to Man, Man to God.
7. Re-read that one book. Note the Lord’s redeeming and salvific acts within the greater arc of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. (This first pass through the NT assumes you have a modicum of OT understanding. After reading the OT through, the second pass through the NT will clarify things further.)
8. Re-read that one book. This time around, note all the Lord’s commands and how we’re told to practice them. Consider how they might work practically in your daily activities.
(By this point, you’ve read the same book seven times. Depending on the length of the book, it may have taken seven days or seven weeks. It doesn’t matter. This is about changing your life and relationship with Christ. This is about sixty years of discipleship. It’s not about getting through the Bible in a certain length of time.)
Now comes the hard (and controversial) part…
9. Take everything you’ve learned in this book and put it into practice. Take a month to do nothing but concertedly meditate on what you’ve just read by making it real in your own life. It might mean that the only Bible you read this month are the parts of this one book that you still aren’t getting and must re-read. Doesn’t matter—do it. (If you absolutely have to read something every day that isn’t part of this program, consider a few Psalms or a cycle of Proverbs. They’re the most suited to broken-up reading patterns since they are collections of wisdom and less unified than a book like Romans.)
10. After your month, take stock of all that you’ve learned by reading and practice. Make a mental assessment of the themes of the book and how they apply to your discipleship. If you’re confident you’ve read and practiced this book, move on to the next one. Once the NT is finished, move onto the OT. (I realize some of the OT books are daunting in length for a single read-through. Make a concerted effort to read them in one sitting. Failing this, some of the OT books are narrative, which allows for breaks in the story. Psalms and Proverbs are easily segmented, as noted above. All prophets must be read in one sitting the first time through. A book as enormous as Isaiah is hard to partition, so consider reading it on a weekend day.)
Repeat these ten steps for the rest of your life.
George Barna’s dire poll warnings about Biblical ignorance today in Evangelical churches largely reflect the piecemeal approach we take to reading the Scriptures. Too much of our reading and teaching are topical, destroying the uniformity of the revelation. That so few churches preach through the entirety of the Scriptures in the way outlined in this reading programs explains our ignorance, too. Bible reading programs that reduce the Bible to tatters only compound the problem. So does the lack of digesting what we read.
I can’t guarantee many of the things I write here at Cerulean Sanctum, but I guarantee this: If you make The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program your lifetime plan for reading the Scriptures, you’ll be transformed.
And you can take that with you to eternity.
A final note: If you are looking to find out more about Christianity and its core beliefs, please visit this link: “How to Become a Christian.”