This year, I decided - probably for the upteenth time that I would FINALLY read through the Bible. I've been a Christian since I was a kid, and I read the Bible in bits and pieces but I've never read it all the way through. This year, however, I discovered a program called Youversion.com and it would allow me to read the Bible chronologically in whatever version I wanted...I chose THE MESSAGE version. I started out strong...and as of now I am currently WAY behind. I don't know what happened, but somehow I just got behind.
Unfortunately, I'm not alone in this. I read this in an article today by columnist Michael Brown, according to data from the Dawkins survey,....[of people who call themselves Christian] “The majority (60%) have not read any part of the Bible, independently and from choice, for at least a year.” Really? Wow! Not any part?
I'm not one to be judgmental of these people - I mean after all I'm about 3 weeks behind where I should be on my own "reading plan", but I find that I look for at least those "bites" of scripture every day. I guess I've become a bit of a "nibbler" in regards to my daily Bread. Still, I've been confronted by this in the past few days.
I have been thinking about HOW I read the Bible as well. I am somewhat of a "skim it" reader. I guess that started in college when I had to read massive amounts of material in a short amount of time. I tend to fast forward through passages - sort of like skimming over a plate of food and picking out the chicken chunks from among the veggies (oh, come on - admit it...you do that too!)
As a teacher, however, I'm learning from my students an amazing lesson. When we read together, they tend to read s-l-o-w-l-y, and then we stop and discuss. They are reading this for the FIRST time. In doing this, I find nuggets I might otherwise have missed with my regular race-car reading...connections I might have otherwise missed. What if I read my Bible this way?
The other thing I've noticed is that I tend to read thinking about all the "sermons" I've ever heard on a passage, or I fall into the pattern of thinking that I already know this story so I don't even really read it. I guess my mind takes a detour. That got me to thinking, I wonder what would happen if I could find a way to read the Bible "for the first time."
This morning, I read in a Beth Moore devotional a comment of how people in every culture learn from stories and how they TREASURE the Bible. That is what the Bible is - a collection of true stories that illustrate the power and love of our Father - it SHOULD be treasured. I'm afraid I've taken it for granted simply because I've forgotten how precious it really is. I've forgotten that these are stories written by people who were experiencing them for the very first time.
What if I somehow look at these stories with new eyes? What if I read them in a "brand new, never heard the Bible before, new believer" kind of way? What would I discover? What would I see that has been there all along but I've missed it because I THOUGHT I knew the story? What if...
What if I just quit talking/writing about it and scooted back over to youversion.com and caught up on my reading? Later my friends....I'm off to try reading "for the first time."
John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
John 20:30-31 "Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it."