Over the years I have tried a multiplicity of Bible reading programs. Some have been good, others not so much. When I was in junior high, I attempted a speed reading method. Our church was running a tally in the bulletin for the amount of chapters the congregation was reading each week and I took it as a personal challenge. First I read all of the shortest chapters – blazing through Psalms until I had to skip over 119. Then I flipped through my Bible to find the shortest chapters – standing and running in place to keep the speed up. I was determined to get the most chapters of anyone. The problem was, I didn’t comprehend any of it.
Through the years I’ve tried reading through the Bible in a year only to lose zeal when I got to the Chronicles. I’ve tried reading five chapters in Psalms and a proverb a day, but then I neglected other books of the Bible. When I was in college I had to write titles for every chapter in the Bible, but being a slow reader and having so much other homework I usually just paraphrased the titles that were already there. Then we started studying individual books of the Bible and something changed. I actually started to comprehend the context of the books. Taking my time, I got a clear glimpse into what was taking place. With a new found hunger, I read through the parallel gospels – when the four gospels each have a column on the pages where they overlap. I saw things I had never seen and I had a new passion for Bible study.
No more was I reading just to get through and mark a tally chart, now I was reading to comprehend.
I don’t say this to discredit any of the methods I mentioned, though speed reading through the Bible may not be a very good devotional. We are all unique individual and we each learn differently. I just want to challenge people to find a method where they are able to take the time to understand what they are reading.
The plan I am currently using is to look at a book of the Bible each month. That means reading the smaller books over and over again, while splitting the larger books into manageable sections. With the institution of a few other simple tools – which we will be discussing as we continue the discussion in the coming weeks – I am able to better comprehend the Word of God. This month I’ve been working through Romans. The month before that was Philippians. Hence the Sermonettes on Sundays.
Some of you may be like I was. Your Bible reading program isn’t very comprehensive. You may be reading your Bible out of duty, but there’s really no drive to keep going. The days you neglect it are no different than the days you remember it. Don’t give up on reading the Bible altogether just because you’re having a bad experience. Change your process.
I’d encourage you to focus on a book. Listen to good sermons on that book and develop a new drive for reading the Bible.
The ministry I work at has a great resource for studying a book of the Bible one month at a time. It takes over 30 of the greatest Bible teachers of the past and present in order to teach the entire Bible. It comes as a two CD for each book with two preachers teaching on that particular book, including thorough notes and an outline of the book. The CDs are mailed out every month and the cost is only $12. You can also download the audio files and PDFs for free. Register, sign up, or download these files here. I’m hoping to continue to refine and add to this resource with only the best studies.
You can also find great messges at the Gospel Coalition, but there are so many sermons on that site it can be hard to find a good one. I recommend you find a preacher you like and stick with Him.