Tuesday, January 03, 2006

More on Bible Reading

I've gotten some positive comments about the Bible reading schedule that I told you about, both here online and from people that I know personally. I'm glad it was a help to several of you, and I'm glad there'll be some other people joining me! That gives me a bit of accountability, which is a good thing for me. Two years ago, the ladies at Women at the Well decided to read through our Bibles together, and it was so nice to have everyone reading together - plus it kept us on our toes, to keep reading!

So what do you do when you get behind on a Bible-reading schedule? Trust me, I'm the expert at this! If you're far behind, the best thing to do is just pick up with today's reading and move on from there. If you're just a day or two behind, you can make that up pretty easily by just reading a little extra today. One thing that I did once when I got far behind was to read the current day's reading, then go back and pick up the reading that was farthest back for that day. Then the next day, do that day's current reading and the one farthest back. If you double up like that, you can catch up pretty quickly without having to do a marathon reading all in one day.

One of our church folks asked the honest question, "Doesn't it take a lot of time each day to read through the whole Bible in a year?" The literal answer is - No. It only takes, on average, about 20-30 minutes a day. The think-about-it answer is - how many times have you sat down and read a 700-page novel in just a couple of days without even batting an eyelash? How many TV shows do you watch in one evening? In the time it takes to watch one sitcom (which are not worth watching, in my opinion - but that's another post!), you could read several chapters of the Bible. In the time frame of an hour's TV show, you could read about 7-10 average-size chapters, and in the course of a 2-hour movie, you could read 15-20 chapters or so. It's all in how you look at it!

Are Bible-reading schedules common where you live and go to church? Wes and I were talking this morning, and he said he never heard of a Bible-reading schedule till we moved to Ft. Worth in 1990, when we were 25 years old! I couldn't believe that! I remember them from when I was a child, and as I grew older, I used them to make sure I read. I wasn't consistent many times, but I did use them. So I was wondering if a Bible-reading schedule is not as common as I thought?

Something that I like to do when I'm reading is keep a journal. I keep it with my Bible, in a nice journal that I like to look at. One year I had an aqua blue one with a cute daisy on it. Last year I just had a plain spiral notebook, because I couldn't find a nice one that I could afford at the time. This year, I still have room in my plain one, so I'm waiting a couple of weeks to buy a new one. What do I write in this journal? As I read each day, I write down any verses that seem to speak to me personally. I might write the entire verse out; I might only write the portion of the verse that especially had meaning for me that day; I might write just the reference along with another verse that parallels this verse; or I might just write down the key thought of the verse. These journals are awesome to go back through to see what things caught my attention through the years. It's pretty interesting that in any given chapter, something different will catch my attention each time I read it! God's Word is living, and it speaks to each of us where we are at any given point in time!

Some people like to use devotional journals that ask questions about what you read. I used one for a while that had short passages to read, then you wrote the passage in your own words and answered questions such as: Is there a command to obey in this passage? Is there a sin pointed out to me? Does it show me something I need to change in my life? This was good, and the springboard for the method I use now.

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