I know it is a little past the first of January now, but I also know that some of you haven’t yet started reading God’s Word on a regular basis. I want to encourage you to think seriously about doing this.
There are many, many reading plans as well as bibles specifically designed to help Christians read their bible daily. My wife and I have been reading the bible through, (from cover to cover), each year for somewhere between 20 and 30 years now. So, I thought perhaps I might share some insights with you.
First, it never get’s old… each year when you read God’s Word afresh, you find new things that you never noticed before. Perhaps it is because of events that have taken place in your life or our world, but suddenly you see new lessons and stories that you may have read over quickly before, suddenly take on a new life.
Now having said that, there is a problem that I have and with which I have been struggling, (though it may not happen to you). I realized that reading the bible had become more something I check off my list of things to do and less about letting God speak to me. I rushed through my readings rather than savoring the time with God. It became more a thing to accomplish that a time of learning. Interestingly in talking with preacher friends I found that some had faced the same problem.
Having realized my weakness, I started looking for a way to make my bible reading more meaningful and more of a time of learning. For most all of these past years we have used
“The Daily Bible in Chronological order,” compiled by F. LeGard Smith, (available on Kindle). It has small commentary sections mixed in with the daily readings and has been quite helpful. However, I decided I wanted more depth, so I decided to make a drastic change in my Bible reading/study time.
I have used “The Word in Life” study bible and enjoyed the bible studies mixed in with the text. However this year I decided to use one of my favorite commentator’s study books “The Daily Study Bible Commentary” set by William Barclay. (A very expensive set available on Kindle, but only individual books, but you can find it for free on line at http://studylight.org). If you consider this study, I have to warn you that I do not agree with some of the doctrinal views held by Barclay, but he is one of the best scholars I have ever read when it comes to giving the background and history regarding the bible texts. He is very wordy and the explanations are often lengthy, but if you want to better understand the cultural thinking of those who spoke and those who heard there is none better. He gives in depth studies of the Greek and Hebrew words, which can be rather dry, but if you want to add depth to your reading and study, he is a very good source.
I don’t care what plan or program you use, just do it… read your Bible, let God talk to you through His Word. You may be getting a late start, but that’s OK, you are on no one’s time table, God doesn’t care how you do it or how long it takes, He just wants you in his word. Paul writes, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God …” Ephesians 6:17.