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Don't give up reading through the Bible this year!

February 17, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Posted in: Bible

So, how is that “read through the Bible in a year” plan going?

Okay, so I’m sure not all of you set that as a goal, but for those who did, I am guessing that you have been slogging through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers for some time now, struggling to find the relevance of tabernacle dimensions and animal sacrifices to your 21st century life. I can say this confidently because I have also been (unsuccessfully) reading through Leviticus for going on two weeks now.

Can I offer some advice? Most Bible reading plans try to break up the Bible into relatively equal sections, so that you are reading about 3-4 chapters per day. The problem with this approach is that not every book of the Bible is best read this way. Leviticus, with all of its rules for the sacrifice and holiness laws, is best read through in one prolonged sitting, since the whole book can be summed up in one line: “Be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). Other books, such as Proverbs or some of the New Testament letters, do not make sense to read through three chapters at a time, because there are so many different promises, commands, and words of wisdom to consider. If you read three chapters in one sitting, you won’t have the time to give adequate attention to all of the parts that are relevant to your life.

My suggestion is this: read through some of the law and historical books of the Old Testament when you have a longer time and can consider the whole story or point being communicated. And when you come to parts of the Bible that are more relevant to your life, slow down and consider smaller sections with greater care. For example, James 1:19-20 reads “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Consider how transformative it could be to take real time to meditate on those verses, to consider how you fall short or God’s desire for your life in this area, to confess, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness, and to commit yourself to obeying Him in this arena. And then consider how hard it would be to truly take the time to meditate like that if you were busy skimming over that section so that you could read James 1-4 before you leave for work or fall asleep.

James tells us “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). And Jesus tells us that the man who listens to His words but does not act on them is like a foolish man building his house on the sand. As you read through the Bible this year, remember that the goal is not just to have read the whole thing, but to know God better and to become more like Jesus.

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