A comment that Tim left on one of my recent posts reminded me of a new way I began reading the Bible while taking my Bible exposition classes for seminary. For several classes, it was required that you read through each covered biblical book in one sitting. This was something I had never done before! It is not that I’d never read completely through books of the Bible, but I’d read through books slowly – reading a few verses or chapters at a time. While there are advantages to taking days or weeks to get through a book, you can also end up with a fragmented or disconnected perspective. Reading through a book all at once was enlightening! Themes and things emphasized became more apparent. “Hey, I’ve read this same phrase several times now.” The big picture of the book became clearer, and I could better grasp what the author was trying to communicate to his readers.
Perhaps some of the lengthier biblical books like Isaiah come to your mind, and this sounds unrealistic. But remember that there are many brief biblical books too!
Here is a quote about reading books of the Bible in one sitting:
…The value here is that you’ll be able to appreciate the unity of each book. That’s what most people miss when they skip from passage to passage. They never get a sense of the whole. Consequently, their perception is fragmented. It’s like switching from channel to channel on the TV set, catching a few scenes or snatches of dialogue but never watching an entire program….Each one [book] was written as a unit. They only hang together when read in their entirety, just like any other book. Reading them in one sitting will help you grasp that picture. – Howard Hendricks in Living by the Book
Since I read Living by the Book several years ago, I can’t give a detailed review, but this book helped transform and revitalize my Bible reading. I highly recommend it. It is a down-to-earth book to help you better read, interpret and apply the Bible. I particularly appreciated the section on Bible reading, where a wide variety of different ways to read the Bible are shared:
Reading the Bible…thoughtfully, repeatedly, patiently, selectively, prayerfully, imaginatively, meditatively, purposefully, acquisitively, and telescopically. (Chapters on each one!)
I think sometimes we falter with our Bible reading because we are always reading it in the same ways and that can get boring or routine. This book shares many ideas for not getting in a rut, and reading and approaching the Bible more creatively.
If you have Bible reading ideas, please feel free to share them with us.