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I’ve read the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien many times, at least 4, and stopped keeping track after that – haha. The first time I read through these books, it was slow going. It was all new to me, a world of unfamiliar characters and places. While I enjoyed reading, it was also overwhelming as I tried to remember who was who and follow the story.

Tolkien really did create a detailed world, with its own unique languages, geography, history, cultures, and creatures. For those who don’t know, there are even appendixes in the back with more details about Middle Earth, not critical to you reading the story, but it expands your understanding.

The second time I read Lord of the Rings it was a bit easier and I read a little faster. Note, “a bit” and “a little.” You can guess that upon each re-read this changed, and I was surprised by how quickly I read through the books for the 4th time! I’d become familiar with the story, and it was not nearly so overwhelming. The characters had become like my friends.

Maybe for you, it is not Lord of the Rings, but some other book or movie series that you have read or watched over and over again. You have immersed yourself in the story and know it well. If you are honest, you have spent much time (perhaps more than you care to admit) reading/watching or otherwise being a part of the fan culture.

Well, what about the Bible? As Christians, the Bible is our book!

Sadly, too many Christians do not routinely read the Bible or only read a random verse here and there – such as a daily devotional based on one verse. Or they never read the Bible through from beginning to end, or have only read it through one time. I once heard an older Christian proclaim with pride that she had read through the Bible one time many years ago. She viewed it as a herculean accomplishment that you do once, a Christian “bucket list” if you will, that you check off as done. Phew! I don’t mean to mock but simply sharing it as an example.

I am not trying to guilt you into Bible reading! Really! I detest guilt trips. Rather…I hope to get you thinking differently about Bible reading.

Yes, the Bible is a long and overwhelming book. But as I hint at in this post, the more you read it, the more familiar and less overwhelming it will become to you.

Yes, the first time you read the Bible from beginning to end, it may indeed be like a herculean task that requires endurance! But the next time it will be a bit easier, and so on…and eventually you’ll find yourself reading through the Scripture faster, in a more familiar way, enabling you to observe and notice things that you never did before! The Scripture will be like a friend, instead of a stranger! Isn’t that important for a Christian?

IMAGINE IF you claimed to be a Lord of the Rings (or whatever series) fan and…

♦ You’d never read the books or seen the movies? or…
♦ You’d only watched the movie trailers? Is watching 2-minute movie trailers sufficient for you to truly grasp a story? or…
♦ You only picked up the Lord of the Rings books and read a random, isolated sentence every day? Is reading an isolated sentence each day going to give you a true sense of the story? It might even confuse you or give you a wrong perception!

I think you know the answers to those questions.

So isn’t it odd to treat the Bible that way if you are a Christian?

Again, the point here is not to make you feel guilty, but to get you thinking differently about your Bible. 

I’ve had posts with practical thoughts about Bible reading, encouraging different approaches and methods, especially if you have tried and failed in the past. As they say, the definition of insanity is doing the SAME and expecting a DIFFERENT result. So, stop it! Try something new.

And indeed, reading the entire Bible could be something you need to work your way up to. The first year read through the 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The next year read the entire New Testament. Finally, the next year, tackle the entire Bible – Old and New.

Some past posts about Bible reading are HERE.

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