May 6, 2009

Can you read 12-pages a day?

If so, you could read the entire Bible in about 90 days. Sounds crazy, but isn't that just how we read through other books? How often do you read through a good book 2-pages at a time? One of the reasons it's so easy to get off track in the typical reading plan is that it takes so long and there is no sense of continuity. By taking 3 weeks to read through Genesis, you miss many of the overarching themes and patterns that emerge when taking in the whole book at once. Additionally, if you actually make it 3/4 of the way through, you've forgotten much of what you read earlier and may miss the import of many allusions or quotations. This has been my experience, at least. 

If you want to try it out, here is a 90-day plan that's broken down by week:

Here is a post explaining some of the benefits of such a read-through and how taking on the challenge with a partner can be edifying for both of you.

Here are some additional suggestions:

1. Find a good translation that has the right balance of accuracy and readability. There are a number of excellent translations out there and I use several different ones depending on the type of studying I am doing. For this type of reading, there is no better translation (in my opinion, of course!) than the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB). It's a fairly recent and poorly marketed translation, but the English is supremely readable and quite faithful to the original languages. Other good options would be the ESV or TNIV.

2. Don't get discouraged if you miss a day (or week). If you fall behind a day or two, so what? Just keep going. If you can make it up, great. If not, then it's a 95 day plan. No big deal. Just make sure you keep going.

3. Ask yourself questions as you read. What message is the author trying to get across? Why did they phrase it in this way? Why did they include this detail, or exclude that one? What does this tell me about God? What does this tell me about the humans? If you read something that doesn't make sense, is intriguing, or speaks to you in some other way, jot it down and come back to it later for further study.  

4. Pray, Pray, Pray. Before you start reading, pray for God to guide your heart and mind so that you will be receptive to His words and that you will be able to fellowship with Him. Pray as you are reading - when you're struck by God's power, His mercy, His justice, His love, His holiness, etc, just take a moment to praise Him. When you're confronted with you're own sin, take a moment to repent and thank Him. When you're finished, pray that He would implant the word in your heart so that it might take root and produce much fruit.

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