Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tips for better Bible reading (and reading in general):

  • Slow down. Yes, the Bible is a big book and becoming fluent in its meaning can take years but you will gain more by reading slowly, thoughtfully, and carefully. Think of yourself as a backyard gardener hand-picking vegetables off the vine rather than a volume-oriented combine farmer whose main goal is to get as much yield as possible in one pass.
  • Read longer. A verse a day just doesn't cut it for me. Our culture pushes everything to go faster but does that really help you understand? Don't get me wrong; there are days when I fail to open the Bible for my own sake, but when I do, reading longer helps me get the sense of story and purpose. It allows my mind to make connections from Old Testament to the New, and it helps me see how much of Scripture's message is summed up in the person of Jesus Christ.
  • Ask questions and take breaks to pray about what you are reading. God has given the gift of his Holy Spirit to every born-again believer, and He is available as the "Spirit of truth" (Jn 14:17); He is the one who will "teach you all things" (26).
Interestingly, I am applying this same advice to my recreational activities the older I get. Running used to be something I could just do without any thought given to the consequences on my body! Now it helps to slow down (who wants all that joint pain anyway?), jog longer, and take breaks along the way. It's hard for a has-been sprinter to get used to it, but on the bright side, this is how I got to know my wife when we were dating. We'd jog around Baylor campus for 30 minutes in the morning, something very counter-intuitive for me to do.

Here's a short quote discovered today:
"Beware the fury of a patient man!" (John Dryden, 1631-1700)
I don't think this is referring to a patient man as someone who let's pent up anger build until he explodes. Maybe it was meant to say that whatever "fury" comes from a patient man is certainly deserved in light of his patience, especially when it is all used up. God is patient with people, but there is a limit to it. He continues to call out that now is a time to receive His mercy through the cross of Jesus Christ, but someday soon, that time will end and all that will be left is his fury on the wicked (Revelation 14:7). Or...maybe the "fury" is his patience, similar to Romans 12:20, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head." 

Feel free to comment and share you thoughts with me, and thanks for reading.

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