This year, I’ve chosen to pursue a deeper knowledge rather than a wider knowledge.
As I continue to work at and think about my habitus, the more that quiet and slow, meditative reading of Scripture becomes a recurring theme and desire.
For a long time, my instinct with Bible reading was one of just getting through it. It was a task on my to-do list. Something that needed to get done and as quickly as possible. A number of times, I’ve attempted to do the “Read the Bible in 90 Days” plan. It takes a couple of hours of reading each day. I would look back and remember how, when I was a kid, I would read at least that much everyday.
But then I would try and apply the same logic to the Bible and would find that it just didn’t work for me.
Tim Challies has written about the choice between intimacy or familiarity. Familiarity comes when we have read through the whole Bible a few times. This has been my main way of interacting with Scripture in my own devotional life for the last seven or eight years. I would choose a reading plan that would get me through the Bible in a year and then just do it. Like Challies, my preferred plan was the 5-day plan.
One year I tried Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s plan and that was definitely enough times trying that one.
Last year, I followed the plan from The Bible Project. It was great and I highly recommend it.
But this year, I decided to do something different. That’s because I have found that even with waking up early, there isn’t enough time in the day to both read a significant portion of Scripture and spend time meditating on it.
In my sermon prep time, there is space for this, but I don’t want it to just be a part of my sermon prep. I don’t want to run the risk of replacing my devotional time with time spent working for what is coming up next in the pulpit.
And so this year, I’m working my way through a reading plan that focuses on intimacy with a particular section of Scripture rather than familiarity with the whole thing. For the time being, I am contemplating making this a practice I do every other year. So while this year I am focusing my efforts on one portion of Scripture, next year I will work through the whole Bible again before repeating the pattern the following year.
With that said, what am I focusing on this year? Poetry and Wisdom.
In building this practice, it seemed right to spend my time in Scripture getting to grips with the parts that are particularly written for slow, meditative reading. For sitting with a few verses and thinking through them and reading them over again.
What I’m enjoying so far is that I actually have time to sit with the reading for a bit and to think about it. I’m not merely trying to get information into my head but trying to understand that information. To apply it.
It’s tricky in these chapters in Job because so much of it is the truth badly applied. But it has still been edifying. It has still been good to sit and ponder God’s word in a way that I haven’t had enough opportunity to do before.
It’s the last full week of January. You’re possibly looking at a reading plan that you started on the 1st and seeing just how far behind you are. Perhaps you’re thinking of giving up and trying again next year.
Instead, consider taking a Bible book, a small one, and reading it as often as you can over the next four weeks. Read it slowly, read it in one sitting, listen to it in audio form. Your understanding of it at the end will not be comprehensive but it will be more than it was when you began.