Learning the Story, Living The Story part 4: Train Yourself to Read The Bible

Read part 1, part 2, and part 3

Welcome back to my six part series on how to be transformed by reading the Bible. My thesis is that to be transformed by the Bible, we must Learn the Story of God and Live the Story of God.

Previous posts have dealt with issues that keep us from doing it. Today I will switch gears and begin to share helpful things we can do.

In part 1, I mentioned that reading the Bible wasn’t easy. You can’t just pick up Leviticus and “get something out of it.” This causes many people to not even try. I’ve said before that reading the Bible isn’t easy. Here are three things to help you.

1) Just Read It.

I’ll be running the Corvallis Half-Marathon in April. But right now I am nowhere near the condition I need to be in to do it. So rather than not running it or just giving it the ol’ college try on the day of, I am training.

12 weeks of training. I am doing three short runs a week and a long run on the weekends. This will get me in shape to run the 13.1 mile race 2 months ago.

Reading the Bible is no different. We have to train ourselves. We have to learn discipline. We have to get up and do it even when we would rather stay in bed.

I wish there was more to this one, but I don’t know how to be more clear. You can’t learn the story or live it if you don’t know it.

Just read the dang thing.

2) Slow Down

One reason I have learned so much from this blog about the story of God, is that I have read it slowly. Slowing down has been so helpful!

There is no law that says you must read through the Bible in 90 days, or a year. Heck, I’ll probably do it in seven.

But when you give each chapter and section and book the time it deserves, the story starts to come together. Places in Scripture you may have found dry and boring can begin to take new life. They might become, dare I say it, interesting.

You’ll miss it if you feel like you have to just burn through it.

3) Ask God to Help You Be Curious

Curiosity is a holy character trait. Don’t believe me? Read Mark 4. Or read Exodus 3. Moses almost missed that burning bush but his curiosity got the best of him. And the world was changed forever.

When we want answers right away, we aren’t being curious. When we immediately dismiss something we’ve read as boring or irrelevant, we aren’t being curious.

But when we slow down enough to ask a question, we are exercising our curiosity muscle. And that’s good. And when you have a question, write that sucker down and ask it to someone!

When we read through that genealogy to see what might be there, we are being curious.

When we make a spreadsheet of how many animals the Israelites had to sacrifice, we are being curious.

I think we are born curious. And then I think our curiosity can get beat out of us by a whole host of things if we aren’t careful.

So when you sit down to slowly read through your Bible, say a little prayer that God will make you curious about what you read. Trust me, there is good stuff in there.

We’ve all heard the proverb, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Did you know there is a second line?

Satisfaction brought it back.

What have you found helpful in just reading the Bible?

part 1: Why we don’t read the Bible
Part 2: The Teacher’s Edition of Life
Part 3: Don’t Read The Bible Alone
Part 5: Context, Context, Context!
Part 6: The Word With Friends

9 responses

  1. One thing I learned when just observing the text, is to first of all, ask lots and lots of questions. You pointed that out here, and I think that’s the most helpful. Also, reading slowly is important. I don’t know what the point of reading the Bible in 90 days is, anyway. It would be like finishing the Lord of the Rings trilogy in 3 hours. Not even worth it.

    Anyway, I think one of the more helpful “methods” of observing I’ve been taught is the newspaper reporter rundown: Who? What? When? Where? How? Why? I think those simple questions reveal a lot more than we originally see about the text we’re reading.

    • That is great. I agree, jumping too quickly to interpretation before answering basic newspaper questions can be a hindrance. And I agree that they reveal a lot more than one might think.

  2. Meditating on the Bible helps me a lot. When I do the Lord involves me in it by experiencing a moment where something I’ve read just applies itself to the situation, or vice-versa.

  3. I think this is a really good reminder to read with curiosity. I think I study with curiosity, but when reading by myself, I often fail to do so.

    One thing also is that I would love to read the Bible the way I study it – but I never leave myself enough time. So there’s also the worry of rushing in the short term as well as the long term.

  4. Let me just say, I tried the Bible in 90 Days back in June or July of 2011. And I loved it through Genesis. Then I got into the harder books (Exodus, Leviticus, those ones…the ones with all the rules and the numbers and everything). I fell behind. And then it became a catch-up game. How many pages do I have to read today? I think I made it to about halfway through 2 Kings and I gave up. A sad day. And what was worse, I fell away from Bible study altogether for quite some time. Just recently I started a Bible in a Year plan. I’m at the end of the first week of reading and I’ve only finished 2 days worth. I “stopped to smell the roses”. Basically, I got so into what I was reading that I stayed a little longer and learned more than I have the last few times I’ve read Genesis.

    One thing that helps me with genealogies is thinking of them this way…those are our ancestors! It may sound like a long list of names but we all came from those long lists (especially the ones around the time of Noah). Makes it a little more interesting. And when you slow down, you really catch a lot more 🙂

  5. Just found your blog today and love what you are doing. Keep on.

    In 2000 I was invited to join a group of women reading through the Bible in a year with the sole purpose of getting to know God. We had no homework or questions to answer; we just read. Each week we got together to discuss whatever had stood out for us–questions as well as insights. We had such wonderful, Spirit-guided conversations! We learned to be comfortable with moments of silence until one of us brought up whatever would be the next topic.

    We developed a solid framework of knowing who God says he is and what he does that continues to fuel our reading, studying, discerning, and following today. I’m also writing A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year: A Life-Changing Journey into the Heart of God, due out from Bethany House this November.

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