Yearly Bible Reading
It seems like this year was longer than most others, but the truth is, we get the same three hundred and sixty five or six days each year. It is really what we do with the time that makes the difference. With my weird work schedule, there were times when I took weeks to complete one chapter—you know it is time for bed when you're looking at the same verse for thirty minutes but cannot decipher the meaning of one word in the verse—and there were times where I completed ten or twenty chapters in the same day.
Lingamish has related a somewhat similar odyssey this year. Of course, he's reading the Word, even when he isn't reading the area or the quantity that he planned on covering.
I think that the important thing is that we do, indeed, consistently read and study God's Word and that we do attempt to integrate the words and the message of those words into our daily lives. Unlike those who believe that a thinking person cannot accept the truth as laid out in Scripture, I think that the very thought processes that lead some astray will also lead others to the Lord.
I think it is important that people think about the meanings and applications of what they are reading. What did it mean to the original readers? What does it mean to a contemporary reader? What implications go with those meanings? What things have happened to change the meanings, and are those things that God sponsored, or that the world and its ruler sponsored? Is this something that should be put to use in my own life? How can this be helpful in bringing others to know the Savior?
It also seems to me that we believers need to become more cognizant of the current and former beliefs and practices of the Jews—God's people then and now—since we are grafted in or adopted into the family as brothers to them. (Yes, it is true that their leaders have chosen over the past two millennia to walk away from God's plan for them, but a simple reading of Romans 11 tells us that God is going to bring them back to his fold.) As we learn to love them as our brothers and sisters, some of them may be curious enough to investigate the claims of Christ and be changed. We do not want them to give up their Jewish heritage, but we do want them to join us in God’s eternal kingdom.
Enough of that. Now for a progress report for 2006 Bible reading. This year, I read the minor prophets, Genesis to Nehemiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and portions of John, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, all of Romans and Galatians, and a few chapters of Hebrews. The toughest part is that many of these readings are very applicable to the daily news, and so I start cross-referencing my reading with life in these times and wind up with five minutes of Bible plus forty minutes of news.
My daily target is one percent of my day spent in reading the Word (which works out to about fifteen minutes per day), so I’d have to say I failed miserably there. So I’m going to do the check-off boxes thing for a month or two, to try to get some momentum going.
It is really more a matter of setting aside and guarding time. When I am home, I have to set some hours that are uninterruptible, and then make the effort to be available and willing during the other hours. This, of course, affects more than just my Bible time. It affects my exercise-walks, my efforts to add to my computer & network administration and programming skills, my effort to eat and live a healthier lifestyle, and my effort to acquire spoken and written communication skills in other languages (currently Italian).
What I read about Jesus is that he was intensely disciplined, but that his discipline was not the rigid, no-exceptions style that we practice (when we practice discipline). It seems that Jesus was motivated by the needs of others as well as by his relationship with the Father, and that these twin motivations helped him to stay disciplined, while also remaining available to people. What can I say? I am not there, and will probably never arrive there, but that's where I am heading.
I’d like to hear from others about how they are facing the need to discipline themselves to read and study God's Word and to pray on a daily basis, while still actually getting out into the world around them and being the light shining in the darkness. I certainly do not believe in monasticism. Instead, I believe that Christians are meant to live in the real world, influencing those that they come into contact with. I do moderate comments, so off-topic or abusive comments will be deleted.