Six Rules for Bible Reading in 2019
Six rules for Bible reading, in 2018:
1. Don’t make it a rule. The hinge upon which our lives turn is not whether we have satisfied rituals that please God. Jesus himself became THE ritualistic sacrifice, that satisfied God, in our place. The measure of our Christianity is not whether we’ve done sufficient devotions, but whether we believe that God is there, and that He is merciful, gracious, poised to bounteously reward those who seek Him (Heb. 11:6). Upon that faith, or lack thereof, our very existences hinge - nothing else, even Bible reading.
2. Plan to do it. Just because you have to plan to do something doesn’t make it less spiritual. It only says that it’s more important, which Bible reading is - more important than, well, most other things (save #1 above). I prefer the M’Cheyne plan, but there are many others.
3. Read prayerfully. If what you’re reading is not leading you to some kind of prayer, you’re a) not a Christian, or b) not really hearing what you’re reading, or c) need a bit more coffee.
4. Be as kind to yourself as God is. When your plans fail, and you don’t get today’s reading in, and you lack time to pray, and the kids interrupt, remember point #1. Don’t guilt yourself and then tempt yourself to quit because you didn’t get to yesterday's reading. Pick up today’s reading. God will supply what you need. It’s OK.
And it’s OK if you don’t read the Bible in a year. Read it in two years, or in two months. God’s not impressed either way. We’re eating our very food for life here! God doesn’t care - just get Him.
5. If you have time to read only God’s Word or man’s Word, read God’s. There are certain authors I just love, and with the crunch of time, there’s a temptation to hear only from “my boys” - their pre-chewed and regurgitated thoughts on the Bible. We need to hear from God Himself.
6. Look for Jesus. Especially in the Old Testament. Stop for a moment and read Romans 15:4 and 1 Cor. 10:11. The events of the Old Testament happened and were recorded for us, “for our instruction”. But there’s been a key-change, with the coming of Christ. We now live at the “end of the ages”. How does the first coming of Christ and his soon return “transpose” what I’m reading into a different “key”? The goal is not moralism, but clearer sight of Jesus.