I still remember when I sat down one Sunday afternoon as a high school student and read the entire book of Genesis in one sitting. A whole new world was opened up before me. I knew all the stories and had read them individually several times before, but now for the first time everything came into perspective as I saw God move in each situation. I wasn’t picking out principles to live by or trying to gain a moral from the individual stories. For the first time, I saw God in the Bible (amazing how I missed Him before). Each story built on the one before and I grasped truth like never before. As the weeks drew on I found myself immersed in God’s Word. Each day yielded circumstances and situations that made me recall God’s truth and want to walk in a way that would please him. That Sunday was the first day that I came to “delight” in God’s Word.
My journey would take me several places and eventually I would be trained in Greek and Hebrew Grammar. I would teach God’s word and be able to wax on and on for hours over just one verse. However to get there I had to share a lot about the meaning of words and would often miss the bigger picture.
The day I came to a place of genuine repentance and faith in Christ I sat down with the book of Matthew. My heart was already prepared to receive God’s grace. I knew of my sin. I knew of the legalism I had developed in an attempt to rescue myself and I knew of my great need for God. Yet that day I read the book and my heart became burdened by the harsh way that Jesus dealt with the pharisees. My sorrow soon turned to joy as I embraced total surrender and I saw the way that Jesus so quickly embraced those who acknowledged their need of him.
Many years have passed since both of those instances and I have read most of the books of the Bible in a single sitting or throughout a week. I still remember the night in college when I read Ezekiel. The time a Jehovah’s Witness approached me while I was reading Leviticus. The list goes on and on and I won’t bore you with every time that I read a book of the Bible (it would be a long list). The point is I wasn’t reading to mark off a list, I was reading to meditate on God’s word and delight in Him.
Now granted, if you’re not a reader by nature the idea of reading a fifty-plus chapter book in one week, much less one sitting sounds like a miracle from God. Please understand I’m not trying to create a heavy burden for you. I’m a reader, it’s less miraculous for me. My challenge to you is this…
1. When you read the Bible… read to know God. Obedience to the law of God apart from relationship to God is legalism no matter how you brand it. The pharisees were masters of application of the law and they missed God in the flesh.
2. When you read the Bible… read enough to really take delight in God’s Word. It’s not enough to know what God has done or what God would demand. We should delight to hear of God’s attributes. When you enjoy God, doing what he says isn’t nearly as difficult as when you just go through the motions.
3. When you read the Bible… take enough time afterward to determine how you should respond. Any relationship is a two way street. If I delight in God and I want to obey God then I should make plans to follow him in Obedience. For example: If God tells me in his word that I should love my enemies (and he does) then I need to figure out what it looks like to love my enemies and go to work on loving them. Or if he says to serve my boss like Jesus was my boss (as unto the Lord) then I need to figure out what that looks like.
The point is to be reading the Bible with a good attitude and a right response. A lot of scripture might be a chapter a day for you. I’ve got a great many friends who read two chapters of scripture a day every day and do well. Don’t limit yourself.