Most of us who have embarked on the journey that is Christian discipleship have—at one time or another—been told that we need to read the Bible regularly. Older and wiser disciples have urged us to immerse ourselves in the grand story of God’s redemptive activity, arguing that it is there that we will find the direction and the sustenance that we need for our journey. Moreover, these grizzled veterans of the war between God’s kingdom and Satan’s lair have warned us that we will be vulnerable both to the attacks of the Enemy and to the evil within our own hearts if we do not consistently apply God’s Word to our lives.
But how do we go about immersing ourselves in the Scriptures? A lot of us have been taught to read the Bible as a part of our daily prayer time. Such “devotional” reading clearly plays an important role in helping us become better Christians, but it seems to me that there are other ways that we can—and should—interact with the Bible.
Over the next five weeks, I invite you to join us here on the Carroll Blog as we try to construct a more comprehensive approach to reading the Bible. I will facilitate our conversation by outlining three strategies for reading the Bible that every Christian should employ. Next week, I will discuss reading the Bible for content acquisition. The following week, I will discuss reading the Bible for the purpose of determining its meaning (Bible study). After that, I will discuss reading the Bible for encouragement, insight, and guidance (devotional reading). Each of these blog entries will briefly outline the purposes, the methods, and the desired outcomes that are appropriate to each reading strategy. The series will conclude with a discussion of how each of these reading strategies support and inform the others.
I hope that you will be an active participant in this conversation. I look forward to reading your evaluations of the material that I present. I also look forward to reading your responses to the questions that I will post with each blog. I want our discussion to be positive and practical—something from which any Christian, regardless of her or his level of spiritual or intellectual maturity, can benefit. I also want our discussion to be thoughtful and theoretically sound—something that challenges all of us to become more disciplined practitioners of the faith that we claim.
- What keeps people from reading the Bible? What challenges have you experienced in your own Bible reading?
- Did anyone in your family or church ever help you learn how to read the bible? If so, what advice did they give you, and have you found that advice to be helpful?