I would suggest my Bible reading is a little eclectic. I read passages from the Bible every day in some form or other. These days, I rarely read a book of the Bible from start to finish (with one exception) tending to focus on specific topics or passages that my other reading has led me to.
The one exception is the Book of Psalms which I tend to continuously read from start to finish using some form of ‘guide’ to prompt my reading. At present, I’m working through a book called “Openings” which each day introduces the reader to a saint or sage and works through the 150 Psalms over the course of a year. Previously, I listened to the Psalms read by Dane Ortlund in his podcast series based on his book “In the Lord I Take Refuge”
Why the continual focus on the Psalms? I just love them as they are so expressive of the human situation. All our emotions are on show, and I feel I get to encounter God when I read them.
Information or Encounter
I’m a learner. In all those personality strength tests ‘learning’ comes out top or near top for me. It’s a family trait, all my siblings possess it; we’re constant learners. When I had my wakeup call over 10 years ago about not knowing God well enough (He prompted me), I dived into reading the Bible and acquiring knowledge. I’d study the Bible, research things, read commentaries, and so on which was all wonderful for the learner in me. My mind was filled with all good things.
Knowing God is very important. But interestingly, when the Bible refers to knowing God it often refers to an experiential knowledge of God. God doesn’t want us to just have an intellectual knowledge of Him but to experience Him, paralleling this nuance of ‘know’ (‘oida’ in Greek) with sexual intimacy. In John 14:7, Jesus says, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” Jesus and the Father had a very intimate relationship, one that we too can learn to develop.
Bible reading is a way of developing that intimate knowledge of Jesus. Remember, Jesus is the Word (as described in John 1). God has given us the Word, both the written and Jesus, to encounter, to experience. Not just to gain head knowledge.
Around five years ago I began reading the Psalms. And I haven’t stopped. I found in reading the Psalms that I began to develop an experience of God through my emotions. I praised, I cried, I lamented, I got mad, sad and happy all through reading the Psalms. Typically, I did this through putting myself into the Psalm. Psalm 23 is a beauty as I visualised myself with the Shepherd as I prayed each of the six verses. Try it.
I was challenged a few months ago by God to go deeper in the gospels. As a friend of mine wrote, “… if I want to interact with Jesus as His disciple, I must keep company with him in the gospels.” Trevor goes on to say,” The Gospels offer us far more than information and inspiration. When read with expectant trust and faith, they make interaction with the living Jesus a living reality.”1
It prompted me to read ‘John’ slowly and mindfully. And now I want to continue with reading the other three gospels. Jesus is there in the gospels. We can encounter him, God, each time we read the Word.
Well, that’s me. Love to read any insights, thoughts you might have about your own Bible reading habits in the comments below.
Grace and peace,
Note: 1. Trevor Hudson, "Seeking God" (NavPress, Illinois, 2022)
Lynn, I couldn't stop reading this book! It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean. Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb