Monday, May 12, 2014

Miles-a-Minute Challenge #121: Bible Reading

Today's Video: "Private Devotion"

Discuss/Describe how often you have been reading your bible. Are you putting in that daily effort?

I read my Bible every day. I have been doing that for many years. (Except last year, when I slacked off on it majorly). I have done this in several different ways. I've done the chapter-a-day method, the multiple-chapter-a-day method, and pre-made reading plans (which is what I've been doing this year - currently I'm doing one where you read through the Bible chronologically). I've read the Bible cover to cover multiple times in multiple "versions" (the ESV is my version of choice right now). In addition, I usually read from some devotional. I've worked through several of these too. At first I did this one they gave us when I graduated high school. Since then, I've done several others, from Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening to Sarah Arthur's Walking with Frodo to several in the YouVersion app to now Miles-a-Minute. (Working for a Christian bookstore for almost 2 years largely helped me find them). Other than that, I pray (usually not long enough) and for a while I would sing a hymn too, using the Methodist hymnal I took from my grandparents' house when we cleaned it out (that only lasted a little while cause I only know a handful of the songs, mostly the Christmas carols). 

I don't really study it a huge amount though. I don't really know how, other than the "word study" method where you look up words in concordances that we did at the InterVarsity retreat. I did read Tim LaHaye's How to Study The Bible for Yourself but didn't quite agree with it. The only ways I can think of that I'd enjoy are the word studies or studying it as a story (in other words analyzing it via all that literary theory I learned in school) or the history/archaeology (which is what attracted me to the Archaeological Study Bible, which came out shortly after I started working at Loaves and Fishes but which was really expensive). 

I also have read into old practices like lectio divina, where you don't just read the Scriptures but pray and contemplate them. I tried it but I think found it wasn't for me.

Sometimes though I feel like I'm not sure how to apply what the Bible says, and so I become less motivated to read it. Which sounds stupid but it's true. I've found in my reading recently that in Deuteronomy they actually bring up the idea repeatedly that what God wants is simple: for you to love him with all your heart and soul and to keep his commandments. This idea is echoed in Micah ("He has shown thee, O man, what is good and what The Lord requires of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God") and in the New Testament, where Jesus says the greatest commandment is to "Love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" and that "the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Later, in John, he says, "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:34-35, NLT). So it's probably just me making it complicated. I'm kinda legalistic, and in general all about following the rules (I think it's an Asperger's thing). 

You have to really be open to reading the Bible, or it's not going to do anything for you. It's going to be just like reading any other book to you. That's what I've determined.

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