Don’t Read Your Bible More. Say What?

I work with a number of people one-on-one who desire to engage the precess of spiritual growth/formation more seriously.

I commonly hear the statement “I know I need to read the Bible more” in their initial sharing with me as to what they see as lacking.

Can I just say, maybe you shouldn’t read the Bible more?

Why Not Read the Bible More?

Too many times when we decide to read the Bible more we use either a reading plan or decide to read a certain number of chapters or something along that line.

The problem is, it often becomes a matter of making production. Just like a factory worker, if you are not having too good of a day and you haven’t met your production goal, there is a temptation to just rush through and get it done.

You can find yourself behind, reading extra per day, and yet be utterly un-transformed by the power of the Word of God.

Can I suggest a better way?

Morning Coffee With The Lord

One of my favorite things with my best friends is just to go to a local coffee shop and talk. Just talk. Either they are sharing and I’m listening, or the opposite.

Most likely, it’s both. We are mutually sharing, mutually listening, and mutually encouraging.

It is a practical way of fulfilling the “bear one another’s burdens” found in Galatians 6:2.

It’s awesome, spirit-nourishing, and refreshing.

Try the same concept with God.

Now I know this is a choice to be made, as to the time of day to sit down with the Lord over a cup of coffee, but I like the morning. I have found a strong value in grounding myself first thing after I wake up by choosing to spend time with the One who saved me in every way and every day.

I take my Bible (a real leather-bound paper copy), my planner (yep, use a physical printed planner, far better and lest distracting than an electronic device), a pencil (for writing down what He teaches me), and a cup of freshly ground/brewed coffee.

I usually go out on my back covered patio (weather permitting) but any quiet place will do, or even a coffee shop when I am on the road.

I start just by talking with God, saying good morning, asking Him to tell me what I need to know, and asking for help in staying close by as I walk through my day with him.

Then I’ll open the Word to whatever it is I am focusing on (lately it has been the Kings of Israel and Judah, along with the prophets of the day) and let God teach me.

It’s fascinating how sometimes I might read several chapters, and may even switch between books.

Sometimes I get two or three sentences into reading and something that our Lord shows me is so stunning and relevant that I am stopped in my tracks.

Here’s the thing: Jesus told us in John 15, that unless we abide in him and he in us we could “do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Making production by reading a certain quantity of Scripture can leave us unaware of the abiding presence of Yeshua the Messiah, or the Holy Spirit. If we are just reading because of a realization (involving guilt, perhaps?) that I should read the Bible–it can become just one more item on a personal agenda that we must check off before we can make progress on our many other items.

On the other hand, for me, when I head out to the back patio or wherever because I have come to value the intimacy and encouragement of being in the Lord and he in me (John 15 again), it becomes a personal joy that I treasure.

What I read becomes not just words ingested through my eyes, but an ongoing sharing from my Creator and Savior to me. It’s beautiful, powerful, encouraging, strengthening, emboldening, and something that over time has grown from a few minutes to at times (schedule permitting) hours spent sitting and having a beautiful convo with God himself.

So maybe you shouldn’t read your Bible more? Do you get it?

Applying this Concept More Broadly

If you’ve read any of my books or many of my posts, you’ll likely pick up that I am a big proponent of deep reading. 

Deep Reading is a quality of reading where you are so intensely focused on the text that you become largely unaware of time and what is going on around you. You also see what you are reading in your brain–indeed researchers who have studied this have found that if you are reading something involving physical sensation (such as pain, joy, or awe) that the part of your brain that would register that sensation lights up! (For a good discussion of this see Maryanne Wolf’s outstanding book on reading, Reader Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World. Although I do not agree with her evolutionary assumptions about our never being meant to read, the book is outstanding!)

The whole point though is this: When you sit down to read scripture or good literature, it is as if you are sitting down with the author for an intimate conversation. You can benefit from an authors sum-total of wisdom and experience (sometimes, decades of experience and wisdom) in just a few hours. It is one of the best ways to experience personal spiritual growth at greater than the speed of life!

But I Struggle to Focus When I Read

Hey, that’s okay…in the back of my book Superhero; Being Who God Says You Arethere is a program for “un-hacking” your life from digital devices. Part of that process involves developing deep abilities–contained therein is a suggested protocol and great books to read as you become a deep reader. 

Do this, it will empower your spiritual formation, peace, and wisdom!

(Image by Doidam 10/Shutterstock)

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