I hope you already read my previous article entitled Seven (7) Ways to Read the Entire Bible in One (1) Year. If not yet, CLICK HERE to read. God through many of His faithful scholars and servants, has produced hundreds of Bible translations. In this way, God doesn't limit His Written Word with only the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages. You and I in Malaysia (and all over the world) can read the Bible in our mother tongue or native language. God is also the God of Iban, Chinese, Indian, Malay, Dusun - all languages. With this awesome privilege to know God and His Mind, why wouldn't Christians don't want to read the Bible for his or herself?
Deep inside we know that as Jesus' followers we need to read the Bible consistently. But you and I know that most Christians have never even finished reading the New Testament, let alone the entire Bible (Matthew 26:41 says, "For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!"). As you know too, the Bible is a BIG volume book. But do not be discouraged! By dividing the Bible into 366* daily readings, your goal of reading the Bible in a year can easily be accomplished. Get a Bible reading plan today and start where you are. It's not too late (yet). In addition to the 7 ways to read the entire Bible in 1 year that I already suggested in the previous article (again, please check it out), here I would like to add another 7 ways or tips to encourage you in this noble and profitable holy-curious-reading to know the living God through His written Word:
*year 2020 have 366 days
#8 LISTEN TO (DRAMATIZED) AUDIO BIBLE
In my opinion, reading is better than listening to the Bible in terms of memorizing, familiarizing and imagining the Scripture. But listening is as Biblical as reading the Scripture. Romans 10:17 puts it this way: "[Faith] comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." I love to listen to podcasts, audiobooks and dramatized audio Bible. In my office, we have a set of The Bible Experience (TNIV) audio Mp3 and I love it very much. If Mp3 is too old school for you, you can download or listen to audio Bible online such as through http://www.bible.is/ website or App (untuk Bahasa Indonesia, saya cadangkan kamu mendengar https://www.alkitabsuara.com/). By all mean, try to READ the actual, physical Bible. Use the audio Bible if you need to catch up with some of your readings or to listen to the overall ideas or themes of the book that you are read now.
#9 WRITE YOUR THOUGHTS, REFLECTIONS & QUESTIONS ON YOUR NOTEBOOK OR JOURNAL
When the apostle John was in exile in the Patmos island, he was given a vision of heaven. The Lord appeared to him and said, "Write on a scroll what you see... Write, therefore, what you have seen" (Rev. 1:11,19). Likewise, you can write what you have read and 'seen' in Scripture. If your Bible has big margins, write your responses there. If you think your Bible is too 'sacred' to write something on, then use a notebook or post-it-notes. Some people use a journal, you can, but I'm not that disciplined. As you read and meditate on the Word, some insights and observations may come to mind, so you should write it down while it is still fresh.
Most of the time, when I read the Bible, I have more questions than insights. Question is good and very important provided that you have the initiative to ask God to reveal it to you in prayer and to search for the answer(s) later. Even if God doesn't give you the answer to your question immediately, just write it down. Who knows, maybe a few years later the answer may come to you unexpectedly but divinely orchestrate. Sometimes there is no answer... and it's okay too.
#10 FIND A QUITE, COMFORTABLE & LESS DISTRACTION PLACE TO READ
I would love to say that I get up early morning every single day, pour a cup of coffee and spend two hours reading my Bible and praying on my knee. Sorry, I don't. I'm not that spiritual. I do, however, when I wake up (probably around 7-9.00am, even 11.00am, depending on what time I sleep), tidy up my bed, drink water, take a shower and then I read my Bible as I boil the water to make myself a cup of coffee. After I post a daily reminder of Bible reading for that day (if you want to receive a daily reminder of 1 Year of Chronological Bible Reading Plan, follow me on Instagram: https://instagram.com/legasi.tv/), I put my phone on airplane mode to avoid digital distraction while I’m reading.
Since I stay alone, so, it's easy for me to find a quiet and comfortable place to read. In the past, I used to read the Bible in the toilet. For some people, this can be disguised, but for me, this was the only option I have to read peacefully and away from distractions. I also used to find that the quietest place in the morning is in my car on the way to the office. Be creative and adjust your priorities. Some people love to read the Bible at night. I don't recommend it. Reading novels or other books are okay. The psalmist says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). As you begin to step into the day, let God's Word be the lamp and the light to your feet.
#11 ITS OKAY TO SKIP 'HARD CHAPTER', COME BACK TO IT AGAIN LATER
The Bible can be a difficult book to read when you begin, but the more you read it, the more you'll get to grips with it. If you keep going you'll learn to love it and understand it better, and soon you won't be able to remember how you get by without it. Most people I interviewed said they stop reading regularly after they get into the Book of Leviticus. Some are more endurance; they give up after the Book of Deuteronomy. No doubt, there are some difficult, hard and torturing chapter(s) to read, but don't give up yet. Keep the good fight!
If it's such a pain for you, skipped it for a while and come back later, until the end of that particular book (by God's grace, we have studied the Bible from Genesis chapter-by-chapter for 3 years now. When we get to the Book of Leviticus, I thought that we were going to end there, but amazingly, I learned such great lessons from that book!). Camden McAfee, a blogger, says it well: "We need Scripture we enjoy and Scripture we don't in order to have a healthy spiritual diet. Sometimes the passages hardest to digest are the passages we need most. By approaching with humility to listen, faithfulness to examine ourselves, and courage to speak, we can turn the hard parts of the Bible into essential nutrients for our souls."
#12 SHARE SOME OF YOUR FINDING(S) AND/OR VERSE OF THE DAY FOR YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I don't particularly do this, but I find this is a great idea to encourage you to read the Bible and at the same time may encourage others as well. I don't like to read just Bible-verse posts. I like to read Bible-verse posts with thoughtful captions. I love to read someone's honest reflection of a particular passage or verse online provided that they don't simply cut and paste but seriously thought about it. It's not how many words you share but the substance that's matters. What you put in words is what you really thoughts through. Save some very personal stories, but don't let your life experiences and the Word's reflections deprived others of these wonderful blessings. Share it!
#13 READ TOGETHER WITH YOUR FAMILY OR FRIENDS OR ROOMMATES
If you can read the Bible by yourself, great! But if you can't or lack of discipline in this area, then read the Bible with other people. I have found that when we read the Bible together (especially during Bible Study) we all bring our own experiences to the Bible so it's really helpful to read the Bible with other people. This is of course provided that we know essential doctrines of the Bible and have an accountable partner(s) that can keep on encouraging one another. You'll gain other people's perspectives on what they think the Bible says. To get some different ideas, read it with someone from a different culture or ethnic, age, working experience, etc. Read a chapter or two together and then after a time of reflection (say 10-15 minutes), share what God has spoken to you through His Word [P.s: the smaller group, the better]
#14 KNOW THE BIG PICTURE OF THE BIBLE
One of the most helpful things you can do to understand the Bible better is to gain a clear comprehension of the whole sweep of the biblical story. To see and know "the big picture." Early in my journey as a Bible-reading Christian, I was (and is) greatly helped by the ministries of Charles W. Missler a.k.a. Chuck Missler and John David Pawson. These two Bible teachers are God's faithful servants who expand my knowledge of the Scripture and spark my passion for the truth. I used to play and devoured 24-hours teaching DVD of Missler's Learn the Bible in 24 Hours in my bedroom. Two times! And then, as I first enter the full-time ministry, I consumed the whole DVD series of Pawson's Unlocking the Bible. Whenever I want to be reminded of the big picture of a particular book that I read, I come to David Pawson. He provided an excellent and easy-to-understand overview of the Bible. Once you grasp the big picture - that includes the contexts and backgrounds - your view of the Bible will never be the same again! If you want to apply only one of these suggestions, take #14 with you. Nowadays you don't need to slot DVD into the player to watch these videos, all you have to do is log on to YouTube and watch online.
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THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.