I know that most Christians struggle in reading the bible. Its not all that surprising when you consider that its not one book but rather 66 books written by different authors over hundreds of years and in many different styles.
Some are books of songs or poems, some are letters, some history, some books are of the law, some Gospels others apocalyptic.
So many Christians get bible notes to help them. But I think that too many of these re-enforce the difficulty rather than address it. All too often you are given one or two verses followed by a long commentary.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t get you to read the bible. It gets you to dip your toe in. It ignores huge chunks of the bible and you find you have no clear understanding of the biblical narrative or where even different books are!
I’m really pleased that Soul Survivor are trying to help address this issue by producing a read the bible in a year. This is a great idea. There are other Read the bible in a year bibles available.
This isn’t the only way of doing it.
But it does allow for sizeable chunks to be read.
The way I read the bible is to read a psalm (or a chapter of proverbs), 2 chapters of the Old Testament, 1 chapter of the New Testament (non Gospel) and 1 chapter from the Gospels. This means that I read the New Testament more than the Old Testament and I get through the Gospels more than the rest of the New Testament but then that gives a focus on Jesus that I find helpful and ensures that I know these stories more.
Faced with aggressive atheists, fundementalist Islam and massive biblical illiteracy it is incumbent on us to know our own story. To have an overview of the bible and to be confident of it.
Next year is the 400th anniversary of the translation of the King James Bible. So I want us as a church to become more literate. To agree amongst ourselves that we will look to know more about the bible. To agree to read or listen to the bible this coming year. To commit to read (or listen to) either the whole bible or at least the whole of the New Testament.
There are loads of resources out there available to people to use. Over the next few weeks we will make sure that we have links to them. We will have a front page item on our website that connects to it.