Okay, confession time. I stalled. Holidays came, routines were on hold, and my Bible reading stalled. I got back into the useless cycle of forever trying to get things organised and under control, doing things that seemed useful but neglecting what was most important. Yes, that was probably three months ago now but I’m saying stalled rather than stopped because I’m determined to restart. Tomorrow.
I was enjoying the reading. I made it part way through Deuteronomy and despite the fact that a lot of what I read was laws and instructions and descriptions of the correct ways to make sacrifices, et cetera, I was thriving on hearing God’s word for his people and getting a sense of the overarching story.
I was also thriving on trying to make sense of it all. I made many notes; notes on things that struck me as important, that I wanted to remember, that confused me, that I wanted to follow up later. I noted down verses that relate to several themes I’m interested in. And, foolishly, along the way I decided to do some of my reading from the ESV on my Kindle, while continuing to do all of the highlighting in my hard copy NIV. Of course, all of this slowed down my reading tremendously.
I know, the point of the 90 day Bible reading is just to… read. Not to study in detail and understand every word. It’s for absorbing God’s word and seeing the big picture. But it’s not in my nature to read without critical analysis. (My husband will tell you I make too many unnecessarily analytical observations in everyday life.) I love to ask questions and find answers. So I need to find a balance…
This is my plan going forward.
I will only read for 30 minutes a day, unless I happen upon a lot of spare time. Actually, I started doing this right before I stalled. I had always planned to tweak the plan if it wasn’t working well for me, and I found that getting through such large sections was leading to too many late nights and therefore poorer functioning during the day. I think 30 minutes will be about right, but obviously I won’t be finishing in 90 days.
I will read How to read the Bible for all its worth by Fee and Stuart, and possibly the companion book How to read the Bible book by book, alongside the Bible. I dug out the former book recently for another purpose, and discovered it may be the perfect antidote for all my note-taking. It gives a clear explanation of the different literary genres found in the Bible and therefore how to interpret intelligently. If I better understand what I’m reading, many of my questions may be pre-empted.
I will try to chill out on the note-taking. I’ll continue to note down references for the themes I’m following, as well as key ideas that stand out to me, but I’ll try to rely more on quick highlighting for things to delve into later.
I will prioritise reading the Bible. Other things can wait. This is important.
I will ask someone to keep me accountable. Perhaps one of my friends on the journey, who has already finished or is almost there; someone who has freshly experienced the benefits of absorbing God’s word.
And I will ensure that future posts are less about my failings and more about God’s unfathomable love and unfaltering plans!