For a few weeks, I’ve linked to articles that seek to persuade you to read the Bible voluminously, like you would read a book. This week I offer more of the same.
Joe Carter writes this brilliant article proposing voluminous and repetitive reading as not only a great idea but the best way to change your thinking and develop a biblical worldview. I find it funny that we’d think there could be any other way.
How many times do we claim to be “biblical” and yet read the Bible more like a collection of inspiring sound bytes than a great work of literature? So we read a few verses and go happily on our way. Carter:
I want to recommend a simple four step process that could transform your life by, quite literally, changing your mind.
After reading the entire post the vast majority of readers will snicker at such a hyperbolic claim and never implement the method I outline. A smaller number will consider the advice intriguing, my assertion only a slight exaggeration, but will also never implement the method. A tiny minority, however, will recognize the genius behind the process and apply it to their own life. This group will later say that my claim was an understatement.
This post is written for those people.
Mr. Carter’s claim is an understatement. Following his process will change far more than your mind.
What’s the process? Choose a book of the Bible and read it 20 times. Move on to another book and repeat. Continue until you’ve read the entire Bible in this way.
Years ago, I took a seminary class where the professor required us to read 1 John five times in a week. He expected us to read in five sittings, one complete read in each siting.
At first I found the assignment onerous. I had read 1 John before, and I knew all the important stuff about confession, love, and not sinning. I wasn’t sure what I’d accomplish by such repetitive reading.
But I’ve always been a good Pharisee (I love rules), so I completed the assignment. The second read-through was the hardest one, as I feared boredom. The third read energized me with a few insights I had never considered before. The fourth read got me really excited, and the fifth read began to alter my thinking about faith and assurance.
The discussion of 1 John in the next class was some of the best I’ve seen. Now, in most Bible studies I lead, I give a similar assignment. Unless we’re studying a long book, I ask people to read the whole thing five times before the first meeting.
There is no better way to understand a book of the Bible.
I have never met someone who tried it and wasn’t convinced. I’ve met plenty who thought it was a dumb idea and refused to try it. What do you think?