Thursday, January 08, 2009

Speed Reading

I made one New Year resolution and started it on January 5th. Now, three days later, I am officially giving it up. The resolution; to read the entire Bible in a year.

I have to read large chunks of the Former prophets, major Prophets and Acts for my classes. So why not make it part of my daily devotions? It makes sense but I ran into a problem; it is a lot to read. It was more like running through the Bible in a year. The Light Speed Bible (photo above) is actually marketed as a tool to help read the Bible quicker.

(Here come some lacking metaphors) I find that reading through four-five chapters everyday is like getting drunk on wine or gorging on chocolate or speeding through the Alps. Wine should be sipped, chocolate savored, the Alps appreciated. Likewise, we need to marinade in the Word to the extent that our fingers are looking like raisins. I'll read the Bible in it's entirety but it won't be of the instant coffee version. Instead I'm going to pick the beans, give them a good smell, grind them up, and let it energize my day.


Claymation said...

Absolutely! I agree with you completely on this one. I've never liked the idea of reading as much as possible to accomplish some made up goal. Reading through the whole Bible, sure that makes a lot of sense. But in a year? You will probably get something out of it, but you might get just as much out of one chapter read over and over for a year. Why are we in such a hurry to accomplish such a great task?

Adam said...

I think both are valuable. I think it's valuable to read big chunks in order to get the big picture. That's hard to do when you nibble away. Reading a whole letter of Paul's in one sitting helps you see his big argument. It also helps to see what themes emerge and understand what emphases the writer keeps coming back to.

I did this in preparing for our small group study on Mark by listening to the whole book on CD two or three times through. Once I noticed a few themes, it helped me focus in on them when we came across them in a closer reading, and to allow them to inform each reading so that Mark's message comes out.

I think it's a both/and, not either/or.

Carrie said...

I would agree with Adam. When I read a lot of the Bible for a class in college (Understanding the Bible), I felt the same way as Mike, that it was too much in a short time. I didn't feel that I was gaining anything from it. But once I got through much of the class, I realized how valuable it was to get an overview of the Bible and books of the Bible as a whole. I struggled with reading for a personal quiet time of reflection versus churning out chapters, more as I would read through chapters of a college textbook. I tend to be more detail-oriented and think through each part, so it was good for me to force myself to move quickly and get the overview, instead of going back to get each detail.I felt like it was easier to spend reflective time on the NT and to move more quickly through the OT to get the historical meaning. I think both are valuable.