I hope you enjoyed Pastor Josh’s first message this past Sunday as much as I did. He challenged us that if we want to grow spiritually, we will read God’s word regularly. I would presume that many of you have the desire to grow and a desire to read God’s word. Many of you probably follow a Bible reading plan or at least attempt to every so often. If you are like me, you have probably set a goal to read the Bible in a year before. And also like me, you have probably failed. It’s ok though, we aren’t going to talk about that today!
Instead, I want to share something that has dramatically changed the way I understand the Bible. Hopefully, through doing this, you will also grow to love God’s word more and have an even greater desire to read the Bible. It is nothing profound, I started reading entire books of the Bible in one sitting. And if they were too long and I couldn’t finish, I would do it in two sittings. But my goal was to read an entire book of the Bible in one sitting. If you are anything like me, this is way different than the advice most people give you on how to read your Bible. You probably started with reading a chapter a day. I think that is excellent advice, especially for a newer believer. When we study, we certainly should spend time in a small portion of Scripture and dive deep, but when we read, we want to see the big picture. Eventually, you probably picked up a reading plan that had you reading multiple chapters in the Old and New Testament each day, this is great to discover connections between different books. But I noticed when I only read a chapter or two of a book, I was missing something.
Think about some of the New Testament letters, when they were delivered the person who delivered the letter would stand and read it aloud to the church, like a sermon. They were written to be read in their entirety. For letters like Romans and Hebrews that would take about 45 minutes, that is about the same amount of time most preachers speak today. But letters like 2 Thessalonians and 2 and 3 John take less than 10 minutes! Here is a resource to see how long it takes to read each book of the Bible:
I have been doing this for a while, but a couple of months ago, I started reading one Gospel each night. Each night I was led on a journey by the author to learn about a man named Jesus and all the amazing signs and miracles He did. I listened to Him teach the crowds, calm the sea, walk on water, heal the sick and diseased, and even raise the dead. There were so many people following Him and calling Him different names. Some even called Him the Messiah and the Son of God. And then there was a shift. Each night began with excitement, but by the end, I found myself crying as I read that this Jesus was beaten and crucified. It was heartbreaking. But as I kept reading those tears turned to tears of joy, because each gospel tells us He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death. And the claims that He was the Messiah, the Lamb who came to take away the sins of the world, and the Son of God were all true. I felt remorse over my sin and joy over the forgiveness and hope found in Jesus. Each night, I grew deeper in love with Jesus.
This quarantine has given us an amazing opportunity to slow down and focus some more time on our relationship with Jesus. My challenge to you is to pick a book of the Bible and read it in one sitting. My bet is that after you do it once, you will be excited to do it again. Soon it will become part of your regular routine. I am currently trying to do this once a week. If you have not done this before, pick a short book like a letter. If you feel ambitious, read a Gospel. You will be surprised by how much you learn, understand, and, most importantly, grow in your desire to read God’s word. I would love to hear what book you pick and your experience with doing it. Post a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One last encouragement to try this, if you read this entire devotional, 11 books of the Bible take the same amount of time to read!