Bibles

Bible Reading 101 (Part 1): Start Slow

Image result for slow runningI often hear someone say, “I’m going to read through the whole Bible this year.”   I don’t say it, but I think, “Yeah, that’s not going to happen.”  I’m not normally a pessimist.  When I applied to college, the adjective I used to describe myself on my application was “optimistic.”  But when I comes to year-long Bible plans, I’m a realist–they are rarely realized.  I don’t want to be a heretic, but I think trying to read the Bible in a year is usually a bad idea.  And I love reading the Bible.

I’m reminded of the new jogger who boldly declares, “I’m going to run a marathon in 3 months.” I’ll believe it when I see it.  I’ve been running for twenty years.  I’ve run three half-marathons, but haven’t been able to do a full marathon for a variety of health reasons (AFib, plantar fasciitis, and a varies of injuries to my toe, calf, knee, hamstrings, etc).  Running in a marathon won’t happen for most people, and it’s probably a bad idea (running is hard on the body).

Reading through the Bible in a year is a lot like running a marathon.  It’s hard for most of us to do, and not very helpful.  The Bible contains 1189 chapters, which means if you read seven days a week, 365 days a year, you’ll need to read 3-4 chapters a day just to finish.

If you’re sick, or miss a few days on vacation, it goes up to 5-6 chapters a day.  How much do you comprehend, or even remember when you are reading that much Scripture that quickly?  Not much.  (If you’re retired and have several hours a day for long Bible reading–that’s fantastic–I’ll look forward to that!)

Most people who start with this lofty plan end somewhere in Exodus, or perhaps they make it as far as the desert of Leviticus.  Then they feel defeated, discouraged, perhaps like they let God down.

I never recommend reading through the Bible in a year.

I was speaking this past Sunday to the high school group at my church (Calvary Church of Souderton) with my wife Shannon about personal Bible study.  I gave them three recommendations.  My first was, “Start slow.”

Most people when they start running are excited, eager, energetic, so they run too fast, too far, too long, which often leads to injury, pain or burnout, which means they give up after a few runs, like most year-long Bible readers.  If people ask me about starting to run, I say, “Start slow.”

When I started running (in my 30’s), I began running a slow mile, for several weeks, and then very gradually running longer distances.  Over the course of a year, my distances increased, and I started running in races: a 5K, a 10K, then a half-marathon–but only after having run for several years.

When it comes to Bible reading, “Start slow.”  Plan to read your Bible just a chapter a day, or perhaps 5-10 verses.  It may take you a few years to finish it but you probably already know how the story ends.  And you will get more out of it from a slow read.  If you’re reading a short section, you can re-read it, and reflect on it since you aren’t in a hurry to tick off those four chapters.  You are far more likely to remember a chapter you’ve read twice, than 4 chapters you’re read once.  If God can speak through a donkey (Numbers 22), he can certainly speak through speed-reading programs, but it is more likely we will be able to hear him if we are reading his word slowly.

My next blog, “Bible Reading 101 (Part 2): Keep Track.”

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The Emoji Bible

Bible EmojiThe twitter account has been going for almost a year, but the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the newest version of the Bible, in that special language we love, The Emoji Bible has finally arrived.

You can purchase it for $2.99 at iBooks.

Check out the perspectives of Christianity Today or The NY Times.

Before you get too excited, there are a lot more English words (from the King James Version), than there are emojis.

While I don’t use emoji’s except to make fun of them, or other people for using them, I don’t think this is a work of Satan (as some apparently do), but a great idea.  Anything that gets people to read God’s word in language that speaks to their heart, soul, mind, and strength is a good thing.  If you love to use emojis in your various forms of communication, this translation could speak to you.  History of full of people who have adapted God’s word into the vernacular of their day in creative ways.  The Emoji Bible fits into this tradition.

Although I was a bit disappointed when I typed in one of my favorite verses into the Emoji Bible verse translator site and this is what it gave me, only a couple legit emojis:

4 the whole 🏠 of ahab shall perish: & i will cut off from ahab him that pisseth against the wall, & him that is shut 👆 & left in israel (2 Kings 9:8 in KJV).  

What do you think?  Thumbs up, or thumbs down?

Story of God Commentary Video

What is the new Story of God Bible Commentary series?  I’m glad you asked.

To answer your questions about the SGBC, Zondervan has prepared a short video (2 minutes, 40 seconds).  Click here or below.  Contributors for the Old Testament include some big names (e.g., Tremper Longman III on Genesis, Chris Wright on Exodus) and some small names (e.g., David T. Lamb on 1, 2 Kings).

The first two volumes come out very soon:

Scot McKnight’s Sermon on the Mount commentary.
Lynn Cohick’s Philippians commentary.

For free E-Book excerpts of these two commentaries, click here.

Something is missing

When you’re looking at a book on Amazon, there’s a blue tab that says, “Look inside” to allow you to magically look at some content, a free sample like you get at Costco.

I looked inside a few days ago to peruse the list of contributors for the new Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary.  I had written twelve articles, so I guess I was being a bit narcissistic (see my post on the dictionary and the twelve articles here).

There was something missing between Brian Labosier and Bernon Lee.  An author was left out.

I think my narcissism was duly punished.  Ouch.

Some Bible Dictionaries include the name of the author after each article.  Unfortunately, this one doesn’t do that.

I emailed my contacts to inform them of the oversight.  I then received several apologetic emails.  I was told the problem would be fixed in the next printing.

When I told my wife she said, “That sounds like plagiarism, using someone’s work and not giving them credit.”  Yes, but there were thousands of articles and scores of contributors.  It’s a reasonable mistake.  (But why not leave someone else’s name out instead of mine?)

They are sending me a free copy of the dictionary (without my name).

My favorites were the articles on Jacob, Lot, Jephthah, Hosea the book and Hosea the person.

I’ll get over the blow to my pride.  But my inner narcissist thought I should blog about it.

How do you feel when you don’t get credit for something you’ve done.