How I Read the Bible

I read the bible front to back. Really. I know a lot of people have daily reading plans, morning and evening readings, random flip-to-a-page readings, Old Testament plus New Testament readings, bible-in-a-year readings, etc. But I read it front to back.

The Bible is a Story

Many people don’t realize that the bible is a story. The bible has a beginning, middle, and end. It has a characters who experience conflict and growth, plot and subplots, a climax, resolutions, and an ending. The bible is a book of history but it’s also a story.

So, because the bible is a story, you can read it front to back, and you will gain so much more insight than random readings.

What My Reading Looks Like

When I sit down to read, in the morning, lately, I sit in a comfortable living room chair, with a coffee in hand, a lamp to my left, my phone on my right, and my bible on my left. My phone is where I have a bible app, but I don’t read from it (I used to but don’t anymore), instead I use it for bookmarking my exact position in the bible, whereas bible ribbons or physical bookmarks can only tell you the page.

What I actually read is two chapters per day as I read through the bible, front to back, and one chapter of the wisdom books, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, to focus on wisdom and to provide variety in the reading. I skip over the wisdom books as I read front to back so I’m not repeating myself.

It Seems Too Simple?

Simple’s not such a bad thing. Consider how often you might get pulled away from reading the bible because it’s too long or too complicated. My dad once told me, never make something you enjoy into a chore. Perhaps it’s a little bit of self-righteousness that makes us think we need to slog through the bible even if it becomes unenjoyable. It shouldn’t be like that. Give yourself a break and read it in a sustainable and enjoyable way.

So Get Reading The Bible!

Start reading the bible today. Just start. And keep it simple so you can keep it up!

Tip: How I Read The Longest Chapter In The Bible

Psalms 119 is the longest chapter in the bible, at 176 verses. It really is a long slog to read the whole way through. Instead, as it is broken up into twenty-two stanzas, I read two stanzas per day. Here’s the note from the NLT version (see footnote) that may help explain what I mean:

This psalm is a Hebrew acrostic poem; there are twenty-two stanzas, one for each successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the eight verses within each stanza begins with the Hebrew letter named in its heading.

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The Quotable Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

I remember two cases of would-be suicide, which bore a striking similarity to each other. Both men had talked of their intentions to commit suicide. Both used the typical argument – they had nothing more to expect from life. In both cases it was a question of getting them to realize that life was still expecting something from them; something in the future was expected of them. We found, in fact, that for one it was his child whom he adored and who was waiting for him in a foreign country. For the other, it was a thing, not a person. This man was a scientist and had written a series of books which still needed to be finished. His work could not be done by anyone else, any more than a person could ever take the place of the father in his child’s affections.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

This existential vacuum manifests itself mainly in a state of boredom. Now we can understand Schopenhauer when he said that mankind was apparently doomed to vacillate eternally between the two extremes of distress and boredom. In actual fact, boredom is now causing, and certainly bringing to psychiatrists, more problems to solve than distress. And these problems are growing increasingly crucial, for progressive automation will probably lead to an enormous increase in the leisure hours for the average worker. The pity of it is many of these will not know what to do with all their newly acquired free time.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

It is one of the basic tenets oflogotherapy that man’s main concern is notto gain pleasure or to avoid pain but ratherto see a meaning in his life. That is why manis even ready to suffer, on the condition, to besure, that his suffering has a meaning.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

 

Most important, however, is the third avenue to meaning in life: even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation, facing a fate he cannot change, may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself, and by so doing change himself. He may turn a personal tragedy into a triumph. Again it was Edith Weisskopf-Joelson who, as mentioned on p. 118, once expressed the hope that logotherapy “may help counteract certain unhealthy trends in the present-day culture of the United States, where the incurable sufferer is given very little opportunity to be proud of his suffering and to con­sider it ennobling rather than degrading” so that “he is not only unhappy, but also ashamed of being unhappy.”
Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

Backup Link: Man’s Search for Meaning

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