How do you approach daily Bible reading?
I am looking for advice on how you approach your daily Bible reading. I read my bible each morning (next is the shameful part) by opening it randomly and reading, then rush to get ready for work, only to find at times later on through the day I cannot even remember what I had read about that morning.
Then the devil comes with the normal excuse, "it's ok, you're busy, at least you read something!! God will understand."
Do you have a daily reading plan or diary? Do you read each book of the bible starting chapter 1 to end of book? Do you concentrate on each bible character? Any help, guidance, pointers, and weblinks, etc will be greatly appreciated.
How do I do it? Not very well, and not nearly as organized and consistent as I would like.
My best times come, however, when I choose a book of the Bible to work my way through, along with a pen and notebook. On a day, I might take a paragraph or even a few verses and then:
- Ask, What does it say? I write down words and phrases that give the facts of the verse.
- Then ask What does it mean? I rephrase it and determine general applications from it.
- Then, this is the best part—What are the implications for me? Sometimes these are statements and sometimes questions.
- Then I try to turn it into a prayer.
So I'll do it with you on the passage I am on today:
1 Peter 1:3-4
What does it say?
- All praise belongs to God who is the Father of Jesus
- God is great in mercy—his mercy is big and good and sufficient
- In his mercy he has given us a new start to life, born not into a slavery to sin that will kill us but into a living hope
- birth into a living hope—this is life in a new atmosphere where we can brief in life, not death, hope and not despair
- this hope is not optimism about a future here, but is a solid, defined hope that we will be resurrected from death into eternal life just like Jesus was, because he did it first
- birth into a new inheritance—it's like we are born into a new, wealthy family. the wealth/inheritance of this family can never be diminished or lost, it is certain. It waits for those who belong to this family in heaven.
What does it mean?
- God deserves praise for his great mercy and his great plan of giving us life
- We aren't given new life because we've done something to deserve it, but because of the wide, generous mercy of God in giving Jesus to die.
- What God has given us is not just an inspired way to live the old life, but a new birth into a living hope—it is a whole new life
- what God has promised to us we don't get here and now. It is waiting for us and we can be confident it will be there. God himself is keeping it in heaven for us.
What are the implications for me?
- Do I recognize how great God's mercy is in my life—to choose me to be in his family? Then, why do I think his mercy is not great enough to cover my daily failures and the ways I still need to change and grow?
- What I am placing my hopes in for the future is not dead words or empty promises. I am grabbing hold of a hope that is solid and secure and alive. My hope is in a person—Jesus—who is living.
- David and I need not fret over watching our investments and retirement fund decline. We have an inheritance that will never diminish or decline. It is something we will enjoy forever. Forever we will enjoy the wonder and the richness of being renewed and remade devoid of sin, and we will enjoy the presence of Jesus. That will be more than enough for us then, and as we put our hopes in it now, it can be enough for us now. It can help us let go of what we so easily put our hopes in here and now.
Prayer: God, you deserve all my praise for who you are and what you've done. Thank you for your great mercy. Thank you that you are not stingy with it, that you don't make me work to earn it. You have extended it to me generously. And I need more today. So will you help me to rest in your great mercy today as I face my failures and inconsistencies? I love you for your mercy.
I wonder whom I need to show mercy to today that will give them a glimpse of you?
Thank you for giving me a new life. Why do I keep grabbing hold of the old one and trying to live in the old way, when you've given me a whole new start in a way of living that is powerful and overcoming and the very definition of hope? Thank you for your promises of an inheritance —I do believe the day is coming when I will enjoy in full what you give me tastes of here and now. I will enjoy the richness of your presence with me, the joy of being completely free of sin and sorrow, an unfettered release to serve you like never before. How I long for that day. Keep me focused on that inheritance, that hope, so I can lessen my love for this world and the things it holds out to me.
I hope this helps. A good study Bible (or a couple of different ones) with some study notes helps for when you come to those words and phrases that are hard to grasp. Sometimes you might go off on some references trying to figure something out. For example, these verses might prompt you to look up other verses that talk about "hope" or "inheritance" to seek out a clearer picture of what those important words mean.
The method is not nearly as important as the desire and the determination to do it when the desire fades. God will meet you in this place, I promise! He will speak to you through his word personally and powerfully.
Grace and peace to you in abundance (1 Peter 1:2)