How do you start your day? I begin mine with the Bible (and a coffee.) Reading the Bible has been more than a good habit. It saved my life.
Distress. I went through a serious encounter with distress in the third year of my career as a pastor. For almost two months I was awakened in the middle of the night unable to breathe. My lungs felt like they were shutting down. If you’ve ever had the wind knocked out of you, that’s how it felt. My doctor said it was not physiological. He asked me what was going on in my life. “Your body is under distress and is shutting down to protect you.”
Awakening. One morning, after the most recent episode, I had an “awakening” of sorts. It dawned on me that I had been so busy that I had slacked off of my practice of giving God first place in my life by giving Him first place in my day.
Routinely to start my day, I would read a few verses from the Bible, reflect and record my thoughts. The pressure of a growing ministry tempted me to skip what I thought was dispensable. That morning I re-instituted my practice. The first choice of the day would be time with God.
My responsibilities and expectations have increased tenfold over the decades, but the symptoms of distress never returned.
Blessing. When I look back, my distress was a blessing in disguise. It got my attention, helped me re-prioritize and created a pattern that has served me well for the last 33 years.
Reading the Bible is not magic.
Reading, reflecting and recording – 1st thing each day – has been medicinal for me. It makes me strong at the centre.
The Bible is described as “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) and “alive.” (Hebrews 4:12) Reading, meditating on the verses, studying their meaning and applying the Bible to life is empowering and freeing!
Some or all of the following resources can help you in your Bible reading.
1. Bible Reading Plans:
• Community Bible Experience (read through the Bible with your family or small group)
• Read through the book of Proverbs in one month by reading one chapter per day.
• Read the Gospel of John in one week by reading three chapters per day.
2. Using Bible reading app on your iPhone can be helpful. I use YouVersion which includes some of the following reading plans:
• OwnIt365 (read through the Bible with 2 readings per day)
• Mariners Church Chrono-Condensed (read through the Bible in chronological order). This is what I am using each day.
• New Testament in 30 days
3. Websites for reading and studying the Bible:
• www.biblegateway.com – I use this one.
• www.studylight.org (to compare the English version to the original languages choose Bible translation to search using NAS with Strong’s Numbers)
Lastly, one of my favourite passages from the Bible: “Be strong and very courageous…Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
QUESTION: What have been your experiences with reading and studying the Bible? Please leave a comment below.
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