I am always amazed at how God tears down our preconceived notions and humbles us along the way. I decided to read through the Bible this year with thoughts of padding my knowledge of the Bible. I assumed that I would have all sorts of fresh and wonderful insights now that I have completed seven years of formal theological education. Instead, I have found myself confused and struggling to reconcile my understanding of God and what is presented in the Bible. I have been tempted to quit reading, but lately I have been thinking that perhaps I am supposed to be learning something other than what I originally thought. I feel like I am learning more about the "how" than the "what or why" of reading Scripture. Here are a few things that I have been learning this past month:
1. I think that maybe Scripture should not be read alone. Remember, this whole concept of silently reading to yourself is relatively new. The printing press did not come around until the 1600, so for the majority of Christian history, people have not had private access to Scripture. Traditionally, Scripture has been read in community. I think that this is really important. The Bible is a huge book and has a lot of crazy stuff in it. It would be very easy for an individual to get some wild ideas based on a private reading of Scripture. As history has shown, it is also very possible for a community to get some wild ideas from Scripture, but I am willing to bet it is more difficult.
2. I think that Scripture must be read slowly. In order to meet my goal of reading the Bible in one year, I have set a break-neck speed of 4 chapters per day. Very rarely do I have the time (or rather take the time) to meditate and savor the text. Instead, I typically read anywhere from 8 to 20 chapters (because I have skipped days), quickly skimming over the passsages. No wonder I am confused by what is going on!
Well, call me a glutton for punishment, but I am pushing forward because I am determined to see where reading through Scripture in 1 year will take me. Here is my reading list for April:
April 1: Joshua 1-4
7: Judges 1-4
12: Ruth 1-4
13: 1 Samuel 1-4
21: 2 Samuel 1-4
27: 1 Kings 1-5