Do you read your Bible regularly? Or is it something which you would like to do, or have tried to do before without succeeding?
The Bible isn’t just a book, it’s a library of sixty-six books which were written over many centuries and contain stories, history, prophecy, letters, gospels – and much more. It is important for us because it is “the Word of the Lord”, one of the places where we come face to face with God. It is our Holy Book, one of the foundations of Christian faith; a source of inspiration and guidance, reassurance and support, a starting point for our prayers.
However the Bible is also called “the unread best seller”. Most homes have a copy but many people don’t find it an easy read and perhaps only come into contact with the text when they hear a bit of it read during a service in church. How different from, say, the Muslim community where small children walk each Friday to the mosque to learn to read the Koran and where some adults have a special holiness because they know the whole book by heart.
So do you read your Bible regularly? Or is it something which you would like to do, or have tried to do before without succeeding? If so what is it that keeps you from reading the Bible? Here are the four main answers:
“I get discouraged.” The Bible is a big book. Those who do set out to read it usually start at the beginning, with Genesis, but find that by the time they get to Numbers or Deuteronomy they are running out of steam. Others start without a plan and dip into passages which are familiar. Once these run out they are unsure about where to go next.
“I can’t understand it.” Many people have very little background knowledge of the Bible and wonder what is the point of reading about things that don’t seem to make sense in the world of today. The Bible was written over 2000 years ago so there are hard-to-read names and outdated customs, and world views which seem irrelevant to the 21st century. Most of us need some help to make the connections with our own lives. Also it is easier to read in a modern-language translation (see more below).
“I can’t find it.” Our readings in church are usually related to a common theme (yes, honestly!) rather than a continuous reading and even the supposedly continuous gospel readings can jump around from week to week. Most of us know some bits of the Bible – but even then we can’t always find them when we want to.
“I don’t have the time.” This is usually the result of one, or more, of the other three. If something is important or enjoyable we will make the time for it, so if we are missing something as important as a regular meeting with God then we need to find the reason and try to do something about it.
In this section of the website you will be able to access a “Reading Plan”. It won’t be too difficult, just fourteen chapters at a time, just ten minutes a day. You can read at your own speed, as quickly or as slowly as you choose. The first section is about the Life and Teaching of Jesus and it will take you gently between the four gospels. Other sections introduce the Old Testament, Prayer, King David and St.Paul.
So why not give it a try? The King James or Authorised Version of the Bible (KJV or AV) has language which is sometimes very poetic but it is not always easy to read or understand so you might like to try a translation such as the Revised Standard Version (RSV) or its New cousin (NRSV), or the New English Bible (NEB), or perhaps The Message which is a recent paraphrase. Do ask for advice if you need to.
The Life and Teaching of Jesus
Day 1 Luke 1: Preparing for Jesus’ arrival
Day 2 Luke 2: The story of Jesus’ birth
Day 3 Mark 1: The beginning of Jesus’ ministry
Day 4 Mark 9: A day in the life of Jesus
Day 5 Matthew 5: The Sermon on the Mount
Day 6 Matthew 6: The Sermon on the Mount
Day 7 Luke 15: Parables of Jesus
Day 8 John 3: A conversation with Jesus
Day 9 John 14: Jesus final instructions
Day 10 John 17: Jesus prayer for his disciples
Day 11 Matthew 26: Betrayal and arrest
Day 12 Matthew 27: Jesus’ execution on the cross
Day 13 John 20: Resurrection
Day 14 Luke 24: Jesus’ appearance after resurrection
Why not print off the Plan above and keep it in your Bible. Then as you read you can tick each chapter so you can see your progress.
And finally, here is a prayer to help you on your way;
Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning.
Grant us so to hear them, to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them
that we may embrace and for ever hold fast the hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.