Anyway you want! Read it while hanging upside down off the bed and eating cheese puffs. Go on line, find a voice that is pleasing to you, and have it read to you like a bed time story. Doesn’t really matter how you go about it, as long as you are taking it in, like regularly putting gas in your car or checking the oil.
My parents were atheists, the Bible was absolutely forbidden, so naturally I read it from cover to cover in as many versions as I could get my hands on. When I was 3 my grandmother taught me how to read and there was some concern over whether or not I should actually learn on account of the fact that there were things in the world that could influence me if I knew what they said. I had no idea what a Bible even was, but eavesdropping on that conversation convinced me I needed to throw myself into reading, learn diligently, and find a Bible as soon as possible.
The next thing absolutely forbidden was CS Lewis, so it should come as no surprise that I have read everything he wrote and that I am a resident of Narnia to this day, a daughter of Eve.
I believe I stole my first Bible and probably my 3rd one too, and read them mostly out of spite and rebellion, so those who think I was just magically born a grace filled, submissive prairie muffin, you make make me laugh!
‘Reading’ itself is not necessarily understanding or applying what you’ve read. As a kid I had some awareness of what I was reading, but honestly it was more a matter of forbidden fruit, of searching those pages out, trying to discover what had caused so much offense. It wasn’t until I discovered Narnia that I really began to fall in love with the words and the ideas being conveyed.
Some people say the Bible is God’s love letter to us. Some people call it instructions for life. I know farmers who think it’s an almanac. I call it a love story between God and His people. It is full of romance, adventure, history, allegory, song, and poetry. My favorite way to read the Bible these days is to close my eyes, feel the music, and let the Author read it to me. Even better, close your eyes and let the Bible read you.
I’ve probably spent decades now contending for my own faith. Over and over again I’ve gone, I don’t like this part Lord, show me what it means. And He does too, faithfully! Either I have had this unresolved, unhealed issue, or else my understanding was skewed. Either way, He has always helped me to sort it all out. Being in fellowship with others really helps too, they can impart their wisdom on you. Everybody sees things ever so slightly different. I am constantly discovering new things to this day.
About the only thing I can’t stand is when we read it publicly, stilted, solemn, haltingly. Oh my goodness, I am just bouncing up and down, the entire pew is just going to explode, and it takes all I have not to jump up and say, Hey, that word is alive and breathing, sharper then a two edged sword, and we are not supposed to be having a funeral here and sounding really bored and depressed!
Talking to you, my dour Presbyterians….
The Bible excites me, it is thrilling, a grand adventure, and sometimes a lonely one, too. You would be surprised by how many people in the faith don’t read it, don’t share your excitement, and actually have Bible trauma, as if reading it were a chore, like going to the dentist. I want time to let the Lord whisper His sweet nothings in my ear and others are just picturing a root canal.
One can read the Bible in big chunks and there are even chronological versions and numerous videos that tell the Bible story as a history, as a series of events and covenants. When I study something, I am more inclined to want to taste and touch it and feel it, especially the culture. I once got to spend some time with some Jewish friends feasting, dancing, singing, and they really helped to bring the Bible alive for me. Taste and see that God is good, that’s in the Bible.
Above I said ‘reading’ itself is not necessarily understanding or applying what you’ve read, but that’s okay, simply getting it into you is still a download of sorts. Jude is a rather small, obscure book in the Bible, one we don’t usually put on coffee cups and yet, oh boy when I really needed those words they just popped up, the whole chapter, and the Holy Spirit was speaking to me rapidly, pulling out things I had no idea I had written somewhere on the tablet of my heart. Life will come at you fast sometimes, be a prepper for your spirit and read the Bible. Never in a million years did I think the book of Jude would apply to my life and drop wisdom on my head right when I needed it, but it sure did.
Everyone is a little different, different personalities, and different seasons of life. God speaks to us all in different ways, in a voice and a language that only we will really understand. Some people are more analytical, some are more musically inclined, and just when you think you’ve got your style and language preferences figured out, the Lord will switch it up on you.
My favorite word in the Bible is the very first one, “IN.” That one little word doesn’t translate into English so well and it has profound implications. Don’t overlook those tiny words, they provide our context, our own orientation and placement in the story. Are you IN? Are you IN for an adventure?
Are you IN Christ Jesus and is He in you?