Reading your bible is the ABCs of a basic Christian life. Bible and scripture are essentially like breathing for a Christian, without it we will weaken and suffer a spiritual suffocation. So as good Christians we all strive to read our bibles every day, but just how are we to read our Bibles?
For simplicity’s sake, let us examine three most common ways of reading the bible, and see the pros and cons of each method.
Fast-reading is just simply reading through the pages at a reasonably normal or quick pace. Using this method, you can choose to either read through the whole bible cover to cover, or you can just read through specific portions or a specific book (e.g. New Testament, Old Testament, Pentateuch, Matthew).
Pros – Can quickly get a brief overview of the story of the bible, and acquire basic general information. For example, if somebody was to ask you who Gideon is, though you may not be able to answer every detail about the story of Gideon, you might recollect that he was a judge of Israel. Fast-reading will expose you to the general stories of the bible much quicker than any other method.
Cons – You will not retain much details.
Perusing is a type of reading that is done typically in a thorough or a careful way. You would be reading at a much slower pace, carefully examining, analysing and thinking over what you are actually reading. The whole point of perusing a text would be to actually understand what the text is saying.
Pros – You are actually comprehending much of what you are reading. You will get a good understanding of biblical knowledge and stories.
Cons – It will take you much longer to finish through the whole bible.
You would typically select a very small portion of scripture, anywhere from one verse to a whole chapter, and slowly go through the text in a prayerful and reflective manner, trying to find the deeper meaning and implications of the text.
Pros – Since done more in a prayerful manner, it will feel like a quality fellowship time with God. It will give you room to actually reflect upon the implications of the word in reflection of your life.
Cons – It may take you forever to meditate your way through the whole bible.
It is always best to mix up the three in a balanced way.
You may not have the luxury of time to implement all three methods into your daily bible reading routine, but you can at least swap to a different method every now and then. For example, you could go through the Pentateuch by fast-reading, peruse through James, meditate through Proverbs, and then perhaps go back to fast-reading the gospels.
For me personally, I meditate and peruse in the morning, and before I go to bed, I just fast read through the bible front to back.
Find out whatever works for you best. Don’t just stick to one method.
Richard Kwon is from Auckland, a regular lay person who just loves the Lord.