Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Thank God for Jesus...

On Monday 16th May I started the Bible in 90 days reading plan. This means I should be well over a third into the Bible. Except I'm not. I didn't even make it out of Genesis.Fortunately, I have a God of grace, and God doesn't do Heaven Entrance Exams. No matter how many times my good intentions lead to nothing, I still have Jesus.

So why did it fail so abysmally? I think a few reasons contributed to it:
  • Lack of accountability: There was no incentive to do it when I didn't feel like it. I've only been asked about it on the blog once, and managed to evade answering the questions until now.
  • A dry, intellectual approach: My goal was really to just get the Bible out of the way so I can say I've done it. It wasn't in pursuit of God or anything like that. Currently I'm reading Wuthering Heights, not because I'm enjoying it, but just so I can tick that one off my list. This approach is fine with novels, but not with the Bible.
  • Lack of variety: I've read Genesis a few times now, and I'm aware that there are areas of the Bible I'm less familiar with so it made it quite frustrating.
But don't despair over me and my heathen ways just yet. Not only because that would be seriously judgemental, but also because I've taken a new approach, which has (so far) been more successful. I've started using the WordLive material that quite a few people in my church use. Have a read of this blog to see some of the responses of a friend from my church and her experiences of the material.

I've tried to do it before, individually, but again the lack of accountability was still an issue. So now I'm doing it with someone. I meet regularly with a good friend, Duncan, to keep accountable with one another, and we were both lamenting on how rubbish we were at regularly reading the Bible. I think accountability partnerships become useless if you don't try and do something about the problems you've discussed. So we decided that we would follow the WordLive plan and text each other after we'd read it to give each other our responses.

This seems to have solved the problems listed above:
  • Accountability: Well, I've already discussed this one. Knowing that someone is waiting for a text from you is a good incentive. Also, if I forget, the text I receive from Duncan will give me a nudge.
  • God seeking approach: WordLive has both a prepare and respond section in its reading, ensuring that it isn't a dry, intellectual approach. I also have to consider how it personally applicable to me because Duncan is waiting to find out.
  • Variety: WordLive gives a lot of variety. We've covered passages from Acts, Galatians, Psalms and Numbers in the few weeks we've been doing it. They also have pictures, music, explanations of the cultural and social contexts and a summary of the main points of the passage. This prevents it getting dry and boring.
I may write a few posts on my responses to passages, but will tweeting them more regularly. If you don't already follow me on twitter, then this is a good time to start.

Quick Questions
  1. Do you have an accountability partner? How has this helped you?
  2. In what ways do you engage with the Bible? Do you listen to it being read, do you follow a plan, do you do more creative things?


  1. Totally agree about the 'God seeking approach'. I've only started reading the bible regularly since I actually enjoyed it and did it because I wanted to. Feeling guilty just put me off.

    I found listening to sermons online really helpful too. It made me get stuck into the bible even when I was doing other things at work.

  2. I'm shocking at reading my bible. However, my friend and I are going to start reading the bible together when she comes home from working in Manchester. We both admitted it's really hard doing it on our own but it would help loads to read it together.

    Also, I've started reading Purpose Driven Life which is great. Though reading it regularly is a bit of an issue again.

    Like Rachel says, I think guilt is a massive switch off for people and I don't think God sits on a little cloud going "tut, tut bad person" if we don't read our bible for three hours a day. Instead, I want to read my bible because I want to get close to Jesus and feed my mind on his Word. I think the key to discipline in bible reading is a desire for God, a desire to love Him more and be loved. I think that is a bigger influence than guilt can ever be. Like you say, God is so gracious and His love is everlasting. Thank God for that!


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