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Seven-Day Practical Faith Blog: Savoring the Bible

I can't speedread the Bible. And this is why I fail when attempting any read-the-Bible-in-a-year-plan.

I'm trying again in 2024, although I have never successfully read the entire Bible in a single year. My wife Sara uses a different plan each year and manages to read the entire Bible. It's impressive. So, this year I'm using the same reading plan as she is, so we can study the Bible together, and I have an accountability partner. But five days in, I'm already far behind.

What do the organizers expect? We started in Matthew, my favorite Gospel for teaching. Day 2 includes the entire Sermon on the Mount plus some. Don't they realize I cannot read such a glorious text afresh in the time allocated? I want to savor it! Yes, I can literally read the words faster; in fact, I am a speedreader and could read all of the daily content in no time. But already, in the first few chapters of Matthew, I'm uncovering new gold in Scripture I've read many times. I only made it about halfway through the first chapter of the Sermon on the Mount on the day I was supposed to read four chapters. No way I'm going to get this done without simply skimming the words or adding much more time each day.

As part of our seven-day practical faith, we need to read the Bible regularly. I encourage whatever method you find works for you. I'm realizing that a faster study of the Bible doesn't work for me. I need a slow study. Maybe I should take two or three years to read and savor every verse. Perhaps I should speed read at a pace to keep up with my wife, and double back to absorb parts I want to contemplate and research further.

Please understand that I'm not saying you must read the entire Bible in a year. That's a worthy goal, but it's not the only possible goal. For example, you might take a month to slowly read and re-read and read once more the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-6-7). That would be a rewarding venture as you come to understand more fully what I call "The Constitution of Jesus."

Or you could focus on a single book of the Bible. I had considered studies of Isaiah and Hebrews before going with the annual plan. You could read on your own or find a published study to guide you.

Sara and I keep realizing how little Christians read and know the Bible. We Christians allow others to tell us what's in the Bible without checking it ourselves. We don't have the perspective of the whole Bible, so we allow a single verse to dictate so much when it's perhaps taken out of context. We don't understand how the various parts of the Bible relate to each other. We don't know enough to debate the Bible with someone else; if they sound like they know what they're talking about, we accept that they must be right. (I can tell you from experience that this isn't necessarily true. So-called experts can form opinions that other experts do not endorse).

Ultimately we should read the Bible not for debate purposes (though that is a possible side effect), but to understand who God is, who Jesus is, the meaning of salvation, how to live life, how to treat others, and what it means when we go to work or encounter crises or deal with a difficult person. I'm proposing a lifelong, not a yearlong, engagement.

I recommend reading the Bible now in such a way that you enrich your practical faith journey, seven days a week.

If you're looking for a focused Bible study on an aspect of Jesus, I recommend my forthcoming book, "From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone." It is a study of a dozen times in the Bible when Jesus challenged people to go deeper in faith and take risks for his kingdom, and what those stories mean to us today. You can find the book for pre-sale at

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