just reading can be hard.

After we decide to make some time, there is a second reason it’s hard to find time to read the Bible. We simply don’t know where to start in this great big book.

IMG_2529In the old days, when books were only on paper, the Bible always had the thinnest paper and the smallest print. It felt like a scheme to make us think it was smaller than it is. But then we would read a little bit, like a verse of the day or a story of Jesus. And we would look at the little bit we read and then at the  whole big book and feel overwhelmed.

Can I tell you a secret about reading? Unless a book is a textbook, you don’t have to read it all at once. In fact, if a book is like a collection of stories, or an anthology, we don’t even have to read it from front to back. We can start reading our favorite author. Or our favorite style of writing.

I do believe that the Bible is the collected works of God, which means some intention to the books that are included. But I find as much liberty to read in a variety of different orders as I do to read from front to back.

Now I have a confession.

Having said that we can read with many approaches, I recently realized that I may not be helpful when I create a set of videos describing 25 different ways to start reading. Because I know from research on choice, that the more choices you offer the more likely people are to choose nothing. And giving you make options could be less helpful than saying, “Let’s talk together for a week and I’ll help you get started.”  Because I’m concerned that the “just” in “just read it” can do an injustice to novices.

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For an example of the many ways to read, see “The Bible for my friends episode 5: Reading and Feasting

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

2 thoughts on “just reading can be hard.

  1. I have read in order, and not in order. Easier to change up a bit. Do not read Deuteronomy right after Leviticus and Numbers! (my personal advice)

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