When I was a kid I hated reading. My sister on the other hand loved it. I would read what I had to for school and that was it. When I reached high school I read through the Bible a few times for our youth group program and I did enjoy it. But outside of that I hated reading. I wanted to be outside rollerblading, or skateboarding, or shooting my pellet gun. I did not want to read. Reading required me to slow down and be quiet. Sometimes I literally cried when I had to read.
Now I love to read and I love reading the Bible. Though my youth pastor played a large role in my current love for reading, there were a number of factors that led to my love of reading. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many Christians. Not only is there a decline in reading in the general population there is a decline in reading of the Bible by Christians. Not only is the culture post-Christian, it seems that the Evangelical Christian church is becoming post-Christian merely because less and less Christians are reading their Bible and therefore don’t know it.
So how can Christians begin to read the Bible and develop an enjoyment of it? This is the question Keith Ferrin addresses in his new book How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible (Bethany House, 2015). There are many factors that contribute to a lack of enthusiasm for reading the Bible. Ferrin aims to help his readers avoid these obstacles and learn to love reading their Bibles.
The book is divided into ten steps to help people foster enjoyment while reading the Bible. Ferrin is not content for Christians to just read the Bible out of habit and duty. No, he wants Christians to enjoy reading the Bible. If Christians can move from reading out of duty to reading out of enjoyment then their Bible reading will be much more effective and, well, enjoyable!
Like with any other relationship, our relationship with God is built on time spent with Him, and we do so through prayer and Bible reading/study. When we read merely out of a sense of duty we can tend to read just to avoid guilt and for the purpose of knowing more about the Bible. But Ferrin wants to remind us that reading the Bible is not just for knowing more of what is said but knowing who is saying it. We read the Bible to know God better through Jesus. Knowing our Bibles better is always important but if we fail to know God better in the process then we have missed the point in our reading.
Throughout the ten steps for reading the Bible to enjoy it Ferrin gives a lot of practical guidance that can be used immediately. One thing that really sticks out is the priority he puts on reading the Bible in context. That is, while many devotionals tend to focus on reading a few verses, or even just one at a time, Ferrin wants to help you develop an enjoyment for reading by reading in big chunks. For instance, the Epistles of the New Testament were written as letters to be read aloud at one time. Why do we break them up in bits and pieces? “We try to figure out what Philippians 4:13 means without being able to say what the book of Philippians is about” (p. 67). He wants us to enjoy the whole Bible and not just a few of our favorite verses.
How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible is an excellent book with some of the best advice I’ve seen on how to develop a lifestyle of consistent, enjoyable Bible reading. This is a good book for new Christians who are not used to reading or for those who may be going through a season in their Christian walk where they find reading their Bibles to be more of a chore than a delight.
Be sure to also check out Keith’s earlier book Falling in Love With God’s Word and his very helpful web site www.keithferrin.com for more information and helps on reading the Bible.
About the author
Keith Ferrin is an author, speaker, storyteller, and blogger who strives to help people realize that the living Word of God is a reality—not just a phrase. His one-man, dramatic, word-for-word presentations of whole books of the Bible have been seen by thousands. Keith lives with his wife and three children just outside of Seattle, Washington.
Craig Hurst received his BA in Church Ministries from Clearwater Christian College and his MA in theology at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, PA. He currently lives outside of Grand Rapids, MI and attends Grace Community Church, where he serves as a volunteer youth worker (along with his wife), and teaches some elective classes. He blogs at Theology for the Road.