Bible Reading

Bit-by-bit Bible Reading Plan

Monsieur Mangetout

Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Two weeks into 2019 and I’m guessing some of us are already behind in our yearly Bible reading plan. If you’re like me, getting one or two days behind in January can be discouraging enough to want to call the whole thing off.

That’s what happened to me last year. I had an ambitious 10-chapter-per-day plan to get me through the whole Bible twice, and the New Testament three times. But this plan also meant that missing a day or two made catching up a major undertaking.

After falling behind and catching up, and repeating that cycle a few times, I shelved my plan… but not my Bible. Instead of insisting that I complete all ten chapters every day, if I could only do two or three, then I did only two or three. And if I skipped a day or two, I just picked up where I left off. The result: I got through the whole Bible…once.

That feat was not as satisfying as the former plan would have been. But it had the advantage of being realistic and realized.

The principle I learned is that the task was more enjoyable and effective when tackled by simply chipping away bit-by-bit, without the crippling guilt and self-loathing of falling short of a particular, overly ambitious plan.

The mascot for this approach to achieving goals is Frenchman, Michel Lotito (1950-2007). You may know him by his delightful sobriquet, Monsieur Mangetout (pronounced mun-jê-toot), meaning “Mr Eats it All.”

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You're Doing It Wrong: Reading Entire Books of the Bible

Reposted from DBTS blog.

Have you ever read one of the Gospels in one sitting? I believe many Christians have not. Have you ever read Romans in one sitting? How would such a reading change your perspective on the book?

I require my students to read the Bible in large portions. For instance, in the Gospels class, I require students to read an entire Gospel in one sitting. While most choose Mark (it’s the shortest!), I usually encourage them to read John or Matthew.

Why would I require such an onerous task? Well, actually, students generally do not find it onerous. In fact, I have had students indicate their appreciation for the assignment (by the way, that’s pretty rare!). Let me mention a few reasons people should read large portions of Scripture.

First, it is the way the books of the Bible were originally written to be read. Imagine being in Rome when the book of Romans was first delivered. Now imagine the reader only reading for three minutes (corresponding to the end of chapter one) and saying, “Well, that is enough for today, we will read some more tomorrow.” The crowd would be outraged and would demand the man continue reading. In the same way, sometimes we need to be reminded that this is a wholistic book, which is only artificially separated.

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