Monday, January 01, 2007

happy new year

If someone stopped you right now and asked, “ON AVERAGE, how often do you read your Bible?” How frequent would you LIKE your average to be? What about your immediate family? Your churchmates? Your denomination? Your country?
I saw an old survey printed in the pages of Living By the Book by Hendricks & Hendricks. It gave some depressing statistics on Bible reading averages. Who is in the Book more frequently? Men or women? Baptists or Pentecostals? Etcetera, etcetera.
Maybe those stats don’t amount to much more than a barking contest, but at the time, I considered what my honest answer would have to be, and I knew that it did not fairly represent what I say I believe about the Bible.
I know one lady who reads through the Bible TWICE every year. As for me, I have gone cover-to-cover (in one year) only once. Shrugging off any past failures, I am committing to do a one-year Bible read-through in 2007. And I invite anyone else who is going to commit to do it to let me know, that we might encourage each other.
Also, aside from homework or lesson preparation, how frequently are you doing personal Bible reading? That’s rhetorical; don’t answer me. I just want you to see if you’re satisfied with your commitment to the Word.
In the final analysis, it is not going to impress God that I am in the Word every day, or whether I make a complete read-through in the calendar-year. What matters, is that God is speaking, so I will listen to Him!


Anonymous said...

Last year I committed to reading through the Bible. My year starts and ends in June, don't ask why. I had started in June and at the New Year I was lagging behind, so made the decision/resolution to finish by June. I had read through it once before. So now my plan is to read through a different version of the bible each year . I started with NIV, last year was The Way and this year is The Message. I am a couple of months behind to finish in June, but I will try my hardest to do so. It was crunch time last May/June, but I pulled it off and it felt great. That feeling is what is prompting me to continue this year. I have to admit I don't get to read it every day, so I play catch up often. So my advice to you - commit to the year and then do it. Set the date to finish in stone and persevere!

jazzycat said...

I am going to read it more instead of reading what someone else says it says so much.

L.L. Barkat said...

I try to be content with how often I read... remembering this is a Love Thing, not a Duty (though I could probably debate that a little)...

So, I read in three places at once (Torah, "Prophets, etc" and New Testament), trying to move ever forward...

Martin Stickland said...

Happy New year and thanks for the funny comment on my blog (the lady with the pink bow is in the post!)

All the best for 2007!

Kind Regards


Craver Vii said...

for now…, let me know how you feel about The Message. I do not own one, but the few times I used it to compare verses online, I ended up going with one of the other translations. I would especially want to know what you like best about it.

jazzycat, excellent idea. That’s why I stopped using study Bibles. Let me rephrase that. I mainly carry and use my basic thinline. I will only go to something with study notes after having done some study on my own first. I’ve been doing that ever since reading the book I mentioned earlier: Living By the Book.

LL, if you say you’re reading, I believe you. No debate from me.

martin, I laughed out loud at an inappropriate time. Then I had to explain about asking for the “lady’s” phone number. What a ruckus! The pictures are… well, they’re something!

L.L. Barkat said...

Oh, I guess I meant I could debate whether reading is just a Love Thing or a Duty. And I bet you could debate this quite well! :)

Craver Vii said...

LL, that's what I was thinking, but in the pursuit of brevity, I sacrificed perspicuity.

Whoa. Gotta wipe my monitor after saying that.

L.L. Barkat said...

Perspicuity... is that like sweating over acuity? If so, then, as a writer, I wanna be wiping my monitor. :)

Jonathan Moorhead said...

I have found that listening to the Word is a great way to solve this problem. I mix up reading and listening, but it helps break the monotony. See my post on Listening to the Word for statistics on how many times you can listen to the Bible in the year with a daily routine.

Craver Vii said...

jm, Thanks, Gracias, Efcharisto, Toda, Merci, Danke, Spasibo!

I especially like the point you made at that post about hearing being the primary method of receiving the Word for a long time. It makes you go, "hmmm..."

About three years ago, I picked up a Spanish New Testament on cassette so I could improve my Spanish while reviewing Scripture at the same time. I didn't keep it going, 'cause the long commute from work and the steady sound of the narrator's voice made me sleepy behind the wheel.

(Note to self: I wonder if Mrs. Craver would like an audio Bible.)

Llama Momma said...

An interesting thought: what comes first, duty or love? I'll say duty. At least that's been my experience.

And watch out. Reading the Bible changes everything!

Craver Vii said...

LM, I had a major theological overhaul after my first read through the Bible. I wonder what'll happen next.

Last night, I went around the house reminding the Craver family that the day was almost gone, and asked whether they had read any Scripture yet. I won't force it, but I will give frequent gentle reminders and lead by example.

And now, off I go! I'm late for Japanese lessons (Audio CD's in the car).

Anonymous said...

i am SO tempted to join the duty v. love debate that is kindling but i'll refrain.

may i suggest you join me in reading the chronological one year bible? i'm super psyched about reading the bible in this new way and putting all the letters and prophecies into their proper historical context. only $13 at amazon. (i think i link it in my new year's entry)

o.k. i can't resist...i believe that scripture amply shows that marriage is created to be a metaphor to christ's relationship to the church. so working off that analogy, i will probably have times that my faithfulness to my husband (not just physical but emotional) will come out of duty. but what he prefers, i'm sure, is that it will primarily come from love. i think there is a necessity to do things sometimes out of duty but i do so with hope that it will lead to faithfulness b/c i love him, spending time with him b/c i love him, and partaking in other household tasks and expressions b/c i love him. i think sometimes the american evangelical church gets so hung up on duty and "oughts" that we forget that the goal has always been love and worship of the living god.

"and these three remain, faith, hope and love. but the greatest of these is love."

Craver Vii said...

It was my simple intention (yes, I am a simple man) to be an encouragement and stir things up as it relates to a healthy or generous intake of God’s Word in 2007, but it looks like there may be enough interest in the duty vs. love concept to keep it in mind for a future post. Right now, I’ll save my thoughts on that subject—pro or con, but I’ll say this: clc, your comment expanded the principle into marriage and the relationship between God and the church, and it’s got me thinking even more about it. That’s all I’ll say for now… I’m thinking about it. :-)

Jennifer said...

Craver - yes please! To get the ball rolling down the hill with a duty vs. love post would be FANTASTIC! (You know I'D be up for it...something about going to John Piper's church probably helps my enthusiasm. Ha!)

But regarding the reading through the Bible, last year I started doing something a little different. I started my reading in Isaiah. Then Mark, then Ruth. I didn't go book to book from Genesis (not that chronologically isn't beneficial in other ways), but I went to the next book by what I desired to read (usually trying to balanced OT and NT).

The biggest thing that set this way apart was my "purpose." I had an objective through my reading that kept me raptly attentive. Armed with my blue highlighter I was in search of all the names of God, His attributes, word pictures of Him, or parallels to His character.

This year, equipped with a pink highlighter and a new "pew Bible," I'll be going through again...this time in search of promises. Promises to the church, promises to Israel, promises fulfilled, and promises yet to come to fruition. Yay!!

Ya know, B-Bap has a read-through-the-Bible plan each year. I may do that with them this time (while still having my own agenda). They have it where you read a little bit in four different places each day (with a few "grace" days built in) - you are always in a gospel that way and the "monotony" of lineages are broken into smaller, more manageable chunks.
...Something to look in to, hey?

Llama Momma said...

CLC is right on with her marriage analogy. And, as one who has read the Bible off and on for years out of duty, the tide is now shifting the other direction...and it's a completely different experience. Same words, but LOVE changes everything. And instead of dragging myself out of bed early to read my Bible, I wake up even earlier and can't wait to get downstairs. I attribute this eagerness partly to the fact that this is the only time of the day I am completely alone, partly to my love of coffee, and partly to the "shifting tide" mentioned above!

Craver Vii said...

Hi charity! Thanks for popping in. Pull up a bean bag, make yourself comfortable and pass the chips, please.

I found myself nodding in assent at your comment. I have found that memorization is NOT impossible, but to date, each time I made it part of the big goals for the new year, I fumbled the ball.

So I'll continue to memorize a few verses here and there, but I'm tricking myself out of intimidation by not making a hard and fast quantified goal. It's amazing what we are able to memorize if we can push past these phantom obstacles created by culture, imagination, or downright sinfulness.

I just get tickled though, when Scripture memorized long ago "happens" to come right back. God is good!