Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Faith Helps: Reading Lots of Scripture

Time for a new series. This one is on ways we Christians can help our faith. As subjects of God who were born again by the Spirit's regenerating work, we understand that we are not fundamentally responsible for our faith. And yet we simultaneously affirm that we do not wake up with a morning to-do list from God that we automatically perform. God has ordained all things and yet He uses our agency, our will, to accomplish His purposes. In our faith, then, we are not to sit back and expect God to grow us. We are to actively pursue growth. This series deals with how we can do just that.

The first thing I have found to be of help in my own walk with Christ is that of "chunk-reading." That is, reading large chunks of Scripture. It may seem strange at first glance. Aren't our devotions supposed to be intensive studies of short passages? Doesn't this help us meditate and learn? Well, yes, it does, and I'll deal with this method on another day. But I have found "chunk-reading" to be of great help to me in my faith. At different times, I commit to reading about five full chapters in my morning devotions. When I do so, I read quickly, trying to get a sense of the plot and message as I go. I don't stop and think hard about verses, because I am trying to get a feel for the larger story of the passage. When I do this for a long time, I find that I have an understanding not simply of a few verses, but of whole chapters, groups of chapters, and books. This type of macro-knowledge is of huge help in understanding the message of Scripture. Suddenly one has a sense of the flow of Scripture, the "buildup" that transpires from Genesis to Revelation, and not only a mental storehouse of their ten favorite verses and Ephesians 1:1-14. Over time, one supplements the chunks with study of smaller passages. This creates a well-rounded grasp of Scripture that is invaluable. I might say that it is also fun. It is enjoyable to read alot of Scripture, and begin to understand it as a whole. Wasn't it fun to read a novel and not simply study a chapter? Or to learn the whole times table and not simply the 1's? We can do the same with our Bible knowledge, and create a rich storehouse for ourselves. There- an item for your to-do list.


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