Besides the time commitment, another big reservation you may have is, okay, suppose I read 10 chapters a day in 30 minutes, I won’t understand anything I read. This is a legitimate concern. If you are like me, you’re used to reading 10 verses a day instead of 10 chapters a day. And your goal is, I want to dissect every sentence, every phrase, every word so that every single verse makes sense. There is a place for this kind of approach. It’s called Bible STUDY. If you have to teach the Bible, then you have to study your Bible so that you can offer a coherent interpretation of the text to others. As a preacher, I can’t just wing it when I come up here. I have to put in time and effort. I have to study the Word.
What if your approach with God is like a student taking a class? I want to study God as if he is like a chemistry textbook. That’s insulting. Because you are dealing with a Person. The greatest commandment is not to STUDY your God or study ABOUT your God will all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The greatest commandment is to LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
When you love a person, like your spouse, I don’t dissect everything that Jackie says. Last night, Jackie was melting cheese over some nachos in the microwave. And as she bit into the first chip, she said, I love nachos covered with melted cheese. What if I analyzed this statement? I wonder why she said, I love nachos covered with melted cheese? Love is a strong word. Did she really mean love, like she loves nachos and cheese the same way she loves our kids? That would be sad. Maybe in her mind, there is a love for food that is different from a love for family. Does she like corn nachos or the nachos shaped in a cup? I’m confused because she didn’t describe the kind of nachos she likes. There are so many different kinds at the store. I don’t know which one to buy? She said, cheese. Is it every cheese or just some cheese? Would nachos and brie cheese taste good. Or gruyere or swiss. Or blue cheese, that has a strong odor and Jackie is sensitive to smell so she can’t possibly mean she loves blue cheese.
If I did this to everything Jackie said, you’d be like, what’s wrong with this guy. It sounds strange but is this so different from the way we have been approaching God. I think sometimes we approach God in this way. We dissect everything He said to death and we turn our relationship with a living Being into some exegetical, theological exercise to understand principles and concepts, and in the process, we miss out on the fact that we are to love a Person. You know what I am saying.
Why should we read a chunk like 10 chapters instead of 10 verses? When you are reading a novel, do you read just a page at a time. So if the novel is 1500 pages and you read a page a day, it’s going to take you 4 years to complete. If that were your approach to reading a novel, do you think you would ever finish? No way. You’d lose interest along the way. Suppose you finished. What would be your comprehension level. You might remember tidbits of information but I believe you’d be hard pressed to remember the big themes in the novel. We don’t read novels a page at a time. You take a novel and if you love the material, you curl up in your bed and within a week, you’ve devoured all 1500 pages and it wasn’t a burden at all.
If this is how we read a good novel, then how comes when it comes to the story about God, we read 10 verses at a time, less than a quarter of a page? Think about it. And because we are reading so little daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, isn’t it any wonder that we lose interest and most rarely finish reading the Bible cover to cover over the course of their entire lives?
Why else should we read a big chunk instead of small sections? If Scripture is food, then reading 10 verses of Scripture is equivalent to snacking on some peanuts. Don’t snack on the Word. Feast on the Word. Treat the Bible like it’s a four course meal with appetizers, salad, lobster, prime rib, dessert, drinks. Feast on the Word of God. This means, when you are reading 10 chapters, don’t worry if you don’t understand everything. Don’t try to analyze the steak and try to pick out what herbs the chef used. Just enjoy the meal!
The goal is not to snack on or dissect Scripture so that you can learn about God. The goal is to feast on Scripture and to walk away with a relationship of Someone who loves you and cares about you enough to send His one and only Son to die on a cross for your sins. If questions come up in your reading, jot down your questions and spend one day out of the week doing a more in-depth study to get answers to your difficult questions. 6 days of feasting and 1 day of study – I think that’s a healthier breakdown.
I just started myself in the new year reading through Genesis and I can already testify that I am seeing things in Scripture that I never saw before. I’ll give you one example. Abraham is the father of faith. He is known for his faith. But did you know that he started out as quite a coward. His wife Sarah was beautiful and when they travel to Egypt to escape the drought and they tell Sarah to lie to Pharaoh because she was beautiful, and he was afraid he would be killed. And amazingly, Sarah agrees to lie. It was out of fear, fear of man that both lied. If this is not bad enough, Abraham does it a second time in land of the Philistines when he lies to Abimelech. And Sarah goes along with the deception again.
I knew this story. But what I failed to see before is the link with Isaac, Abraham’s son. He did the same exact thing. His wife Rebekah was also a beautiful woman. So when Isaac and Rebekah travel to Gerar, which is also among the Philistines. Isaac fell into the same sin in the same general area as his father. When I read the account of Isaac cowardice, it sounded so similar that I thought I had started in the wrong chapter and I was re-reading the part I had already read. But then it hit me. There is a sin that is being passed down from one generation to the next. You can call it a generational curse. And this sin continues to the next generation. Abraham and Sarah sin. Isaac and Rebekah sin in the same way. They do the same thing 40 years apart.
Abraham and Isaac taught their wives to lie. Then, if you read on in the account, Rebecca lies later to Isaac when it comes to the blessing between Esau and Jacob.
In the fourth generation, you have Jacob’s sons lying to their father about Joseph being killed by an animal when in fact they had sold them into slavery. There was a generational sin operating across 4 generations, the sin of fear and lying.
This is an example of feasting on the Word and God revealed something to me about the similarity between Abraham and his son Isaac. So I jotted down this observation and did a little bit of study to trace this sin through 4 generation.
I felt like this was God’s encouragement to keep going, that I was on the right track. I believe that there will be a long-term benefit if you and I follow this approach to Scripture. Just compare someone who reads 10 verses a day versus a person who reads 10 chapters a day. In a 10 year span, the first person might get through the Bible maybe 2 or two and a half times if they are extremely diligent. Versus, in that same 10 year span, the person who read 10 chapters a day read through the Bible 30 times. 2 or two and a half times through versus 30 times. Who do you think would have a closer walk with the Lord after 10 years? I think the answer is obvious.