While writing these posts about how to better understand the bible, I have been simultaneously trying to sort out my own devotional bible reading plan. I am realizing that finding a place to start and a path to take along the way may well be the largest hurdle Christians face when trying to understand the bible.
“Just start at the beginning.”
Certainly, there is an argument to be made for simply starting at Genesis and powering through bit by bit, like you would any other book. However, as has been mentioned, the bible is not just any other book. It is a collection of books and some books that come later in the canon actually find their context within the narrative of other books. Not only that, but given the importance of reading the bible through the lens of Jesus, many Christians struggle with spending 2/3 of the year apart from the New Testament.
I have not solved this riddle. I still struggle to figure out how to regularly and deeply read the scriptures in a way that brings the text alive most fully.
So, where do you begin? What path do you take?
A Church Equipping
I do wonder how the church can help people with their personal study of the bible. My guess is that many people struggle with the beginning and ongoing study of scripture in their daily life, in part at least, because they lack guidance from their community. I firmly believe that scripture is meant to be read primarily in and by the community of faith, and yet for my own part I have exhorted students to read their bible without any clear direction as to where to go or what to study.
So I wonder, could the church give a better road map in her own teaching and resourcing that enable congregations to skip the step of looking for a direction to take for personal study? What if our Sunday morning teaching, or our small group ministry, was focused on equipping people with study material for the remaining days of the week?
How could your congregation better equip you for your personal bible study? What resources would you value most?