Daily devotions. Quiet time. Spending time in God's Word.
Something we're supposed to do, right?
I read a chapter out loud every morning to Brittany--who is still mostly asleep. If the chapter is long, I stop halfway through. If I miss a morning, I don't sweat it. I tend to start in Genesis and go straight through to Revelation. Then, start again. It's a simple reading program and I'm surprised how quickly we get through the Bible this way.
Sure, it's no "read the Bible in a year because then you're really holy" plan, but I've been consistent. And it's been good.
A few years ago, however, I shrugged off the uneasy feeling that I wasn't getting much out of this spiritual discipline. 'I want to know more about the Bible,' I complained to myself. 'I wonder what tools I should be using?'
I spent about four days regularly reading a few columns in my Bible Background Commentary. It was interesting, but it wasn't quite working. Reading the dictionary is interesting too, but it's so disjointed that the stuff just falls out of my head.
So I stopped before all my brains fell out. <smile>
Then yesterday, over lunch, I got talking with my dad about Scripture. He mentioned that there are--at least--two ways to read the Bible: Devotionally and critically. Growing up in church, I was told it was important to read the Bible devotionally. Read and meditate. Let it permeate my soul and change me. Cool. Mystical. Good. But... lacking something.
That "something" is criticism, scholarship, study. I loved my Bible classes in college which tore open well-known passages to show even more depth and information and ideas. Concepts I didn't even know were in question opened into an incredibly wide world of fascinating truths and uncertainties. The Bible was alive again! And looking closer, it really was incredibly sharp.
And then I went back to reading a chapter a day, like a good boy, and that fire dissipated. Devotionals are good, and I'll keep with my reading plan, but I want more.
So here's my question:
Where can I find daily study tools? Do you know of a "365 day introduction to Biblical literary criticism" resource? Something that keeps it short, to the point, because if it's too much work I'm likely to stop doing it. I'm just sayin'.
A blog, perhaps?
Because, while I firmly believe in the importance of "being in the Word"--Sonlight schedules Bible reading every day in our programs--I'm at a place in life where I'd like to get back to where I was in Bible classes: Learning more about the depth of Scripture.
What tools do you use for Bible study?
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester