The more I study the Bible, the more I recognize when it comes to God’s Word, we should read slowly. Scripture is replete with admonitions to meditate on the words of God. Meditating and delighting on God’s instruction is a regular theme throughout the book of Psalms (Psalm 1:1-2, Psalm 19:7-14, Psalm 77:12, Psalm 119:15, Psalm 119:23, Psalm 119:27, Psalm 119:48, Psalm 119:78, Psalm 119:97, Psalm 119:99, Psalm 119:148, Psalm 143:5)
and many other places throughout scripture (Joshua 1:8, Jeremiah 15:16, Nehemiah 8:1-3, Matthew 7:24-25, James 1:22-25, Philippians 4:8, Colossians 3:16). The Bible is not a book meant to be read like other books. We don’t read God’s Word to get through it, but to let it marinade our souls. When we read too quickly, we often miss the details and subtle nuances. There is no part of scripture we can afford to miss or gloss over (2 Timothy 3:16).
Reading through the Bible in a year is a wonderful habit and one I recommend. However, this should not be the entirety of our Bible reading. People in our culture are eager to check the box of reading their Bible to make themselves feel good or as some sort of social proof they are a “good Christian”. Preachers often admonish us to read our Bibles as a way of drawing closer to God. Certainly, the knowledge you will gain by regularly reading it is undeniable. I would argue a better admonishment would be to read slowly through your Bible. You will never grasp all the Lord has for you by racing through a reading plan. So, yes, read the Bible through every year, but also set aside additional time to pick up your Bible and read slowly.
I can hear the howls already: “There’s not enough time to do a reading plan and a deep study of God’s Word every day!” Oh, really? What is more important in your life than drawing nearer to your Creator? If I know anything, I know you will make time to do what is most important to you. Every person has the same number of hours in a day. I understand we all have different responsibilities and circumstances, but each of us chooses how we will spend the next twenty-four hours. When you prioritize God above all else, you will find the time to be in His Word.
Making time to spend reading and studying your Bible, while not neglecting time to pray, is easy if you begin your days with God instead of trying to shoehorn Him in once your day begins. It might mean you have to wake up earlier than you like, which might mean you have to go to bed earlier than you like. It probably means you’re going to have to watch less television, spend less time on social media, and put your phone down for a while. If Jesus is indeed the Lord of your life, then these are trivial sacrifices to make. If Jesus is your Lord, there is nothing you will want to do more than be with Him.
Do you want your life to reflect Christ and nothing else? Commit to reading God’s Word, to read slowly and drink in all He has for you. This will have some amazing ripple effects in your life. Your priorities will change because you will need to reorient your schedule. You will feel calmer, more relaxed, and more centered because that’s the effect God’s Word has on every soul. Perhaps best of all, you will recognize this is what it means to live in His will. You will grow in your understanding and practice of being a disciple of Jesus. There is no downside to spending more time in God’s Word. When we read slowly, we will discover how magnificent, holy, and awesome our God is. We will worship and bow down before our Creator and King (Psalm 95:6-7).