Friday, February 12, 2010

Launch Into Lent: Increase Your Bible Reading

If you've started a program of fixed hour prayer, you're already increasing your Scripture reading. But some days, I find the fragmentary nature of this kind of Bible reading a bit irritating. It's good to read larger chunks of the Bible, and most of us don't do that very much.

If we're lucky, we get several chunks of the Bible during our church services, but some of us don't even get that. I once visited a Lutheran church and never went back--there was no first lesson, no Psalm, no second lesson. We just went straight to the Gospel. It was strange.

Maybe it's a weekday, and you're wondering what to read. You could do worse than to just read the lessons for the past Sunday or the upcoming Sunday each day of the week. Let the words sink into you and see where they lead you. If you need the lessons for the week, plus special feast days, go here and then pick up your favorite Bible. If you need to read the lectionary online, go here; if you keep clicking through screens, you can get several translation options as well as study aids.

Or maybe you want to branch out. Choose a book you've never read before. Or maybe you want to simply read a Psalm a day. Or maybe you want to read your way through the Gospels. There's no wrong way to do it. And if you find yourself bored or irritated or wishing you'd chosen a different text--change!

How much should more daily reading should you do? My students are always asking for quantifying information, so I hear their voices: how many pages? How much time should I spend?

I'd take a page from the diet/exercise/lifestyle doctors. Start where you are, doing what you can do. Read 15 minutes a day. You don't have 15 minutes? Read for 5. Or simply read a Psalm or read one chapter. Read while you eat your cereal. Read just before bed. Make your children's bedtime stories come from the Bible. Get the Bible on tape/CD/mp3 download and listen on your way to work.

Go here if you don't want the burden of choosing--you can get a new verse each day (and check out the other tabs too--it looks interesting!). Or maybe you want to be ambitious and read through the Bible in a year--this site has help for that too.

Don't overthink this spiritual discipline. Just dive right in and read a bit more each day.


--Go here for the ELCA website page that gives you the lectionary readings for the week and special days.

--Go here to read the lectionary readings online.

--Go here for a random verse of the day, as well as other ways to surf the Bible.

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