I've never done a formal "bible reading plan" as you see commonly discussed every January. I just read through a book of the Bible and see where it takes me. But I thought perhaps it might be a good idea this time to formalize my study instead of it being loose and organic as it has been.
I chose to do the Robert Murray M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, and use the audio option. I don't listen to audio books, I don't like them. But for some reason I decided to try listening to the Bible (Max McLean reading) and my hunch was right- it brings another aspect to the text. For the texts meant to be heard, such as Peter's great sermon, or Paul's sermons, or the legal arguments in Romans, hearing them spoken brings a layer of understanding I'd missed previously. What a joy to hear these sermons and passages read aloud, it ignites a different area of my mind. And no doubt, hearing the names and places in Genesis and Nehemiah spoken correctly is a joy (and a relief).
However the downside is, I don't feel as though my depth of connection to the text is really there as it has been. I do read along, my eyes going over the text as McLean speaks it, but it's not the same as when I read it myself. I feel that listening is actually more shallow than the way I used to do it. I gave it a month, and I'll give it more time to decide if this is working for me. It's maybe that I just don't like change.
I'm not impervious to trends and tradition and peer pressure. I see all the hoopla on social media in late December and early January about "which Bible reading plan are you using" and all the posts about the choices and all the Facebook talk about how good these plans are. I think to myself, 'Should I do one of these? Am I "doing it wrong"? Is there a more rigorous way to go about it? Can I be honoring Jesus further by studying better?'
In the end, I think it's good to try different ways to read the Bible, such as this plan or that one, or audio v. reading, Kindle vs book, personal reading v. an organized plan. I think it's good to ask one's self occasionally if I could be doing better. Slacking is always a problem. The flesh battles with the soul and rebels against the things of Christ, (1 Peter 2:11) so an occasional shake-up won't harm anything if it's to ensure that I am still focused on Christ and involved in His word to His glory.
|slacker cat. EPrata photo|
The problem would arise if I sensed that my depth of study was shallower in using a certain Reading Plan and settled for shallow. We always strive to go deeper, know more of Christ, pray for wisdom and insight, pray for the Spirit's leading on how to use the knowledge gained. Never settle. Strive, press on-
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12)