Just read it.

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I encourage you to read the New Testament in 2010.  You can do it less than 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week.  Seriously.

Have you ever read the whole New Testament?  If you are a Christian then you should have, in addition to reading the Old Testament.  It isn’t what saves you, of course, but it seems to be a pretty logical step for someone claiming to be a follower of Christ.  And wouldn’t it be a little embarrassing for a seeker to find out that you hadn’t read it? 

But let’s focus on the positive: This is the word of God — the God who created the universe and everything in it and who saved your eternal soul (if you are a Christian).  This is his primary form of communication to you.  He uses it to transform us. It is living and active.  He makes many, many promises about his word and its power and He fulfills those promises. 

Even if you have read the Bible you should read it again and again.  Jesus called it our daily bread for a reason.

If you aren’t a Christian, read it and believe!  Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.  Or just read it to be a well informed person.  Regardless of your views on it, the New Testament is foundational to Western culture and has influenced culture, art and literature far more than most people realize. 

How hard is it to read the New Testament?  Not very.  Let’s break it down:

  • 260 chapters
  • Less than 200 pages in a typical non-study Bible
  • Each chapter is usually a page or less.
  • You can read a chapter in 5-10 minutes and that includes the footnotes if you have a study Bible.  That’s less time than you spend reading the newspaper, blogs or just surfing.
  • Less than one chapter per day
  • Several books are just one chapter, and many are just a few chapters. 
  • Use a study Bible if you like, but that isn’t required. 
  • Get a friend involved and hold each other accountable and share what you’ve learned.
  • Join a Bible study group
  • Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything.  I put a couple suggestions at the bottom of the post and here are some more Bible study tips.

Try this: Read a chapter at breakfast.  If you are too busy, then keep a Bible by your bed and commit not to go to sleep before reading at least one chapter.  Even if you miss now and then and only read five per week you’ll still accomplish the goal.

You don’t have to read it straight through.  Read a Gospel, then a letter or two, then another Gospel, then Acts, then a letter or two, etc.

If you have an iPhone, check out the free Logos Bible iPhone App.  I have used this the last couple months.  I work through a book of the Bible, reading the same chapter 2-3 times throughout the course of the day. 

If reading isn’t your thing, then listen to it.  Redeem your commute.  You can listen to the whole New Testament in under 20 hours.  Get free MP3 files of the New Testament here and put it on your iPod.  It is a high quality rendition. 

Forget the excuses and give it a try.  You can do it, and you’ll be really glad that you did. 

P.S. Yes, we should read the Old Testament as well.  But let’s start with the New Testament.  And if you already had more robust Bible study plans for the year then just pretend you never read this. 

A suggested reading pattern from James MacDonald.  Just read a chapter or so, then:

  • Question it – What portion stands out to me? Why? (Don’t just focus on what you don’t understand, consider what you do understand)
  • Is there an example for me to follow?
  • Is there an error for me to avoid?
  • Is there a duty for me to perform?
  • Is there a promise for me to claim?
  • Is there a sin for me to confess?
  • Plan it – make a plan for how you will use it
  • Pray it – pray scripture back to God
  • Share it – helps others, and helps us to remember it

0 thoughts on “Just read it.”

  1. Also, if a person is hesitant about carrying a full-sized Bible around, you can always go to a Christian bookstore and find a pocket-sized copy (They might even have some at Wal-Mart). Skim through a page or two while standing in line at the grocery store check-out (it will keep your attention away from all the celebrity magazines that proudly disply a half-naked Jennifer Aniston or Britney Spears on the cover).

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  2. Thanks Neil.

    I’m downloading the copy as we speak.

    On a personal note, I was just listening to a Bart Ehrman debate and he opened with a description of 3 questions he asks all of his college students:

    How many of you believe the Bible is the Word of God?
    Everybody lifts their hands up!!!
    How many of you have read the Da Vinci Code?
    Everybody lifts their hands up!!!
    How many of you have read the Bible?
    hands are but a few!!!

    Sad indeed that we don’t take it seriously.

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  3. For those that have a high familiarity with scripture, in the past I have found changing my order of reading the NT to be very helpful in breaking apart my familiarity and helping me to see the text with ‘new’ eyes.

    By this I mean, going in something like chronological order. That means reading the epistles first (in one of the variously argued chronological orders), then the Gospels (order isn’t terribly important with the ‘synoptics’, but ending with Lk makes transitioning into Acts easier). Then concluding with John’s letters, followed by Revelation.

    This can be a very fruitful approach, in part because it an help produce in us the same sorts of questions that recipients of the early epistles likely had, and that brought about the historical circumstances that the Holy Spirit used to inspire the Gospels.

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  4. It really gets down to the fact that it’s not that we have to or need to read Scripture, it’s that we get to. Hearing God speak to us through His word should be the Christian’s desire. While I appreciate the “it will only take 5 minutes” approach should we have to pitch the Bible to believers? Shouldn’t a true believer long to know God more through His word? Sure we all have our days where we might not feel like reading but the overall desire of a regenerate person definitely should long for God’s word. I know I’m sounding like a Puritan here but if you compare those in other countries who come to Christ with American Christians there is a longing for God’s Word verses a night table Bible. This cannot be simply because we have a very abundant supply of Bibles. Does the lack of desire to read the very word of God indicate a larger problem in American Christianity?

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  5. Did this in 2007. Finished in late November. It was very rewarding.

    I encourage all to do it. I don’t know if I will do that again as I tend to like to do more of a study than just reading, but I think everyone should do this at least once.

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