Thursday, March 12, 2020

Testimony of A (Bible) Glutton

Reading Ron Horton's Alive To The Purpose got me to thinking about how I've approached Bible reading in the past. I realized that I've gone through several stages.

Pre-1986. I'd say I was big into stories--all kinds of stories. I loved to be read to, loved to read. I was familiar with certain Bible verses because of memorization--I went to a Christian school, where memory verses were expected of all grade levels and abilities. But there wasn't so much a Bible presence as a Bible Story Book one. I remember reading The Book for Children cover to cover multiple times. I'd also say that I had a super-super-super-super wonderful teacher who retold Bible stories drawing stick figures on the blackboard.

1986-1989. I started reading the Bible--the Living Bible--on my own, with great eagerness and curiosity. I mainly stuck with what I knew from Bible stories--Genesis and Exodus; Ruth, 1 Samuel through 2 Kings, Jonah; all the New Testament. (Probably Psalms and Proverbs?)

1989-1996. I would still say I was a bit of a picky reader. But the summer before sixth grade I started reading more of the Bible. I remember reading Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, etc. for the first time. In high school, I started venturing into the major and minor prophets. I still wasn't reading the whole Bible. I still had spots I avoided. My translation of choice these days was the NIV 1984.

1996-1998. I graduated from high school, started college, and actually read the Bible cover to cover. In a relatively quick amount of time. I started to realize the JOY that came from reading large chunks of Scripture and seeing the big picture. I know one of the Bibles I read during this time was the Narrated Bible--a chronological Bible. I read it through in three weeks.

1998-2008. These were my famine and feast days. I had two settings it seemed. I was either all in--and reading the Bible two to five hours a day. Reading through the Bible multiple times in a year. Reading with gusto and passion and zeal. Or I was all out--going months, and perhaps even years without any personal Bible reading. I was STARVING myself. I'd feel the lack, but love of sin, love, love, love of sin was keeping me from going to where I could feast. I had moments of guilt and shame. But I seemed unable to break the pattern-hold. When I was on, I was a theological zealot. Love for God, love for the Word consumed me--filled my days and nights. When I was off, I was a HUGE mess. And yes, a BIG, BIG, BIG hypocrite.

2008-present. Around the time I started the Operation Actually Read Bible blog, I started tithing my time. I thought it was all kinds of wrong to claim that I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO READ THE BIBLE when I was spending four or five hours a day reading every book but the Bible. (And also having time to BLOG reviews of what I was reading.) I didn't have "time" and I didn't have "energy" were just excuses, bad excuses at that. I also started reading the Bible first--before picking up any other book for the day.

Also around this time--either 2008 or 2009--I participated in my first (but not my last) Bible in 90 Days challenge. That really taught me two things 1) I definitely DID have the time (and also energy), 2) the Bible was the absolute best for feasting. After this I was not satisfied with ten minutes a day. I did not feel full. I still felt hungry. My spiritual stomach had been stretched. I'd become a GLUTTON. It left me with a HUGE spiritual appetite, but also the pattern or habit of setting aside hour(s) each day to feast. Supposedly, it only takes three to four weeks to establish a new habit or break out of an old habit. 90 days was more than sufficient to start a "habit" or "pattern" that was life-changing. My favorite translation these days: KJV, NASB, ESV.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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