Wednesday, September 16, 2020

72. How To Eat Your Bible

How To Eat Your Bible: A Simple Approach to Learning and Loving the Word of God. Nate Pickowicz. 2021. [January] Moody Publishers. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence from the introduction: I’m writing this book to myself. Well, actually, it’s for you, but I can’t help wondering whether you and I may have had a similar experience.

This short little book focuses on the Word of God. Why should Christians read the Bible? How often should Christians read the Bible? How should Christians approach Bible reading? What steps are necessary or important? (Namely prayer and actually doing it.) 

The reader Pickowicz has in mind is a reluctant reader who feels slightly bad about approaching the Word of God reluctantly and inconsistently. This reader is essentially unfamiliar with the Word of God and lacks desire to be fed by the Word of God. 

I believe his goal is to get that reluctant, inconsistent reader to get excited and prayerful about actually reading the Word of God and living by it. He encourages the reader often to pray, pray, pray, pray. Pray for God to place the desire within your heart. Pray for God to open your eyes, your heart, your mind. Pray for God to transform you through the reading of the Word. Pray for God to use your time in the Word beneficially. Pray against temptations that distract and negate. 

He specifically is encouraging readers to take a different approach to reading the Bible. Instead of encouraging readers to read through the Bible in a year or two or three in its entirety. He is encouraging his reluctant, inconsistent readers to approach Bible reading the John MacArthur way. That is to read each book of the New Testament through thirty times in a row. Shorter books get a month. Longer books are broken into sections and tackled over multiple months. (For example, three months for the book of Romans.) He deviates from MacArthur's advice to read through the Old Testament once each year. He instead feels that readers should commit to reading each book through fifteen times in a row. (Half of what he encourages for the New Testament.) Again shorter books are given their own time. But longer books are broken into segments. One clarification: MacArthur emphasizes 30 days--roughly a month. Pickowicz emphasizes thirty readings. So if you wanted to read Galatians once in the morning and once in the evening--one could finish it in fifteen days instead of thirty. It is the number of times through a book that matters to Pickowicz. 

So he's devised--loosely somewhat--a seven year Bible reading plan. 

My thoughts...I do have them! Let's see. I like the idea of including the Old Testament in this in-depth study. I myself have done this with Psalms. I read 30 days of book one of Psalms, 30 days of book two of Psalms, 30 days of book three of Psalms, 30 days of book four of Psalms, 30 days of book five of Psalms. It was incredible, wonderful, nourishing. I highly recommend it if you get the chance. There are other books I'd love to approach this way. (Though notably not Proverbs. But Isaiah 40-66 comes to mind!) 

But. I am not Pickowicz's envisioned reader. I am not reluctant to read the Bible. Nor am I reluctant to read in general. You don't have to really do much to get me to set aside time to read. Being completely honest, I am not inconsistent now. Though the me of twenty years ago was inconsistent--very. I was either all hot or all cold. 

I am slightly unsure how someone completely and totally new to the Bible--who doesn't really have an idea of the big picture or how the narrative fits together or how books relate to one another or a foundational grounding of key essential doctrines of the faith--would handle being thrown right into possibly one of the hardest ways (but most thorough and no-nonsense) to get to know the Bible. 30 days or 30 readings of the same book. He encourages reading the whole New Testament first. Is this perhaps disconnecting the New Testament from the Old Testament a little too much at the beginning of the program??? Maybe. Maybe not. I can't imagine reading Hebrews for 30 or 60 or even 90 days without ever having read the Old Testament. The New Testament is built on the Old. 

I love the idea of people actually reading the New Testament books that intensely and frequently. But I am leaning more towards MacArthur's the Old Testament needs to be being read throughout the year too. (Just like I would encourage readers who actually implement Picowicz's plan to read through the New Testament each year that they study the Old Testament books.) I can't imagine going four years without reading the New Testament!!! (Nor can I imagine going three years without reading the Old Testament.)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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