Yesterday, the most momentous news in the South was the release of the Southeastern Conference football schedules for 2012, which proved beyond any shadow of the doubt that the powers that be like Georgia better than South Carolina. And that’s just fine with me.
It was also the day that I tried to figure out how to approach my reading of the Bible for 2012. Each year, I like to change things up a bit, and sometimes it takes me a while to figure it out. Last year, I focused on reading the Gospels and learning about Jesus. That has been very helpful and I plan to continue to do it through at least the first nine months of last year.
I also hope to read the Bible through the year chronologically in the order that the events related in it happened. I’ve never done that before, and I want to try something different this year. I am an odd person who both needs routine and gets easily bored with routine, so I have to change the way I do the routine to keep up the routine. (That last sentence should convey just how weird it is to be such a person.) Anyhow, I plan to incorporate lectio divina as I do this.
Lectio divina is really just a fancy way to say something that is really simple so that I can feel smarter. It describes an approach to reading Scripture that keeps it from becoming, well, too routine. (You probably wish I would use a thesaurus by now.) There are four parts to lectio divina.
1. Read. Read a portion of Scripture. To read the Bible through in a year, I will need to read 3-5 chapters a day. It is important to read an extended portion to understand things within their context.
2. Think. Pick out a certain part of that and think about it. Ask questions about it. Try to really understand it and what it is saying about you.
3. Pray. Pray the Scripture back to God.
4. Live. Decide a specific way to obey what God has said.
I will usually write out these things in a journal that I keep. Keeping a journal is a practice that I hope to do better in the coming year. Many of these blog post come from my journal.
I hope that all of you will make a practice of reading the Bible in the coming year. If you need a good plan to do so, you can find several suggestions where this hopefully links. If you are a new Christian or have never read the Bible through before, I suggests that you choose a plan that combines reading from the Old Testament and New Testament each day. One reason I plan to continue reading a chapter from the Gospels each day is that with the chronological plan, I will not begin readings in the New Testament until October.
I hope that you have a blessed New Year.