Reading the Bible without meditating on it, is like trying to eat without swallowing. ~ Anonymous
I believe a vibrant spiritual life must include the reading and meditating on the Word of God. Can we really enjoy reading God's Word? I never read a book twice. What's the use when you know the end of the story? I do re-read nonfiction once in a while. But I read the Bible over and over and over. The crazy thing is how "new" it seems each time I read it. And yet, in the newness there is a familiarity that touches a place of home in my heart.
I bore easily. I really hate to admit it. If my daughters read this they will laugh because I never allowed them to say they were bored. I always had a chore for them to do if they were bored. How can you be bored when life has so much to offer -- a book to read, a hobby to enjoy, a story to write, a picture to draw, enough to never be bored?
The reason I say I bore easily is that I don't like to do anything more than once. Not reading, not a craft project, not even cooking. So I try to keep my Bible reading creative and fresh.
To keep the freshness, I:
1. Read a different translation. RB bought the Zondervan's Comparative Study Bible for me. This features four translations across the double page spread. I don't get as far each day by the time I read four translations, but I feel like I grasp the verses and come away with a clear idea of the chapters.
2. Listen to the Bible on CD or MP3. I purchased The Message on CD for Shawn last year for Christmas. The neat thing about the Remix version is the wide variety of voices, including Steve Green, Stephen Curtis Chapman, and Rebecca St. James.
3. Use a Chronological Bible instead of reading Genesis-Revelation. This publication begins with God creating the world and continues in the order the events took place. Emily recently requested one, so I picked up on the idea and bought one for her (We have always tried to purchase study Bibles for our girls to keep their reading fresh).
4. Record thoughts in a notebook. I like to read with pen in hand. (If you like to mark in your Bible, this is the best highlighter I've found: Automatic Crayon Pencil: 8 colors.) Choose a verse to copy, memorize and read, and record some commentary on the verse. Carry your notebook with you and while waiting on appointments, work on memorizing, and be ready to write down a thought God brings to mind. It keeps you meditating on the Word all day long. In Psalm 1 we read of the blessed man who "delights in the law of the Lord and in his law does he meditate day and night."
Long ago I read that we should pray, "Open my eyes that I may find wonderful things in your law" (Psalm 119:18), before beginning our Scripture reading. This helps corral my thoughts, and reminds me the reason I am reading is to learn more about God and His plan in my life. I need the enlightening of the Holy Spirit for the Word to become alive and remain active in my life.
Be an Ezra. The Bible tells us that "he devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord" (Ezra 7:10). Become passionate about the Book God gave to us. Read, study, meditate on it and practice it. Let the Word saturate your heart and delight in it. "Can we really enjoy reading God's Word?" The answer is a resounding yes!