Thursday, June 4, 2009

Daily Bible Reading and Keeping a Journal/Commentary

Those who know me know that I am a man of systems. The more complex and busy life gets the more intentional and creative my systems tend to get. Just as we have variable and fixed expenditures in life, so to are there some aspects of being a disciple of Jesus Christ that can be variable and some that must remain fixed.

I think it is hardly debatable that Bible reading is one of those disciplines that we should not be casual about and must remain fixed. All authentic, vibrant and fruitful discipleship flows from a deepening revelation and relationship with the Triune God. Although it is true that God often reveals Himself to us in a variety of ways; there is no clearer and more objective way that He does so than by His perfect Word.

The Word, then, should be more precious to us than any other thing we possess. If our joy is always relative to how satisfied in and dependent on God we are; then knowing, studying and meditating on the Word of God should be of the highest priority.

I have developed my own little system to make sure that I regularly study and meditate on God's Word. I use a daily Bible reading plan that takes me through 4 biblical categories of reading each day. I personally use the ESV Study Bible Reading Plan. ESV has several reading plans for you to choose from that help immensly in guiding your daily reading. I read from 4 places in the Bible each day, and usually spread it out to 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon or evening. Sometime I do just 1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon and 2 in the evening. Being in God's Word all day has a dramatic effect on my thought and prayer life and thus affects the way I act during the day as well. Sometimes the daily reading has provided me with just the right verse to share with a believer who needed encouragement or an unbeliever.

Besides just reading God's Word daily with the help of a reading plan; I also journal or commentate on the reading for each day. I personally go verse by verse and so it ends up being a nice little commentary for me to go back and read each year and I get to write new notes for each verse each year. As the years go on you can look at the several different comments you have written for the same verses and compare them. This exercise of writing also helps you to retain much of what you read and stores it in your head throughout the day. I use a 3-ring binder with dividers and section titles to maintain my journal/commentary. It is cheap and it's easy to add and remove pages for more writing or to file away old entries.

This sort of journaling is also a great thing to leave your children. It teaches them the value of journaling for the purpose of godliness and they will have all of your journaling notes to look at someday.

If you struggle with maintaining a discipline of steady Bible reading, perhaps a more intentional system is just the thing you need!

Soli Deo Gloria