When I was a kid I hated reading. My sister, on the other hand, loved it. I would read what I had to for school and that was it. When I reached high school I read through the Bible a few times for our youth group program and I did enjoy it. But outside of that I hated it. I wanted to be outside rollerblading, or skateboarding, or shooting my pellet gun. I did not want to read. Reading required me to slow down and be quiet. Sometimes I literally cried when I had to read.
Now I love to read and I love reading the Bible. Though my youth pastor played a large role in my current love for reading, there were a number of factors that led to my love of reading. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many Christians. Not only is there a decline in reading in the general population there is a decline in reading of the Bible by Christians. Not only is the culture post-Christian, it seems that the Evangelical Christian church is becoming post-Christian merely because less and fewer Christians are reading their Bible and, therefore, don’t know it.
So how do Christians begin to read the Bible so that they can develop an enjoyment of it? That’s why Keith Ferrin, author of Falling in Love With God’s Word, has recently written How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible (Bethany House, 2015). There are many factors that contribute to Christians not enjoying reading the Bible and Keith aims to help Christians overcome these and put them on a path to enjoying and loving to read the Bible.
The book is divided into ten steps to help people develop enjoyment while reading the Bible. Keith is not content for Christians to just read the Bible out of habit and duty. No, he wants Christians to enjoy reading the Bible. If Christians can move from reading out of duty to reading out of enjoyment then their Bible reading will be much more effective and, well, enjoyable!
Like with any other relationship, our relationship with God is built on time spent with Him and we do so through prayer and Bible reading/study. When we read merely out of a sense of duty we can tend to read out of guilt for the purpose of knowing more about the Bible. But Keith wants to remind us that reading the Bible is not just for knowing more of what is said but who is saying it. We read the Bible to know God better through Jesus. Knowing our Bibles better is always important but if we fail to know God better in the process then we have missed a lot in our reading.
Through the ten steps for reading the Bible to enjoy it, Keith gives a lot of practical guidance that can be used immediately. One thing that really sticks out is the priority Keith puts on reading the Bible in context. That is, while many devotionals tend to focus on reading a few verses, or even just one at a time, Keith wants to help you develop an enjoyment for reading by reading in big chunks. For instance, the Epistles of the New Testament were written as letters to be read aloud at one time. Why do we break them up in bits and pieces? Keith notes, “We try to figure out what Philippians 4:13 means without being able to say what the book of Philippians is about” (67). Keith wants us to enjoy the whole Bible and not just a few of our favorite verses.
How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible is an excellent book with some of the best advice on how to develop a lifestyle of consistent Bible reading while enjoying it at the same time. This is a good book for new Christians who are not used to reading or for Christians who are going through a season in their Christian walk where they find reading their Bibles to be more of a chore than an enjoyment.
I received this book for free from Bethany House for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”