Should you read the Bible quickly or slowly?

Yes.  Either is fine.  Or read it at medium speed.  Just read it.

There are benefits to any pace.  Some truths are very deep and require study of words, contexts, audiences, writers, geography, etc. to understand.  Other things are not that complicated.  You can benefit from both, even in the same passages.

For example, our Sunday School teacher went very deep in the following passage and I learned a lot of new things.

Matthew 5:21–30 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

But as long as you actually paid attention you don’t need to know any Greek to realize any of the following:

  • Unrighteous anger is a serious sin that can result in Hell for you.
  • If you understood the previous bullet, you’ll realize that the odds of you getting through life without unrighteous anger are zero.  Therefore, you better be looking for another solution to your problem (Hint: Jesus).
  • Jesus cares about our actions and our thoughts. Ouch.
  • Jesus seems to think adultery — in thought or action — is extremely serious.  Ouch again.

I was just reading in Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s biography how he would often meditate on a single passage for a half hour a day.

If you go too slowly you’ll miss the broader context.  In addition to reading the Bible, I highly recommended listening to an audio version of the Bible, which you can get free from Faith Comes By Hearing.  It enables you to go through it quickly and get a feel for how things fit together.  I also recommend trying a chronological version at least once, especially for the Old Testament.

As long as you are reading it and taking it seriously, I wouldn’t worry about the pace.

So, are you reading it regularly, or have you decided not to?

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