THE WAY TO READ THE BIBLE
Throughout the generations Christians have had many ways of reading the Bible. Some of the ways require much time and effort but produce little result, while other ways likewise require much time and effort but yield no result at all. However, one way that is worth trying is to read the Bible once a year. Daily read one chapter of the New Testament and three chapters of the Old Testament; this is to read four chapters a day. In this way the Bible can be read through once in a year. It is best to read the New Testament in the morning and the Old Testament during the day. This way is even more necessary for the new believers. After you rise up every morning, before doing anything else, you should pray and read the Bible. This does not require a great amount of time. Normally people think that they do not have enough hours in a day, but if we allot time to read the Word and pray, we will gain the benefit of redeeming our time. More importantly, this will cause us to be nourished and supplied every day; we will not only increase in knowledge but also grow in life.
Furthermore, when you read the Bible, first you need to follow its sequence. Read the Old Testament starting with Genesis and the New Testament with Matthew, reading both parts in parallel and following the sequence chapter by chapter and verse by verse. In this way you can easily finish reading the Bible once a year. Second, there is no need to seek for a deep understanding. Your seeking for deeper understanding may actually become a hindrance. When you are just beginning to read the Bible, the more you read, the better. Do not just read more chapters but more books. Third, there is the need to pay attention to the facts or the summary of each chapter. For example, Matthew chapter one tells us two things: first, the genealogy of Christ; second, the birth of Christ. It is sufficient to remember these facts.
Fourth, receive inspiration from each chapter you have read. From that chapter there may be a sentence or a few verses that touch you very much. You should meditate on them, pray over them, and memorize them. For example, Matthew 1:21 says, “And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” If you are moved by this word “for it is He who will save His people from their sins,” then you can pray, “Lord Jesus, I ask You to wash away whatever sins are still in me. Lord, I am sinful. Save me from my sins.” In doing so, the benefits you receive daily will be immeasurable. If you cannot understand a certain portion, do not be anxious to understand it right away. In time, when you come back to that portion, you will spontaneously understand more and eventually understand it thoroughly.
If we read the Bible in this way, the more we read, the more we will be helped and the more our spiritual life will grow. This is a continuous cycle of cause and effect. In addition, when reading, it is best to go through the Old Testament at a faster pace; just try to remember the facts and this will be good enough. Holidays and vacations are the best times to read the Bible. During such days, we should spend more time to read and memorize the Scriptures. This will stabilize our Christian life and keep us from slipping. When we come to the Bible, we are coming before God; hence, each time we read the Bible we are refreshed. Many of us love to read magazines and newspapers. However, that kind of reading can only increase our worries; it cannot refresh us. When we read the Bible, however, we are always refreshed. This is just like a glass being washed in water; even if it is empty, at least it is clean.
Someone may ask, “How can I read the Bible? My memory is poor, so I cannot remember anything I read.” Whether we can remember what we read is another matter. The primary purpose of our reading the Bible is that we may be nourished and enlightened so that we may have strength for our living, light for our way, and growth for our spiritual life. May we begin immediately to practice this.
(The Pursuit of a Christian, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)