Pilgrim’s Process by Peter Sanlon
Pilgrim’s Need the Light of God’s Word
As pilgrims travelling through a dark world, we need the light of God’s Word (Ps.119:105). Despite knowing this we often struggle to regularly read the Bible. Many of God’s people feel guilty about this and know there are parts of scripture they are unfamiliar with.
One of the most frequent expressions of frustration I hear from those who want to read the Bible more, but struggle, is that they find it difficult to keep going with dated Bible reading notes. Many find such notes helpful – but even those who are fans of them, can find it depressing to fall behind – and difficult to get back on track.
My suggestion to people struggling to read the Bible is to try a different method. Instead of having a plan of how many verses or chapters you are going to read each day (a plan that can easily be deviated from) – try to approach the Bible like a novel. Not in the sense that you forget that it is God’s Word written – but in the sense that you just pick up the book and read.
Think about how it is when you are gripped by the plot of a thrilling novel. You don’t schedule yourself half a chapter to read each day, and berate yourself when you cannot manage it. No – you devour a chapter and when it ends think, ‘I could read a bit further. I want to see what happens next.’ With a novel we love we don’t merely schedule time daily to read at home – we keep it in the car for when we are waiting by school gates, we read it on the bus or while waiting for a friend in the coffee shop. Altering our mindset to view the Bible more like a novel we are hungry to read through, can lead to rewarding outcomes.
There are available ‘Readers Bibles’ from publishers that omit chapter numbers and verse numbers – making the Bible feel more like a book to be read. These are often printed on paper more like a novel. With such a Bible last week I read through 1 & 2 Kings. I had no idea over the couple of hours (with a few coffee breaks) where I was in terms of chapters – I was just gripped by the plot, characters and God’s amazing covenantal way of dealing with his people. I missed other things because I wanted to read.
God’s Word is not a chore. If reading it has become such to you, why not try reading it like you would any book you enjoy? It will feel like more than a human book.
Rev. Dr. Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: www.emmanuelanglican.uk