I stumbled across this blog by professor, author, and defender of the Christian faith, Sean McDowell, and thought it was brilliant. Why? Because Sean offers encouragement to those who, desperately trying to read the Bible through in a year, grow discouraged and quit when they fall behind in the designated schedule. From the article:
Why should [reading the Bible through in a year] be our goal? Why should our Scripture reading be about how much we read? There is undoubtedly value in daily Scripture reading. My point is not to minimize this important discipline. But honestly, how much do people really retain after the “Bible in a year plan”? My suspicion is that it may be less than we think… We should have a different goal. Rather than focusing on quantity by aiming to get through Bible entirely in 2021, focus on quality.
The Psalms are poetry, lyrics put to music. The Hebrews would sing these songs at times of worship, en route to Jerusalem for festivals, and during times of great joy as well as crippling pain.
There is an interesting word you’ll stumble across while reading those songs: “Selah.”
The Hebrew word for “Selah” – “סֶלֶסֶלֶה” – literally means “pause.” In others words, it’s a “rest” within a musical score.
One preacher defined it as, “Pause; and think about that.”
A professor of mine told us,
“I decided to read the passion narratives (torture, execution and resurrection of Jesus) in all four Gospels thirty-six times in the original Greek language. It took a long time. But, it changed me. I saw things I had never seen before.”
Rather than race through the Bible so you can reach that “finish line” in twelve months, make a decision to slow your pace and stroll through “the countryside of God’s Kingdom.” Find a “park bench.” Rest for a while. Think deeply about what you’ve read. Ask God to help you understand what he’s trying to say to you. Take time to wrestle with the hard passages.
You may not even read an entire chapter, but rather only a few verses – or maybe one single verse. And, God may say, “Rather than forge ahead, let’s come back to this same passage tomorrow. There’s no hurry.”
Allow yourself to be drawn into the presence of the wild, untamable Lion of Judah. When you do, you will find him whispering to you, “This is what I want to tell you today. Let’s talk about it together. I have a lot to show you. It will change your life by helping you get to know me, giving you wisdom, and preparing you for the trials to come.”