How to Read the Bible, Every Word
For years, I’d read my Bible, and just skim through the boring parts. Everybody did that, or so I thought.
But when I got serious about Bible reading, I had to think through a few things, like what it really meant to read the Bible. I came to the conclusion that it meant reading the entire Bible, every word. I wrote the Bible Reader’s Creed back then, and I realized that my skimming days were over. The Bible reader’s creed says,
With God’s help, I will read my Bible, every word, in the proportion that God gave, over and over again for the rest of my life.
It’s the every word part that gets to me sometimes, even today. That happened in my last read-through of Nehemiah, in fact. In Chapter 10, verses 1-8, Nehemiah gives the names of the people who signed a certain document:
“Now those who placed their seal on the document were: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, and Shemaiah. These were the priests.
And those were just the priests. Then he listed all the other people who signed the document. In chapter 11 he lists all the people who volunteered to live in the newly restored Jerusalem.
Chapter 12 starts off with more of the same, so my eyes kind of glossed over, and I found myself skimming down through the passages — until I remembered I was supposed to be reading every word.
My conscience said something like, “Whoa! Go back and read that again.” So I did, but my eyes were still skipping around. I had to get my voice involved.
So, here’s how to read every word of something that bores you: Read out loud!
It really works. I read the passages out loud and successfully read every word.
Another trick that works is to follow along while someone else reads. I recommend YouVersion or any other application that has an audio Bible. This technique is especially helpful if you are reading a passage that has difficult names.
But be careful here: don’t just listen while you’re doing something else like brushing your teeth or driving to work. You’ll zone out. Open your Bible and read along while you listen.