Consistency in Bible reading is always more important than comprehension of everything read. Don't get me wrong--it's important to understand what we read. But if we make Bible reading a consistent, regular habit, our comprehension of it will grow over time.
So what's next? If you have begun to read the Bible and have gained some consistency in it and have seen some spiritual growth as a result, how do you continue? All Bible reading done with a prayerful, humble attitude will result in spiritual formation for God's mission. What are some ways we can work this out in our experience?
First, always be thinking in terms of a regular rhythm of reading and prayer. You don't have to read the Bible every day, but what rhythm of reading will enable you to have consistency that results in spiritual growth and equipping for God's mission for his church? Is it reading a couple of sections of the Bible daily? Praying the Psalms monthly? Setting aside an hour two or three days a week to spend in extended reading of the Bible? Find a rhythm that works for you.
Second, keep reading! Reread the New Testament; follow a yearly Bible reading plan; dip into the Old Testament. The Community Bible Experience now includes editions of the OT that focus on the Covenant History, the Prophets, and the Writings, and would be a great way to read through the OT.
Third, consider forming a simple group that focuses on Bible reading, accountability, and prayer. These are often known as Life Transformation Groups and involve two or three people who meet weekly for these purposes. In these groups, participants read a high quantity of scripture each week (around 30 chapters), confess sin with mutual accountability, and pray for friends and family members who are not yet believers. Here is a good outline of how a Life Transformation Group can work.
Another way of forming a group that shares the Bible with others is to use the Discovery Bible Study method. This is a great way of helping others explore the Bible for themselves in a context of accountability, service, and mission. These questions are asked every time the group gathers:
- “What happened last week for which you are thankful?”
- “What struggles are happening in your life, family or community?” (After the study there will be a follow-up question.)
- “How did the attempt to help with the need go?” (Related to question 8 and not asked the first week.)
- Have the text read/told well. Ask for a volunteer to re-tell the passage in his/her own words. Ask the rest of the group to fill in any details that were overlooked.
- “What do we learn about God in this section?”
- “What do we learn about humanity from the section?”
- “How would your life change if you put this passage into practice?”
- “Who do you know who needs to hear this lesson?”
- Ask: Earlier we heard about (insert need from question 2). “How can we help meet that need?” (The idea is that the Bible "discovery" will help people learn to apply the word by figuring out to help with expressed needs.)
Fourth, keep the momentum towards obedience. We must be always asking in our Bible reading, "What is God saying to me?" and "What will I do about it?" Consider forming a discipleship group that reads books together about how the Bible calls us into a new life of service in God's kingdom.
Any of these four approaches will keep you engaged with God's word in community with others. Let me know if I can help you!