Reading the Bible

How do you read Biblethe Bible?  Do you sit and ponder long passages of the gospels or the letters from the apostles?  (If so, I’m jealous!)  Do you get most of your Bible reading by retelling Old Testament Bible stories over and over again to your children until you are tired of hearing about Noah and Moses?  Do you catch of verse of scripture here and there by picking up short devotionals or doing a mini-retreat on-line?

When I was much younger – before I had even graduated high school – I decided that I was going to read the Bible cover-to-cover – start with Genesis and end with Revelations, absorbing everything in between.  I could take the time to do this largely because I was still at home and someone else cooked the meals and cleaned the bulk of the house!  Eventually I got through it, taking a full year and then some.  But admittedly, cover-to-cover is not a good way to read the Bible.  You may find yourself surprised by stories you’ve never heard of in the Old Testament, but you will be so worn down by cubit measurements and family lineages, that you may be hard pressed to make it through the gospels!  At least I was!!

Now I try to do selective Bible reading – reading the nativity story before Christmas, the Passion during Holy Week and the Acts of the Apostles after Easter.  But what about all the time in between these special times of the year?

I have several devotionals that I try to do daily readings from.  They typically have a Bible verse from the scripture that day with a paragraph to accompany it.  Or recently, I’ve been trying to do a 3-minute retreat on Loyola Press.  But with the more demanding parts of my day taking up my time, I can find myself at the end of the day without having done any Bible readings.

One priest who I’ve listened to on tape, named Fr. Larry Richards, has made the rule – “No Bible, no breakfast.  No Bible, no bed.”  bibleI know that he is far more disciplined than I am but he has a good method of reading the Bible.  He asks the Holy Spirit to open God’s word to touch his heart.  Then he just opens the Bible to wherever the Spirit guides him and begins reading.  He reads until he feels touched by the verse and then closes the Bible, keeping the verse in his heart for the day.  I have tried it, and I really enjoy this method.  I feel like the Holy Spirit is really leading me to what God needs me to hear that day, without having to spend large amounts of time meditating on scripture.

I’ve also heard of a Bible tradition in the Ozarks where a person will place their Bible on their shoes before they go to bed so that they read their Bible before they are even completely dressed.   And then they put the Bible on their pillow in the morning so that before bed, they take time to read the Bible again.  I haven’t tried this but I do understand that when something (like the Bible) is out of sight, it’s also out of mind.

I also have a devotional for my kids – it’s just a simple verse and paragraph, but very applicable to their lives.  Usually, I don’t remember that we forgot to read it until the kids are in bed so starting today, I am putting the devotional in the cereal bowls, so when I grab them in the morning, the book comes out too!  I’ll let you know how it works!

How do you read the Bible?   How do you let God’s word speak to you?


Here are a few resources to help you out! – 3 minute retreat

Living Faith – for adults and for kids

The Word Among Us – for adults (comes with monthly articles too!)


2 Responses to Reading the Bible

  1. Theresa says:

    I have heard Fr. Larry Richards say those exact words! What an impact that has made in my life with reading the Bible. Could you share what devotional you use for your children? My sons are 6 and 4 years old, and I am always looking for resources so that we can do more together as a family in regards to our Catholic faith.

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