My home church just finished a three week series on the Bible, including why we can trust it and how we can study it. I loved when the pastor said there are "multiple ways of engaging with Scripture."
Engaging Scripture. Isn't that a great way to think about it?
I love to read and study the Bible every morning. When I don't begin my day with it, everything feels off. I read through the entire Bible regularly, and I almost always have a study going as well (such as BSF or a Beth Moore; something that makes me dig deep). I love encouraging others to make consumption of the Word an integral part of their lives.
At church yesterday, they had a panel join the pastor to discuss their own Bible reading/study habits, what works for them, what obstacles they have to overcome. I don't know about you, but it helps me to know others sometime struggle with focusing their thoughts or shutting out that growing list of To Dos.
Bible reading/study shouldn't be a legalistic thing in our lives anymore than eating a decent breakfast/lunch/dinner is a legalistic thing. But Christians need the nourishment it provides every bit as much as they need their fruits and vegetables every day.
Henry Cloud said (and this may not be an exact quote): "When your maturity isn't strong enough to do something, add external structure." That applies to regular exercise (if you aren't disciplined enough to do it on your own, join a gym) or any other good habit we are trying to form, including reading/studying Scripture. External structure doesn't always mean we're being legalistic. It can mean we're trying to form a good habit.
I want to engage Scripture in my life. I don't merely want head knowledge. I want it to go deep into my heart. I want it to come out of me in the way I interact with people and in the words in my books and in the way I face trials or the ho-hum of daily life.
There are a couple of books (among others) that the pastor recommended to help with Bible reading/studying. I went straight home and ordered them, so I thought I would pass along the titles, just in case you wish to do the same:
The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart
May you engage with Scripture in a new and wonderful way in the days to come.