Once upon a time Basil Manly, Jr. said,
If we are to be mighty in God’s work, we must be mighty in God’s word.
He was right.
Christianity divorced from not merely a casual reading, but a thoughtful study of the word of God is empty. Why? Because man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). We cannot honestly claim to love of God if we so carelessly neglect His revelation to us.
Now we don’t live and die by the Gregorian calendar, but the dawn of the new year is an excellent time to evaluate your own Bible reading and make any necessary changes/improvements to the way you approach the text.
I’ve encouraged my church with what I call the RPM approach to Scripture — reading the text, pursuing the meaning, memorizing the word. This involves a systematic approach to all three.
R – Reading the text is adopting a systematic plan for reading the Bible and sticking to it, preferably daily. This is the reading plan I’ve given my church for 2015. It goes through the whole Bible, and with the Old Testament it uses the book order of the Hebrew Bible. HT to Jim Hamilton. This plan is adapted from his site.
P – Pursuing the meaning involves picking a book and spending a chunk of the year, or even the whole year, digging into that book. Last year we did this quarterly, but admittedly, not very well on a church-wide level. This year I want to do better — with one book. Since I’m preaching through Luke on Sundays, and will be throughout this year and more, God willing, I picked an Old Testament book for me/us, the oft-neglected Chronicles.
M – Memorizing the word is what it sounds like — systematically memorizing verses. It could be an assortment of verses or a chunk, like a chapter or more. I’ve got some of the young men in the church working on Ephesians 1:3-14. I’ve been working on 2 Timothy for some time and am not going to quit until I’m done. I encourage you to set out to purposefully memorize some Scripture this year.