Whenever a mature Christian comments on how they could have better used their time, it is worth paying attention. Especially if that person is still known for his faithfulness in following Jesus despite living 200 years ago. So take note of what John Newton wrote about his own reading habits:
Alas, how much time have I lost and wasted, which, had I been wise—I would have devoted to reading and studying the Bible! But my evil heart obstructs the dictates of my judgment, I often feel a reluctance to read this book of books, and a disposition to hew out broken cisterns which afford me no water, while the fountain of living waters are close within my reach!
In Jeremiah 15:16 the prophet says that God’s words became a delight to him, implying that they were not always so. It is often the case with us that God’s words do not initially delight us. The Bible is a big book, it is culturally far removed from our western materialist experiences, it’s meaning is very deep and in places rather obscure.
Whenever something is deep we need to spend time peering into it in order to see the substance of what is held in those depths. It will take repeated readings of the Bible to take it all in, but lots of small readings over time will get you there. Again, from John Newton:
To make a few efforts, and then give up—is like taking a few steps and then standing still, which would do little towards completing a long journey. But, though a person walked slowly, and but a little way in a day—if he walked every day, and with his face always in the same direction, year after year—he would in time travel over the globe! By thus traveling patiently and steadily through the Scripture, and repeating our progress—we would increase in Scriptural knowledge to the end of life!
Plodding through the Bible is OK, just keep going!
Here is the entire Reading the Bible article by John Newton.
What others think:
- Nine Practical Pointers for Plodders (Desiring God)