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Broadening One’s Observance of Bible Reading for Study and for Edification.
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In my recent pastoral letter to the congregation, there was an invitation to observe a holy Lent.  In it, I enumerated seven disciplines to deepen our relationship with God in the journey toward Easter Day.


  •       Deepening one’s prayer practices.
  •       Broadening one’s observance of Bible reading for study and for edification.
  •       Experiencing the tradition of fasting and other forms of self-discipline.
  •       Developing a new or renewed relationship with a friend through forgiveness and offerings of grace.
  •       Making a sacrificial gift.
  •       Exercising the freedom to participate in the Sacrament of Holy Communion as often as possible, and
  •       Conferencing with friends to review how we respond to the essential Wesleyan question:  “How is it with my soul?”.


In this blog, my focus is on the second point in bold print above.


I have tried to read the Bible like a novel.  I started at the beginning with a goal of going straight through to the end of the Book of the Revelation.  I have done it, and as a beginner (or even as a disciplined spiritual practice), I do not recommend it.  While cover to cover reading works for some folks, there are alternatives for those of us for whom it does not.  Lent’s spiritual disciplines certainly emphasize reading the Scriptures, and I search for particular ways to accomplish a “broadening…of Bible reading for study and edification.” 


I do not know of anyone who went to the public library and began reading with the first book (in what was previously known as the card catalog) with the goal of reading every book in the library.  A smaller version of that idea results in an attempt to read from Genesis to the Revelation.  Instead, I search the library for one book to read.  I have discovered this is a good way to approach Bible reading too.  I suggest starting with something basic such as the Gospel of Mark or Genesis (which could be considered as a series of short stories).  The more difficult ones—Leviticus in the Old Testament and Hebrews in the New Testament—can be saved for later and post-graduate studies.


I know there is value in our society for massive amounts of anything, and the idea of “more is better” often translates in faith as reading massive chapters and verses.  In the Bible, I have found greater significance in concentrating on smaller portions.  As an example, consider my sermon on March 5th during which I quoted God speaking in Psalm 46:10:  “Be still and know that I am God.”  I can derive eight lessons from this sentence of eight words, including one lesson dedicated to “and” and another dedicated to “that”.  How?  I can ask what is the meaning of “and” when it comes from God’s voice.  I suspect you can develop even better thoughts and questions to use for your study and edification.  All of this requires going deep, not only in prayer, but also in the Scriptures.


Pastor Murry, Lead Pastor

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