Back in college I heard about a powerful way of reading the Bible that was as challenging as rewarding. Take a book, or portion of a book of the Bible and read it every day for a month. So, as a late teen I did it with the books of James, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 John before flaming out. At that point in my life I lacked the maturity and self-discipline to continue the practice, even though it was clearly a worthwhile endeavor.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I was challenged by the example of a friend to pick up the practice again. So in November I read the book of Philippians 30 times. It was powerful! On about the 22nd day the Holy Spirit spoke to me clearly and specifically in a way that was amazing. One simple phrase from chapter 1 leapt off the page and took deep root in my heart, providing much comfort and hope. I head read that particular phrase probably hundreds of times, but through the repetitive reading, the Lord really pressed it home for me in the deepest part of my being. It’s hard to put into words.
In December I read the book of James 30 times. Again, it has been powerful. This time it hasn’t been a particular verse or phrase, but it has been the Lord taking a particular topic and causing me to dig deeper into how to start making lifestyle changes to bring my life in alignment with what God is saying about that area of life. Again, it’s something that I have “known” in my mind for decades. But it’s an area where I have been disobedient to the Lord, and fooling myself into thinking I was not disobedient. It’s something that I’ve ignored and made excuses (very spiritual sounding ones) about for years. But the repetitive reading… I haven’t been able to escape the Spirit pressing me on the issue. So changes are in the works for me in that particular area.
And now I plan to read the book of 1st John 30 times in January.
I’ve never heard an official name for this practice so I have started calling it Repetitive Bible Reading (RBR). Not very creative, but I think it communicates the practice well.
If you are interested in trying Repetitive Bible Reading, here are some helpful tips:
(1) Pray before you begin each time. Ask the Lord to have at least one thing “jump off the page” to you as something you can apply immediately to your life.
(2) Keep a record of your progress. Because you will be doing it every day for a month, it’s easy to forget if you did that day or not, so by keeping a record, you can avoid that confusion. Also, as you progress through the month it serves as a motivator for you to complete the month.
(3) If possible, use a real Bible rather than your phone or electronic device, preferably the BIble you use most. By using the same Bible, your brain will kind of memorize where each verse is on the page. Which will be helpful in the future when you are looking for a verse from that book of the Bible.
(4) If you get a little behind, don’t give up. Do 2 per day until you are caught up. It is worth it!
For those who would like to join me in reading 1st John repititively (30x) in January, here is a pdf checklist to mark your 30x to read it Simply download and print and then cut into three separate bookmarks… one for yourself and two for others who might want to join you. Accountability is greater when you have some friends do it also!