{ Eat This book: my thoughts, half way through }

dimanche 19 juillet 2015

 I began reading the Bible on January first, after my friend Rachel and I had decided we would follow a reading plan through the year and do it together.
The idea of making a serious reading of the Bible and to get to know the word of God had been on my mind for about a year until we exchanged emails that led to that decision.

Now we are more than half way through, and not only am I enjoying it, I am changed by the experience. And, of course, I can't help but share with you this experience.
I thought I would give you a few toughts and maybe some tips, in case you feel led to do this kind of reading.

We are following Blackhawk Church's plan. We like it because everyday you read a few chapters as  well as a psalm. There are also many resources offered online by the church to help you through your journey.

#1: Invest in a Study Bible, if you can afford it : for a first timer like myself it is a life saver! Rachel offered me this edition at the beginning of the year and I LOVE it!
I also listen to the 5 minutes videos that are made to go with the reading plan and are really helpful to grasp the overall meaning of each book. 
You can also use Apps that offer access to different translations and different commentaries on the Bible. 

#2: Find a reading partner, or 2 or 3!!  First of all because in the midst of life, work and domestic chores, it can be easy to "forget" about your daily reading or to let it fall to the bottom of a long "To Do" list. With Rachel, we regularly exchange emails about where we are at, and what thoughts and prayers arise from our reading. If I had been alone doing the reading plan, I probably would have quit after 2 months or so.

#3: MAKE time, don't wait to have the time to read!! it does not take long: you don't need a whole hour everyday. Rachel says sometimes she only needs 15 minutes. As for me, as it is the first time that I actually read he Bible, I need more time:I like to take notes and write down whatever I take from the passages. The amount of time I need everyday is between 20 and 35 minutes.
You may say  that you do not have 30 minutes?? well MAKE time! that is what I do: I don't watch tv anymore, and sometimes instead of reading a novel before sleep I do my daily reading!
Trust me: it is life changing and totally worth the investment!

#4: Go beyond the simple reading: create an inner dialogue with the text:
When I read the chapters I often ask myself :
- How does this chapter apply to me?
- What truth am I learning ?
- What am I learning about God's character?
- Is there any type of behavior or character issues  I am taught to avoid/ to embrace ?

Finally, when I have time, I use the reading of the psalm as a prayer to close my reading.
By going through these kind of questions,  I find that I go beyong the simple reading and actually can apply these ancient truths to my own daily life.
I also learn to grow in my relationship with God, as I can see, again and again, how trustworthy and faithful He is.

 How reading the Bible in a year has changed me so far:

#1 I truly feel the love of God, I trust in His unfailing love and faithfulness. Therefore, I don't feel the need for others approval as much as I used to. Don't get me wrong, I am not a saint, and I still crave attention sometimes. But I don't let others define me: I am defined by my relationship with God and by His love for me. I used to get really stessed if I didn't blog twice a week, or if I didn't get any comments on my blog. But, strangely, I don't feel that way anymore. I do things that fullfil and make me happy. I do things because I think they create beauty and add peace to the world, not to impress anyone. And that is a big step forward!

#2 : I don't have to do things in  my own strength: I can reach for Him and know He is here, with me.Therefore I feel stronger and less prone to stress and anxiety. And even when I am, it doesn't lead to excessive crisis.

# 3: I am more thankful, praising and thanking God for the small things, the daily beauties.

#4: I am more tolerant and I am more inclined to help others and to listen to them in a proper way.

#5: I know that I am a mess, full of imperfections. But I am loved and I CAN love thanks to God's grace.

Actually, I could go on forever! the transformation is quite radical. I don't know if it is visible on the outside, but I feel how radical it is on the inside. I still have a long way to go in faith, but the journey really is amazing and it brings so much joy!

 If ever you have been brave enough to reach the end of this long post, well: thank you! If you have tried this kind of reading, please do share your experience or questions with me! I would love to hear!

7 commentaires:

  1. Really interesting Sophie, thanks for the insight in you and how this has been enriching for you. I'm not religious, but your explanation is very inspiring and makes me wish I were.

  2. Really interesting Sophie, thanks for the insight in you and how this has been enriching for you. I'm not religious, but your explanation is very inspiring and makes me wish I were.

  3. This is such a lovely, inspirational, and thoughtful post! Thank you!

  4. This makes me want to get into a reading plan! I went to a Christian school that was very strict and really turned me away from the Bible once I left. Even now, I don't read it much now because I "know" it already, even though in my heart I know I need a refresher. Thank you for your beautiful heart and spirit!

    1. Hi Kelley! I am not sure if you'll see this, but I just wanted to say that I also grew up with an extremely strict - fundamentalist upbringing and was extremely turned off by Christianity through a good part of my adult life as a result. In fact, when I came to read the Bible for the first time, I was doing some deep soul searching to decide if I was ready to leave Christianity, or more specifically conservative-fundamentalist Christianity. I was so tired of all of the angst that I wrestled with - it was so draining. What I learned is, to steal a quote from a mentor we have through Compassion International, conservative does not mean Biblical. So much of what I had been taught was oppressive and simply untrue. It was totally Americanized and not did not take into account historical context. By reading the Bible, with the help of a really great Hebrew scholar who Sophie linked to, I was able to see God in a whole new way and it was incredibly healing and life-giving. Now I am doing it for the fourth time and I really can't recommend it highly enough. I have been able to hold onto some of the meaningful traditions I was raised with while letting go of so much of the baggage.

  5. I love your thoughts here, Sophie. I think you are right, it is so much more time consuming the first time through. I used to spend nearly an hour each day my first time through and I was so confused so much of the time. Working through all of that was so hard but so worth it! I'm so glad to be on the journey with you, friend! <3

  6. loved to read your thoughts and impressions of your Bible reading with Rachel! I am blessed even by reading this - how much more so if I would do the same as you! Thank you for sharing how you've grown from this - very inspirational. So glad you have such a great accountability partner:)


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