An Invitation to Excite Your Biblical Imagination
Your hand th-waps your night stand, grasping for your mobile device to swipe and to silence the iPhone marimba alarm tone. Once the disturbance to your sleep is silenced, you pause, process a death and slow breath, and liberate yourself from the tomb of your bedsheets. Perhaps you slip into your slippers. Or your robe. Or your Spongebob Pj’s.
Whatever this morning’s attire, you make your mission for the kitchen, fill the kettle with water, and ignite the burner. After you shuffle for a mug and a few other select food items to complete your breakfast routine, you poor the bubbling water into your Bodum French Press, carry this lifesource over to your kitchen table, and open up what should be your other… and as your theology tells you, your primary… source of vitality.You grasp the bookmark peeking from the silver tipped pages of your Bible, open it up to the verse you left of at, and begin your reading of the small paragraph you are to tackle today.
As you read, you may find that not even ground coffee can add to your time of reading what you have been desperately missing- excitement. Although you are happy to have this solitude in the morning, to seek your Lord and his communication, you find that today’s segment of this very familar New Testament epistle, which you memorized as a child in Sunday School, and hear mentioned in a sermon or a benediction at least every other month, doesn’t seem to be providing the breath to your should that you imagined Scripture would.
Today, I don’t anticipate being able explore all the circumstances in one’s life of spiritual formation that lead to dull drums in devotion. What I want to offer you , if this is your plight today, is an invitation to join me in what has on numerous occasions in my life (yes, even most recently) helped to reinvigorate and re-excite my time in the pages the Word.
Just Read. And Read a lot.
My normal devotional experience (shaped no doubt by a church and preaching culture that seeks to make 55 minute sermons ot of one verse passages) is to take scripture in small, micro bites. Yet, in the effort to squeeze out “every detail,” I have found many times in devotional reading that this approach sometimes conceals the big picture.
I would like to invite you to read through the Bible. How long, do you say. Well, let me clarify- in 90 Days.
90 Days! 1,200-2,000 pages (depending on your edition) in three months!
Yes. And here is the calendar to send you on your way.
This is not meant to be an advertisement for the organization who’s website you have been linked to above. Rather, it is sharing a challenge that someone offered to me, that I have found to be surprisingly revitalizing to my time reading scripture.
Reading large sections of scripture, especially the narratives of the OT, helps you to see the development of themes, the recapitulations of God’s actions and character, and the styles of different authors in ways a microscopic approach prevents you from seeing.
And, perhaps most interesting (if you have found yourself feeling like everything you read is familiar)- it will force you to read passages you otherwise wouldn’t have dared to turn a page to, and cause you to ask “what… in the world is happening here?”
Beginning just this month, my curiosity has been peeked to wonder…
“What is with the prayer of Lamech (Gen 4:17-24), what what is the theological significance of this abrupt passage in the post-Cain genealogies?”
“What is with the focus on Fat in the temple cult sacrifices- we all know the significance of the shedding of blood, but why isn’t the importance of the blubber jiggly stuff picked up in the same capacity in NT typologies?”
“How is it that God, being omnipotent, change his mind? (Ex 32:14, a classic “difficult text”)?”
“How early on in Israel’s history did angelology traditions develop (Ex 25:19-22)?”
“Where did Moses and the Israelites get all these dolphin skins to make the tabernacle (Ex 26:14), and if the word refers to something else, which translations interpretation do you trust (goatskins, badgerskins, fineskins, etc?).”
Such are just a few questions that this expedition have lead me to ask, and some that I hope to handle with you in the months ahead.
But, I’d much less like to try to answer touch questions of the Bible, and much prefer having you feel the excitement and the sweet curiosity of asking your own by joining me for an hour a day to read the Bible in 90 Days.