The Spiritual Discipline of RE-reading

This year I am reading through the Old Testament in chronological order.  The reason for this is twofold: 1. I didn’t want to just start in Genesis and read to Malachi, 2. This will help put the big picture together also.  I read through the New Testament a little differently.

For the past five months I have spent the majority of my time in only three books in the New Testament, first Matthew, then Romans, and now John.  I have found reading a book over and over again has really helped in a number of different areas.

  • I catch more repetitions doing this.  I have certain words that I use over and over, and I believe the Biblical writers were the same way.  In Matthew he uses words and phrases like “kingdom of heaven,” “to fulfill prophecy,” “hypocrites” in chapter 23, and “your father who sees in secret” in chapter 6.
  • I tend to focus less on individual verses and more on sections or paragraphs.  As I read through Romans over and over, I kept coming back to 5:1-11 and 6:20-23.  This helps me put things in context, and not pull one verse out and attach a meaning to it that may or may not be true.

The danger in this is by reading something over and over you may begin to skim.  The mind plays tricks on us and tells us that we have already read this, so we can move faster and be less focused.  This is why I vary how I do it.  Sometimes I take notes sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I read the book in two or three sittings, and other times I read a chapter or two at a time.

As you read this year, consider re-reading, it may open your eyes to things you have never seen before.

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