Getting Back to the Bible
The Bible is God’s revelation to man. Its words are living, effective, and clear. Differing methods for reading, memorizing, and studying Scripture each have their own merits. There is need to both dive deep into study of the Word and to simply let ourselves get immersed in the story.
Here are five central benefits to reading entire books of the Bible in one sitting.
1. Gain unique perspective.
By taking in a larger swath of Scripture uninterrupted, you can more easily see themes or patterns in the writing, the narrative’s flow, and the context of each verse. Reading this way can be likened to getting an aerial perspective on a city as compared to your viewpoint from a single address on the map.
2. Let Scripture speak for itself.
Uninterrupted reading allows you to think, interpret, and let the Holy Spirit speak through the Word without additional insight from study notes or a commentary. It can be helpful to simply read the Bible rather than attempt to dissect the minutia of the text.
3. Read like a writer.
Imagine picking up a novel and just reading sentences from various chapters and books. Much like a novel, the Bible was ultimately written by one author—one Christians know to be Divine. Reading with this in mind allows you to track with the overall structure and form of the Bible as a singular story.
4. Read more.
You may be surprised how quickly you can read an entire book of the Bible. Depending on your speed, it’s likely you complete the book of Daniel in about half an hour, James in less than 10 minutes, or an epistle in just under 20 minutes.
5. Broaden your understanding.
There are benefits to both in-depth study and uninterrupted reading. No matter which comes first, each method of reading can expand your understanding. In combination, each lend themselves toward a more holistic comprehension of the Bible’s message.
The ESV Reader's Letters of Paul presents the text of Paul's thirteen epistles in a single-column format on thick, cream-colored paper, with introductory articles to situate them in the larger scope of church and biblical history.
Reader’s editions—such as the ESV Reader’s Letters of Paul, the ESV Reader’s Bible, Six-Volume Set, and the ESV Reader’s Gospels—are great for this purpose, as they are more similar to the original manuscripts, lacking headings, verse numbers, and chapter numbers. Without these relatively recent (within the last 500 years) conventions, we can read larger portions of the text without distraction.
This way, according to Dr. Dane Ortlund, Crossway’s Vice President of Bible Publishing, "the reader absorbs that book as it was meant to be read, and sees connections and resonances that become difficult to discern when reading the Bible a few verses at a time. The Bible is not meant merely to be ‘applied to my life.’ It is meant to become the new mental universe in which we live and move and think throughout the day. Only deep reading—the absorption of Scripture at length—accomplishes this."
- 2 New Bible Study Resources for ESV.org
- Introducing the ESV Reader's Bible, Six-Volume Set
- Introducing the ‘ESV Reader's Letters of Paul’