Dear Peddie Church Family,
My long-term goal in teaching and preaching is to enable you to abide in the Word daily throughout the week. The Jewish philosopher Maimonides wisely said, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
In line with this goal, I would recommend an ancient practice called “lectio continua,” the Latin for continuous reading. It’s a practice of reading the Bible in a continuous sequence. For example, if you meditated on the Gospel of John Chapter 1 today, then tomorrow, you continue with Chapter 2, and you continue sequentially through the entire Book.
One of the benefits of lectio continua is that the text is chosen for us, and we are forced to grapple with the text whether we like it or not. We are not free to pick and choose the text that feels comfortable, sweet, and pleasant, but receive it regardless of how we feel about it as it comes to us each day. Often, we grow in the knowledge of God in the process of grappling with difficult, baffling, and even objectionable texts. By engaging in the discipline of lectio continua, we receive “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).
Another benefit of lectio continua is that we gain a better sense of the larger context. Reading the Scriptures in bits and pieces can be beneficial, but it is myopic. We need to have a wider perspective on how the biblical stories unfold and be able to make sense of individual verses in light of the whole story. Admittedly, this initially requires help from a teacher or a guide, but lectio continua is an essential part of the process.
If you are just embarking on this adventure, perhaps a good place to start would be the Psalms or the Gospel of John. If you are farther along the journey, then you are encouraged to go through the entire Bible. One of the many ways of covering the whole Bible is to meditate on one chapter of the New Testament and one chapter of the Old Testament each day in a continuous sequence. Following this practice, you will go through at least three cycles of the New Testament before completing the Old Testament, which, to me, strikes a reasonable balance.
As you meditate on the Word of God daily, may the Holy Spirit guide you into all the truth and empower you to live it out.
In the service of Christ,
– Pastor James