In a previous post about a bible reading plan for parents with little kids I suggested how you might find 20 minutes in your day for spiritual reading. The post was so popular that I thought I should add a few quick thoughts about what parts of the bible to read first. Whilst any spiritual reading is worthwhile, it is always important to come back to God’s word in the bible. So here are four thoughts about where to begin your bible reading:
- The Gospel of Luke: it is great to get into the life and ministry of Jesus. Many of the stories will be familiar to you but often we don’t read the gospels “from cover to cover” so we miss the connections and how the stories unfold an image of Jesus. Also many scholars see the Gospel of Luke as Act 1, see the next suggestion.
- Acts of the Apostles: this is the unfolding story of the early Church and it reads like a narrative so it is a bit of a page turner. The continuing story will help you pick up the theme each night as you come back to the text.
- Psalms: many of the Psalms are like the mind of a parent; one day is great, the next day is difficult. Hearing David praise God in one verse and lament that God is nowhere in another verse might resonate with you.
- Proverbs: these are one or two lines of wisdom that might hit the mark with you. Instead of reading chapters of text this is one book to stew over, maybe read four or five proverbs and let one speak to you.
One style of bible reading is to get through as much as you can in 20 minutes. Another style of reading is to read one section or one chapter at a time. A third method is to read sentences and reflect on the text as you go; sometimes you might take 20 minutes to read one paragraph.
Whilst all of the bible is God’s inspired word, the reality is that some passages are harder to understand than others. There are passages which have great significance to the overall theme of the bible but are hard to capture in just 20 minutes in your day. As a parent you have a lot going around in your mind so you want to read something that encourages your rather than make you feel like you can’t understand texts. Remember that many bible scholars struggle to understand some texts and spent years in research so go easy on yourself. So here are four areas to be cautious of:
- Numbers – parts of it explain how Israel became a nation during the Exodus but there are huge sections that describe details and numbers. Perhaps read the narrative but skip the details and numbers.
- Leviticus – parts of the book establish the laws for the new nation of Israel during the exodus and may be hard to understand without a bible commentary so save that for another season in life.
- Romans – even St Peter said that some of Paul’s letters were difficult to understand. You might find yourself reading Romans and not understanding a single paragraph, so again save that for a different season in life where you have more time to digest the text.
- Revelations – the imagery may be interesting but this is another book that needs a bible commentary and not suitable to sitting in the doorway of your child’s bedroom.
I hope this has been a helpful addition to the topic of spiritual reading for parents with little children.
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