‍Přečíst Bibli za 12 měsíců nebo dokonce za 12 týdnů není jen dobrý nápad (ENG) | 8 min

‍Přečíst Bibli za 12 měsíců nebo dokonce za 12 týdnů není jen dobrý nápad. Smyslem je číst Bibli za pochodu stejným způsobem, jakým můžeme číst jakoukoli dobrou knihu: kdykoli se nám nabídne čas. Tímto způsobem se na volný večer nebo sobotní dopoledne díváme jako na "příležitost" ke čtení, nikoli jako na povinnost.

‍Přečíst Bibli za 12 měsíců nebo dokonce za 12 týdnů není jen dobrý nápad (ENG) | 8 min

Reading through the Bible in 12 months or even 12 weeks, is not just a good idea. 

Sam, a retired missionary, was planting a church on the coast of British Columbia north of Vancouver, and two of us on a summer mission were helping with the building construction. We ate breakfast with Sam each morning in his beachside cottage before starting work. On each occasion we managed to trigger a delightful discourse of biblical truth. As often as not he’d start with quotes from Genesis and end up in Revelation after touching down four or five times in between. 

 Sam’s Bible knowledge amazed me. His Scripture awareness had penetrated all aspects of his life, not in a rote fashion, but in a way that seemed accessible and functional. When I asked how he gained it, he laughed. “I just read my Bible.” 

 “How much reading—how do you approach it?” “I try to get through it at least 2-3 times a year.” 

 I almost dropped my coffee. He had been reading at that pace for most of his Christian life, about 50 years! 

 The challenge captured me. Within two months I finished my first Bible read-through. I was in awe of God’s greatness, holiness, and redemptive love. I recognized the vast and singular strength of his personality projecting through the broad range of writers and books of the two testaments. It was as if I had truly felt the beginnings of knowing God intimately. 

 Some years later I discovered that such intensive Bible reading would work as strongly with others as it had with me. John was my Army roommate. He was a believer, but lacked any muscle in his faith. One morning, before I went on duty, he complained that he was being badgered for his faith while I was somehow exempt. 

 “Johnny,” I remember steaming, “it’s because you don’t stand for anything! You say you believe in God, but you never spend any time with him.” 

 I asked him why he scarcely read his Bible. In fact, had he ever read the Bible through? 

 When I came back for lunch at noon, he was finishing Genesis; by that evening he had almost made it through Exodus. Soon he was carrying his Bible to work. At breaks he would read segments to his amazed military police friends. He finished reading the whole Bible by the end of the second month. 

 John not only gained new credibility with his friends (and ended the badgering), but also helped to stimulate the young adults fellowship we attended. John decided to attend Bible College after the Army; encouraged by his example, six others did also. I later asked him about the impact of his Bible reading. “I fell in love with the Lord,” he said. 

 I’ve since adopted a team-reading approach and have read through the Bible with almost a dozen partners. A few years ago in a church in Boise, Idaho, I suggested to a young man, Waymon (or Way), that we do a read-through. Within a month his life changed so much that others began to follow our model even though it was never promoted as a ministry activity. 

 Two weeks ago I began another team read through. Chris, my partner, is a 19-year-old in the college ministry I lead. He grew up in a Christian home, but until six months ago was generally indifferent to spiritual concerns. After participating in an early morning Bible study for five weeks, he asked for another study and I proposed a read through together. 

 The rules are simple. We selected a date for completing the project (in this case, four months from our commencement). We met Tuesday morning for an hour. We chat for about 15 minutes and then begin to read verses that we’ve underlined in our reading for the week. Each of us has 15 minutes to review as much as he can—there’s never enough time for all the verses. Then we share requests and pray. It may not sound dramatic, but it is the highlight of my week. 

The Dynamics 

 The purpose is to read the Bible for flow in the same way we might read any good book: whenever the time offers itself. That way we look at a free evening or Saturday morning as a “chance” to read, not as a requirement, in order to meet the weekly increment. This past Thursday, for example, Chris read for five hours. 

 We read at a personal pace, so we scarcely ever read the same sections at the same time. This has never been a problem; in fact, it’s useful because it gives a double exposure to every section of the Bible. 

 Underlining is essential. It helps our concentration and demonstrates our “homework” to each other. Thus, in our meetings we just read our selected passages to each other. There isn’t any obligation to teach. We pick a completion date that will challenge us. A fast pace gives a better overview. It also helps us make better use of our discretionary time. 

 I encourage my first-time participants to skim sections that are repetitive or exceptionally technical, particularly in the Old Testament. They can pay closer attention the next time through. 

What I call “Bible discipleship” can also be adapted. On occasions I’ve given new Christians a New Testament “sampler” (a Gospel, Acts, and epistles from each of the New Testament writers) to read through in their first months of faith. The principal concern is to train new believers who are in the hungry stage of new growth to read whole books of Scripture. 

Some Questions 

Isn’t the Bible too diverse and complex for an untrained reader? 

 No, especially if a young Christian has a more mature believer to answer some of the basic questions that may arise. In our first exposure to learning anything, in school, or on the job, we’re usually confronted with complexity. Nevertheless, we begin to find principles that become points of reference for further understanding. The task of a teacher or helper is to direct the learner toward principles that give order to complexity. These kinds of principles or doctrines emerge naturally in the informal talks between partners. 

What’s the best age or ability level for this approach? 

 One junior-high youth pastor used this method to help 24 of his youth read the New Testament during the summer. He reserved a 20-minute “report” period during each Wednesday meeting when the students would share what they had underlined. Everyone finished on time and with enthusiasm. 

 I once had a partner with a reading disorder. I bought audio tapes of the Bible for him to listen to while he marked the verses that caught his attention on a printed text. 

 Another youth pastor is using Bible discipleship with his core high school students. In 15 years as a youth pastor, he says it has proven to be the most effective means to move young people toward greater spiritual maturity. 

 Bible discipleship works because, I believe, it’s Christ’s preferred approach. Jesus gave clear directions for his followers to “abide” in his word (John 8:31). To accept his instruction at face value and to apply it through intensive Bible reading assures that Christians are given a direct exposure to Scripture, which is necessary for spiritual growth. 

 Nick and his family left for Asia as missionaries this past August. Years earlier Nick had become a Christian just when Way and I were starting our read-through, so he and Way began to meet also. Nick assumed that all Christians read through the Bible in this way. His continued appetite for Scripture led to formal theological training. He still has this avid appetite, and now it’s overflowing to others. 

 Bible discipleship also demonstrates the love of Christ. We need to show new believers how our bonding into the body of Christ works. This happens when two people are joined in high-commitment fellowship through the shared, vigorous pursuit of God. When the partners meet together after having read substantial sections of the Bible in a week— realizing that the Spirit has been present to do his own “underlining” in their lives—there will be real growth in biblical love that expresses itself in personal vulnerability and accountability, prayer, and friendship. 

 Paul assured the Ephesian elders that they had been given the “whole will of God” (Acts 20:27) in his ministry to them. The Bible now serves as our access to God’s will. In a survey of the Bible, the Christian begins to gain an overview that aids his study of any given text. In most instances the writers of the New Testament assumed that their readers had a knowledge of the Old Testament. It’s important for contemporary Christians to be equipped to respond to that assumption. 

 Sam’s mark on my life is eternal, not because of any exceptional wisdom, but because he was a channel of the living Word of God. Jesus told the woman at the well about the very principle that Sam shared with me: “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13). Isn’t it time for us to read the Bible vigorously, steadily, and fully? 

Principles of a Bible Read-Through 

1. CONTRACT: The goal of a Read-Through is to cultivate an inward disposition towards serious and extensive Bible reading. Thus it is important that the partners make a contract of the length of time and area of coverage that satisfies both (all) participants. It may be spiritually defeating for a participant to have a partner “impose” a goal on him/her that is overly ambitious. However, once an agreement is reached it is appropriate to challenge partners to fulfill their commitment. A modest document is helpful to cement the contract. 

2. CLOSE-ENDED: A Read-Through should be close ended; at the time of completion the pair/group should consider the task completed (a time of “celebration” is usually in order). They can then decide whether to take up another reading challenge. It may be that the group would need to disband or rearrange itself to involve others. Having a date to aim at helps the group stay healthy—a participant doesn’t feel “locked in” forever; also, any adjustments that need to be made seem natural when they occur at an interval between projects. 

3. CHALLENGING: The Read-Through approach is certainly not the “best” way to do small group Bible study. It does, However, have some tremendous strengths, especially if challenging goals are adopted: 

a. It helps provide an overview in which specific, more focused studies can gain a context. 

b. It allows the reader to ‘feel’ the personality of God as the reader spends extended time in th reading over a broad stretch of scripture. The internal cohesion of scripture is enormous and can be felt more clearly in this approach than by any other. Thus, the more reading time and coverage needed in order to fulfill the contract, the greater the potential for spiritual impact in the reader’s life. An example of a challenging and life-changing goal would be to read through the entire Bible in 3-4 months. Such a pace requires some occasions of 3-4 hours of Bible reading in a day. 

4. CLEAR TASK: The health of the Read-Through is maintained by sustaining the principle—“keep it simple!” Thus the tasks should be as follows: 

a. Share together in a “how’s it going” preliminary conversation. 

b. Read the verses underlined during the past week (or as many as can be squeezed into a 10-minute sharing period). This is the crucial task of the read-through. Do NOT turn it into a teaching/preaching time. Do NOT ask for additional tasks to be completed: remember, “keep it simple.” 

[NOTE: The Read-Through assumes the use of “free-time throughout the day” reading of the Bible (as people read other books). Thus it is best to avoid reading in predetermined “devotion” segments. Let each reader go at his or her own pace as long as the ultimate completion goal is kept in mind.] 

c. Pray. Be sure to talk with the One you’ve talked about. 


Ronald N. Frost is a professor at Multnomah Bible College and Seminary in Portland, Oregon USA. 

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