Olive Tree Learning Center
Regular daily reading of the Bible affords a panoramic sweep of the great themes of Scripture and helps foster a life of faith in God. In this article, you will learn how you can use your mobile device to help you establish or enhance the life-changing practice of reading God’s word daily.
Flying in an aircraft presents a very different view of the Grand Canyon than hiking along the Colorado River’s banks in the canyon’s core. The hiker sees a dark corridor of steely cliffs, a thin patch of blue sky, an occasional huddle of prickly pears or a towering cottonwood, a scorpion scuttling out of harm’s way on the dusty trail ahead, and deep green pools interrupted by sudden shocking scenes of mud white water crashing against boulders. The flyer, by contrast, sees the whole blue dome of heaven beneath which roll wave after wave of brightly lit vermillion spires and purple battlements stretching beyond both horizons. Straight down, a quiet winding ribbon of emerald water adorns the deep heart of the Canyon’s silent majesty.
These two views of one natural wonder illustrate two views of a far greater wonder, the Bible. From one perspective, like the hiker, we can experience the depths of a small portion of God’s word by lingering over it, considering it, examining the details, touching it, even tasting it, like “honey out of the rock” (Psa.81:16). This kind of reading is devotional and concentrated. It involves personal interaction with God over a particular verse or passage of His word. It may involve careful consideration of words, phrases, and syntax. Most importantly, it fuels prayer.
From another perspective, our aim is to see the big picture. We reverently survey the entire awe-inspiring sweep of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, with its manifold themes, characters, and events — one great book at a time — as it reveals God’s plan of the ages, from eternity to eternity. We could never acquire the hands-on perspective of the hiker from the air, or the breath-taking perspective of the flyer from the ground, and both have tremendous value. To put a new twist on an old saying, we need to see both the forest and the trees.
While both experiences of God’s word are indispensable, in this article we will focus on the panoramic view of the Bible afforded by regular daily reading of chapters from both the Old and New Testaments and the Psalms and Proverbs.
Lovers of God have always known the value of reading the Bible daily. George Mueller, nineteenth-century founder of several orphanages in England, attributed his extraordinary life of faith to daily prayer and reading of the Scriptures. George Whitefield, whose preaching sustained America’s Great Awakening in the seventeen hundreds, is said to have read the Greek New Testament on his knees every day. Perhaps you too have realized in your life the value of daily reading; I certainly have. I try to read through the Bible in approximately one year by enjoying each day three chapters in the Old Testament, one in the New, and a portion of the Psalms and Proverbs. This habit has most certainly furnished me with much grace, and it has also given me a degree of appreciation for the panoramic sweep of God’s revelation to man, with its eternal themes and surpassing beauty. On the other hand, when I have not kept this practice, I have noticed a lack of vision and supply to face life’s trials.
The secret of understanding any book is to get into the author’s purpose by pulling together those mysterious threads of recurrent thought that are woven into the fabric of the entire book. If would be futile to try to do this by reading only a few portions of the book. One must read the whole book through from beginning to end, perhaps even several times.
How much more is this true of the Bible! Some Bible readers skip from book to book according to what they feel like reading at the moment. I wouldn’t say that this has no value, but if you have never read this great book from cover to cover, you are in for a real feast. You will find, for example, that the last two chapters mirror the first two: both having a river, the tree of life, the brooding Spirit of God, a universal husband, a bride—the list goes on and on. Surely, this is not an accident. You will also find that an enemy comes in to destroy mankind in Genesis Chapter 3, does all he can throughout all the other books, and is finally cast into the lake of fire to make way for the new heaven and new earth that are described in the last two chapters of Revelation. To put this another way, you will find that the Bible, with its numerous authors all inspired by the Spirit of God, is one unified whole.
Years ago, while reading from beginning to end for the second time, I saw something that made a deep impression on me. I had come to the end of 2 Chronicles and was beginning to read the next book, Ezra. This portion speaks of a proclamation by Cyrus, King of Persia, granting permission to the captive Jews in Babylon to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple of the Lord which Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed seventy years before. To my surprise, I discovered that the last three verses of 2 Chronicles and the first three verses of Ezra are almost exactly the same. Why this seemingly unnecessary repetition? Was it to emphasize a point?
My mind went back through everything I had read in the Old Testament up to this point. I saw that God’s desire for a house in His chosen place was the central theme and focus of the Old Testament, going back to Abraham and the promise of the land, to Moses and the building of the tabernacle, to David and the final conquest of the land promised to Abraham, to Solomon and the building of the temple which God filled with His glory, and to the period of the kings in which the temple worship was alternately neglected and revived. “ This whole book is about God’s house,” I said to myself. And then I thought of the New Testament with the church referred to as “a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph. 2:21—ASV) and of the New Jerusalem, which portrays in symbols the mutual dwelling place of God and man for eternity (Rev.21-22).
Had I not been reading through the Bible from cover to cover, perhaps I had never discovered this revelation for myself. To read about such things in a book by someone else is good, but it is not the same as seeing it yourself.
I know you would like to make similar discoveries. There is no limit to the unsearchable riches of this divinely inspired book. Reading the Bible through daily with a prayerful spirit will provide a way for you to see for yourself the great themes of scripture, and this is life changing.
Admittedly, it can be hard to adhere faithfully to a daily reading plan, no matter how much we may want to. Nevertheless, having a plan gives us something to shoot for, and once a habit of daily Bible reading is established, it is easier to keep the habit and harder to break it. Just keep in mind the blessings that will flow to you and to those around you if you maintain this practice of getting into the word regularly.
My plan has generally been to read the Bible through in a year, by reading three chapters in the Old Testament, one in the New, and a portion of Psalms or Proverbs each day. David said, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Psa.55:17—KJV). Those of us who work during the day may find that evening, morning, and noon are our best times to spend time with the Lord and to read His word. My practice has been to read the Old Testament in the evening, the New Testament in the morning, and Psalms and Proverbs at noon, but you may feel to do it differently.
If you are already engaged in a daily reading plan, let me point out that your mobile device allows you to bookmark your place each day. Suppose you have already opened a Bible translation, located a verse, and begun reading. When you reach the end of the day’s portion, you may easily bookmark that spot by tapping the book ribbon icon in BibleReader 5 or tapping on the verse number to select a bookmark for that location. To locate your bookmark the next day, just tap on the "my stuff" icon, tap on "Bookmarks" locate your spot.
Many people find it helpful to follow a ready-made, one-year Bible reading plan, and Olive Tree offers three of these. Let me tell you about the plans and very briefly describe the characteristics of each.
The BibleReader™ software that powers all of your Olive Tree products contains three simple one-year Bible reading plans that you can access through the My Stuff icon. Tap on Daily Reading to open the window. You may use any translation with these plans. The reading plans keep your place and allows you to check off what you’ve read. All three plans are a one-year reading plan, but the daily portions read are different.
As human beings on this earth, we are so blessed that God has chosen to put His speech into printed form for us to enjoy daily. Moreover, it is impossible to estimate the value of having a clear picture of God’s word from beginning to end. Consider how men of God in the Bible handle the scriptures as a unified message. In Luke 24:27, we see Jesus in His resurrection explaining “the things concerning Himself in all the scriptures,” “beginning with Moses and with all the prophets” (NASB). In Acts 7 Stephen, speaking with great boldness to those who are about to stone him, exposes their hypocrisy by presenting a birds-eye view of the Scriptures from Abraham to Solomon and the prophets. Paul, after his eventful journey to Rome, rents a house and persuades people concerning Jesus, “from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning until evening” (Acts 28:23). The writer of Hebrews 11, that great chapter on faith, takes us through all the Scriptures from Abel to Samuel, telling us how God’s word impacts the lives of those who are infused by faith to act on it. Reading the scriptures daily, we too will be impressed with the harmony and connectedness of the whole divine revelation, and will be empowered to speak it to others, as God gives us utterance and opportunity.
Of course, the reading plan is up to you. The important thing is to read “the holy scriptures, which,” as Paul said to Timothy, “are able to make thee wise unto salvation” (2 Tim.3:15—KJV). I trust I have shared with you enough information to get you started. Now that you have considered the value of reading the Bible daily, and have learned how easy it is to use your mobile device to do this, I hope you will enjoy your Bible more than ever.
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