Over the past week and a half I have been taking part in observing Lent. Instead of the usual “giving up” of something, I decided to ADD something into my life that would be refreshing, spark my mind, and help strengthen my relationship with Christ. Margaret Feinberg, an awesome Christian author and communicator, put together a 40 Day New Testament Reading Guide. Check out more info on her site if you’re interested in joining us!
While reading through the New Testament so far, I have read Matthew, Mark, and half of Luke. I have read through the New Testament before as a young teenager, but because of how awesome He is, the Lord can always teach us different things at different times in our lives through His word!
I have a couple of tips and things I’ve learned so far and would like to share if you are interested in joining along:
- Find a quiet place to read. If you think you can’t be distracted, believe me, you can. This may mean you find a new time or place to do your Lent readings other than your regular devo time. I found that I needed to separate the two. I have my devo time in the morning and have been reading my Lent chapters at night since it takes more time and I wanted to read without the pressure of getting ready and out the door.
- Read the entire chapter selections for that day at one time. It can be tempting to read one chapter and then stop to come back to it later. The scriptures are meant to be read in whole and many times, although the chapter ends, the thought process continues. That is why it’s so important to always read scripture with the entire context in mind. If you have trouble understanding what the author is meaning, there are numerous study bible options out now that can help you dive deeper, outline the theme for you, and will give you the info below. It’s so worth it!
- Who wrote the book? (Matthew, also called Levi, etc)
- When was it written? (Between A.D. 50 and 70, etc)
- Who is the audience? (Greek-speaking Jewish Christians, etc)
- Allow yourself to not always understand the first time you read it. You’ll see in scripture that Jesus often spoke in parables to the people he would meet but His disciples didn’t need them because they had the “knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.” You will see though that even the disciples would have questions and not fully understand due to their human disposition:
“The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 13:10-12)
We are fortunate, as believers, to now have the Holy Spirit inside us to help us understand the scriptures. We have direct access to the author. But even then we may have questions that can’t be answered on the spot. Don’t let that hinder you from completing the reading. I will make notes and then let my brain move on to next section of scripture so that I am continuing in my intake. Truth is, we are constantly understanding more and more about our Savior. Questions are good and prompt relationship building with Him and others.
- Remember to pray. Reading scripture opens our hearts and minds to understanding our Father and Lord. Pray before so that your mind is opened and uncluttered. Pray after while continuing your relationship with Him in a real and personal way. He knows our thoughts, questions, pain, and joy. Continue the conversation after finishing your reading and see what He might want to share even more with you!
Taking it to heart:
1) It’s not too late! Join us in the #LentChallenge!
2) Are you adding something else that is good into your life this Lent season?
2) Have you given up something for Lent this year? Want to share?